From Iranian Christians International
Western Christians
Detained in Iran
February 24, 1997--Daniel Baumann, Swiss/American 
dual national, and South African national, Stuart Timm, travelled by 
bus to Mashad, Iran on December 28, 1996. Upon their return to the 
Iran-Turkmenistan border on January 10, Iranian border guards took 
their passports and told them to go to Tehran to obtain their passports 
from authorities there. An Iranian interpreter for the South African 
Embassy accompanied them to the Office of the Aliens Police in Tehran 
on January 12. They were arrested and detained there. The interpreter 
returned to the South African Embassy and reported that the two men 
had been detained. 

Both men were later transferred to the infamous Evin prison in Tehran. 
Two South African officials were able to visit twenty-seven year old 
Timm for the first time on January 25, thirteen days after the men were 
detained. The meeting lasted only five minutes. They were allowed to 
ask only questions regarding "private matters." Questions regarding 
Baumann could not be brought forward by them. Timm appeared in 
good physical shape but depressed.

After intense diplomatic intervention by the South African government, 
Timm was released to the South African Embassy on February 17. 
During his 26-day detention, he was allowed only two visits by South 
African officials and one phone call to his mother, Mrs. Lorna McNiel 
in Johannesburg. Timm's father is deceased. Timm was given an exit 
permit and was expected to fly to Johannesburg on or after February 
21. According to Timm's mother, after his release he was extremely 
distressed that he was released and Baumann was not. 

Despite diplomatic action by the Swiss government including daily 
requests for a visit, thirty-three year old Baumann remains in Evin 
prison in Tehran. A high-ranking official of the Swiss Embassy in 
Tehran, Mr. E. Hofstetter met with the Director General of European 
Affairs in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on January 28. On 
February 8, Mr. Hofstetter gave an official note to the Iranian Foreign 
Ministry with a letter addressed to Baumann. The note to the Iranian 
Foreign Ministry expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Iranian 
handling of the case and pointed out that despite countless 
interventions, Swiss Embassy officials had not been able to visit 
Baumann so far, twenty-five days after his arrest. When adequate 
progress was not made regarding their son's release, Mr. and Mrs. 
Baumann requested our assistance. (We did not have prior knowledge 
of the two men's trip to Iran. Had we known we would have advised 
against it.)

Despite two handwritten notes from Baumann received by the Swiss 
Embassy in Tehran, Iranian officials told Swiss officials that Baumann 
"did not express the wish towards the Iranian authorities to enter into 
contact or to have a meeting with a Swiss Embassy official." The 
February 3 note was addressed to Embassy Personnel. The second 
undated noted was addressed to American Interest Personnel.

On February 18, twenty-seven days after Baumann's arrest, he was 
allowed to be visited by Mr. Hofstetter and another Embassy official. 
They gave him some personal items. They also found that prison 
officials had allowed Baumann to keep his own Bible. He looked 
physically well but was depressed. It is reported that Iranian officials 
have now given permission for Baumann to have one visit every other 
week and to make one phone call to his parents who reside in the U.S. 
However, as of February 23, the call had not been made.

Apparently no formal charges have been made nor explanations given 
for the two men's arrest. Contrary to Article 36 of the Vienna 
convention, Iranian authorities did not officially inform the South 
African or Swiss Embassies about the detention of the two men.

Baumann had travelled to Turkmenistan and to Iran on his Swiss 
passport. His letter to the American Interest Personnel stated, "Please 
inform them here that I'm not a spy and have no connection with the 
CIA. Please contact my family. . . . Please help me clear my story.

Baumann holds Swiss/American dual citizenship and is a missionary 
with an international Christian organization. He was studying Russian 
in Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan when he went to Iran. Timm is also a 
missionary with a South African Christian organization.

Both families believe Timm was released because the South African 
officials were very assertive in their diplomacy. Timm's mother had 
appealed to a political opposition Member of Parliament in South 
Africa. Information was also given to the press. 

Apparently the South African Foreign Minister visited Iran during 
Timm's detention and the two countries signed further trade/economic 
agreements. It is believed that Timm's release may be linked to these 
agreements. Mr. and Mrs. Baumann also believe that their son is being 
treated worse than Timm because he is an American citizen.

According to Reuters News Service, the Iranian Parliament passed a 
strict law imposing the death sentence for espionage in May 1996. The 
article states: "Iran's parliament has passed a law imposing the death 
sentence for espionage and singling out agents working for the United 
States and Israel . . . ." The law requires the "death sentence for anyone 
convicted of providing confidential or classified information or 
correspondence to foreigners, especially from the United States or 
Israel, or to opposition groups fighting to overthrow the government." 
The law covers "spying in military, political, security, economic, social 
and scientific fields" and is considerably tougher than a previous law.

It is feared that Baumann could be charged and tried under this new 
espionage law. In 1996 a rising number of Iranians have been arrested, 
condemned and executed under the espionage law. The Iranian 
government often uses espionage charges as a cover-up for religious or 
political persecution. This has been the case with Iranian Christians. 

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED: Call, send faxes, telegrams, telexes, or 
express or airmail letters to the government of the Islamic Republic of 
Iran, protesting the arrest and imprisonment of Dan Baumann and 
Stuart Timm. Urge for Baumann's immediate release. 
 
     Iran Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
     Embassy of Pakistan 
     2209 Wisconsin Ave. N.W. 
     Washington, D.C. 20007 
     Phone: (202) 965-4990	Fax: (202) 965-1073   
 
     Ambassador Mohammad Reza Alborzi 
     Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
     Thunstr.68  3006 
     Berne, Switzerland  
     Phone: 011 41 31 351 0801	Fax: 011 41 31 351 5652 
 
     Ambassador  
     Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
     London, England, U.K.  
     Phone: 011 44 71 584 8101	Fax:	011 44 71 589-4440 
 
     President Hojjatoleslam Rafsanjani 
     Palestine Avenue Tehran 
     Islamic Republic of Iran  
     Phone: Iran--011 98 21 6161 
     Fax: c/o Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
          London, England UK-- 011 44 71 589 4440 
     Telegram: President Rafsanjani, Tehran, Iran 
     Telex:	214231 MITI IR; 213113 PRIM IR 
 
     Call or fax the UNHCR and request intervention 
     Iran Desk, UNHCR--Geneva  
     Phone: 011 41 22 739 8111	Fax: 011 41 22 739 9546 
 
Call or fax your Senators, Representatives &/or Members of Parliament and  
request intervention For more information please contact: Iranian Christians  
International, Inc. 
 
Phone: (719) 596-0010	Fax: (719) 574-1141	E-Mail:  
74521.230@compuserve.com  
 


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