2007: Iran: Writers and women’s rights advocates

3 May 2007

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@leader.ir , istiftaa@wilayah.org

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:   via Judiciary website: Iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html

Your Excellency,

I, as Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, protest the convictions of prominent writers and women’s rights advocates Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, Nusheen Ahmadi Khorasani, Parvin Ardalan and Sussan Tahmassebi, who were sentenced to two, three, and four years’ imprisonment under national security laws on 18 and 24 April 2007. All remain free on bail pending appeal.

Norwegian PEN considers these women to be targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

According to PEN’s information, these arrests appear to be part of a recent crackdown on Iran’s burgeoning women’s rights movement. Prominent writers, journalists and women activists were among thirty-three women to be arrested during a demonstration on 4 March 2007. Although all have been freed on bail, many still face charges.

The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN calls for the charges against Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, Nusheen Ahmadi Khorasani, Parvin Ardalan and Sussan Tahmassebi,  to be dropped.

Confident that you, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely

Elisabet W. Middelthon
Chair, Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
The President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
The Norwegian Embassy in Tehran
The Iranian Embassy, Oslo