October 24, 2011
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic of Iran
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Islamic Republic of Iran.
As a member of Norwegian and Danish PEN I have learned that His Excellency Ayatollah Khomenei in 1979, during the Iranian revolution, made a pledge to protect freedom of expression and the press which he called “Our Society Will Be a Free Society”.
In light of His Excellency’s pledge we are disturbed by the fact that writer, journalist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was originally sentenced to eleven years in prison by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court on 9 January 2010 for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression, is still in detention.
We have also been informed that since her arrest Nasrin Soutadeh has been allowed very limited access to her family, which is in in violation of the Iranian Penal Code which guarantees the right to weekly visits and to receive phone calls from relatives. Furthermore, she is said to have been denied family visits for three weeks after protesting conditions of detention in Evin prison.
Despite timereductions in her sentence, passed mid-september, we protest her continued detention for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. I therefore ask your Excellency to seek Mrs. Soutadeh’s immediate and unconditional release and to seek information and assurances of her well-being while she is in detention.
Member of Danish and Norwegian PEN and its Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC)