Update: Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger’s Statement About the Release of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh,
On behalf of the entire Columbia community, I want to say how relieved we are to hear of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh's release from prison in Teheran. Months ago, I joined the chorus of voices calling for the government of Iran to free Dr. Tajbakhsh – an alumnus of Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation working with the Open Society Institute. In recent discussions with the Iranian Mission, I communicated that I would raise his case, among many other issues, directly and publicly if President Ahmadinejad came to speak on our campus. Dr. Tajbakhsh’s belated release on bail should not change our determination to challenge the regime’s record of unjust imprisonment and repression of such scholars, journalists and advocates working for a freer society in Iran – among them one of Columbia’s graduation speakers last year, Nobel Prize-winning human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi.It was blackmail that got Ahmadinejad a forum at Columbia.