Prominent Germans urge Iran to release two journalists

Prominent Germans urge Iran to release two journalists

A hundred prominent Germans, including Nobel laureate Herta Mueller and footballer Philipp Lahm, appealed through a newspaper Sunday for the release of two journalists detained in Iran, DPA reported.

Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann, Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche and government ministers also signed the appeal to Tehran, which was published in the newspaper for which the journalists work, Bild am Sonntag, and on the Bild website.

The German reporter and photographer, who entered Iran on tourist visas, were arrested October 10 when they sought to interview the son and the lawyer of an Iranian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and involvement in her husband's murder.

The case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani has made headlines around the world.

Among the signatories to the appeal was Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who was quoted saying, "I will be working on this in the new year with all my might."

Mueller, who won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2009, was quoted as saying: "I hope Iran is not using the two journalists as bargaining chips to pursue other interests."

Last week, Iran allowed two relatives of the journalists to meet them in a hotel in Tabriz, but German officials say there is no sign that release for the men is near.

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