2014 Iran: Mahvash Sabet

Oslo, 12. November 2014

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street,
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

President Hassan Rouhani
Office of the Presidency
Pasteur Square,
Pasteur Street,
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

 

Your Excellencies

Teacher and poet Mahvash Sabet is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in Evin prison, Tehran. She is one of a group of seven Baha’i leaders known as the “Yaran-i-Iran” – “Friends of Iran” – who have been detained since 2008 for their faith and activities related to running the affairs of the Bahá’í community in Iran. Mahvash Sabet began writing poetry in prison, and a collection of her prison poems was published in English translation on 1 April 2013. PEN International is calling on the Iranian authorities to release Mahvash Sabet and all other writers imprisoned in Iran solely for exercising their right to legitimate freedom of expression.

The Baha’i community in Iran has been the focus of a systematic, state-sponsored persecution since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. After the revolution, the “Yaran-i-Iran” – “Friends of Iran” – was formed with the full knowledge of the government and served as an informal council for the Baha’i in Iran, working to support the spiritual and social needs of Iran’s 300,000-member Baha’i community, until its entire membership was arrested in 2008.

Norwegian PEN

 

·         Welcome the initial steps taken by President Rouhani’s government to improve the state of freedom of expression in Iran;

·         Call on the Iranian authorities to take further steps to demonstrate their commitment to reform by releasing Mahvash Sabet and all other writers currently imprisoned in Iran solely for exercising their right to legitimate freedom of expression;

·         Urge that further measures be taken to fully enshrine the right to freedom of expression in law and practice in Iran as provided for under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party;

 

Sincerely

Carl Morten Iversen
Secretary General