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United States24 August 2005

European personalities call for release of Judith Miller, on her 50th day in prison

Twenty-seven prominent Europeans including Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, German Nobel literature laureate Gunter Grass, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and British TV journalist Kate Adie have responded to an appeal from Reporters Without Borders and signed a petition urging the US courts to release New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who will have been in prison for 50 days tomorrow.

Miller, who has been detained since 6 July, "was just doing her job as a journalist," the petition says.

The full text of the petition

"We have always admired the United States for the freedom enjoyed by its press. A press that-under all circumstances-has informed, levied blame, and could make presidents tremble, or even topple them from power. In this area, America set an example for the rest of the world.

We were therefore dismayed by the news that Judith Miller, a journalist with the New York Times, had been thrown in jail on the grounds that she had refused to reveal her information sources to the court.

At a time when the most extremist ideas are gaining ground, and when growing numbers of reporters are being killed or taken hostage, arresting a journalist in a democratic country is more than a crime: it’s a miscarriage of justice.

After this, how can we demand that other countries in the world respect freedom of expression and information-one of the pillars of democracy?

In the name of our common values, we urge the American judicial system to reconsider its decision concerning Judith Miller, who was merely performing her duties as a journalist."

Background

Judith Miller was found in "contempt of court" and sent to prison by a US federal court for refusing to reveal her sources in the Valerie Plame case, in which a special prosecutor is trying to find out who told the US press in 2003 that Plame was a CIA agent. The White House is alleged to have exposed Plame in retaliation for the action of her husband, ambassador Joseph Wilson, in publicly rebutting President Bush’s arguments for going to war in Iraq.

List of signatories

-  Pedro Almodóvar (film director, Spain)
-  Kate Adie (former chief news correspondent at the BBC, United Kingdom)
-  Colette Braeckman, journalist with Le Soir, Belgium)
-  Pascal Bruckner (writer, France)
-  Giorgio Bocca (journalist with L’Espresso, Italy)
-  Sabine Christiansen (journalist and executive producer with TV21, Germany)
-  Eva Elmsâter (Political commentator on Swedish television)
-  Charles-Henri Favrod (journalist and founder of the Elysée Photographic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland)
-  Prof. Bronislaw Geremek (former minister of foreign affairs and member of the European Parliament, Poland)
-  Soledad Gallego-Díaz (assistant editor at El País, Spain)
-  Günter Grass (1999 Nobel Prize in Literature, Germany)
-  Marek Halter (writer, France)
-  Bernard-Henri Levy (philosopher and writer, France)
-  Maria Dolorès Masana (journalist with La Vanguardia, writer, Spain)
-  Margit Maximilian (journalist with ORF TV, Austria)
-  Robert Ménard (Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, France)
-  Ettore Mo (journalist with Il Corriere della Sera, Italy)
-  Rosa Montero (journalist with El País, writer, Spain)
-  Christine Ockrent (journalist with France 3 TV, France)
-  Dr. Rotraud A. Perner (writer, psychotherapist, Austria)
-  Jean-Jacques Roth (director and editor-in-chief of Le Temps, Switzerland)
-  Fernando Savater (philosopher and writer, Spain)
-  Hans-Peter Spoerri (editor-in-chief of Der Bund, Switzerland)
-  Maruja Torres (journalist with El País and writer, Spain)
-  Yvon Toussaint (former editor-in-chief of Le Soir and former chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Brussels, Belgium)
-  Gianni Vattimo, philosopher and writer, Italy
-  Wim Wenders (film director, Germany)



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