2019 Iran: Narges Mohammadi

Journalist, menneskerettighetsforkjemper og Norsk PENs æresmedlem Narges Mohammadi er akutt syk, men får ikke nødvendig medinsk tilsyn og behandling i Evin-fengselet, der hun soner en dom på seks år – utelukkende på grunn av sitt arbeid for menneskerettigheter og demokrati i Iran. Øivind Hånes i Norsk PENs komité for fengslede forfattere krever i sitt brev til iranske myndigheter at Narges Mohammadi umiddelbart får den livreddende medisinske behandlingen hun behøver, og at hun løslates uten betingelser.

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President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani
Oslo, 6th of June 2019

Dear Mr. President,

Norwegian PEN is deeply concerned for the health and wellbeing of prominent journalist and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi who is currently in Evin prison, serving a six-year prison sentence for her human rights activities. In prison, she has developed a serious infection as a result of the conditions of her detention. In May 2019, following a sharp deterioration in her health, the prison authorities transferred Mohammadi to a hospital where she underwent an emergency hysterectomy. However, after surgery Mohammadi was immediately transferred back to Evin prison where she is denied necessary medication including antibiotics. Consequently, Mohammadi’s surgery wounds have become infected, and the infection has entered her bloodstream. She urgently requires medical care and medicines including antibiotics.

Narges Mohammadi was first arrested in June 2010 before being released on bail pending trial. On 26 September 2011 she was sentenced to five years in prison for ‘gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security’, one year in prison for ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and 10 years for ‘founding and running an illegal organisation’ for her work with Legam, advocating against the death penalty. She remained free on bail and the sentence was reduced to six years on appeal in April 2012, when she was summoned to serve out her sentence. Mohammadi’s health has sharply declined as a result of her imprisonment. She recently published an open letter where she powerfully describes the prison conditions which have led to her severe health problems.

Norwegian PEN is expressing serious concern for the health of Narges Mohammadi, urging the authorities to permit her access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency. We are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Narges Mohammadi and all those detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression. We are also demanding a full investigation into reports that Mohammadi is being ill-treated and denied adequate medical care in prison.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Øivind Hånes
Chair of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

COPY:
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Embassy of Iran, Oslo

Nordic PEN statement on Nasrin Sotudeh

A joint statement of Nordic PEN centres on Iran: Drop charges against human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

A statement by four Nordic PEN Centres, 16 March 2019

Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish PEN centres are gravely concerned for the well-being of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was handed over a total 38 years in jail and 148 lashes in national security-related offences. Ms Sotoudeh, an award-winning human rights defender and an Honorary Member of PEN Finland, is known for her role as a defender of rights of women detained for refusing mandatory covering of their hair in public. She was arrested in June 2018 for defending women prosecuted for appearing in public without a headscarf, or hijab. She was charged with spreading propaganda against the state, insulting the country’s supreme leader and spying.

We are appalled by the wrongful conviction of Sotoudeh. We condemn the ruling not only as a grave violation of rights of the lawyer in question, but also for the fact that it raises questions on the judicial process itself. The crackdown on dissenting voices in Iran is a direct violation of the principles of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.

Defending human rights is not a crime
Lawyers such as Nasrin Sotoudeh are doing priceless human rights work by representing suppressed voices in a time of veiled judicial crackdown on civil society in Iran. She is a symbol of civil courage. The mother of two, she was also arrested in 2010 and handed over a sentence of 11 years of imprisonment in 2011 on similar charges. She was released in 2013 under growing international condemnation. Since the revolution of 1979, Iran’s powerful clergy establishment remained in control of the state. Arrests, tortures and enforced disappearances of dissidents have become a pattern in Iran in recent years. The sentencing of Sotoudeh is a clear manifestation that Iranian judicial machinery, dominated by hardliners, has become an instrument of the ultra-conservative clergy that suppress dissident voices.

We, the Nordic PEN centres, stand with Nasrin Sotoudeh’s right to freedom of expression as enshrined in international charters and various global conventions.

We urge Iranian authorities to:
Ensure that the arbitrary charges against Nasrin Sotoudeh are dropped and she gets immediate and unconditional release;

  1. Ensure that she, without delay, has regular and unrestricted access to her family and lawyers of her own choosing; that she has an effective opportunity to appeal the verdict and that she receives all necessary medical treatment;
  2. Immediately release all writers, journalists and human rights defenders who are under trial for expressing their legitimate rights to freedom of expression;
  3. Uphold the independence of the judiciary;
  4. Investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment during detention;
  5. Put an end to acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against all human rights defenders in Iran. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by United Nations General Assembly.

    We urge our governments, Nordic Council, European Union, the United Nations and others to:

  1. Scrutinize Iran’s attack on dissident voices and put pressure on Iranian government to ensure release of country’s imprisoned human rights defenders including Nasrin Sotoudeh;
  2. Press Iranian government to respect rights of women and adhere to its obligations to international covenants, conventions and treaties in which Iran is a state party;
  3. Use their leverage to press Iranian government to affect changes.

    Sincerely,

    Veera Tyhtilä
    President of Finnish PEN

    Jesper Bengtsson
    President of Swedish PEN

    William Nygaard
    President of Norwegian PEN

    Per Øhrgaard
    President of Danish PEN

2. mars 2019: Teheran – Lillehammer. Persiske ord og norske toner.

Teheran – Lillehammer. Persiske ord og norske toner.

Dato: 02.03.2019
Tid: 17.00 – 17.45
Sted: Nedjma, Litteraturhuset i Oslo, 3. etasje
Pris: Gratis
Se opptaket fra arrangementet

Når folkemusikerne Øystein Rudi og Camilla Granlien møter Fatemeh Ekhtesari og Mehdi Mousavi, oppstår fortellinger vi aldri har hørt maken til. Ekhtesari og Mousavi har begge en lang rekke poesiutgivelser bak seg i Iran og er nå fribyforfattere i Lillehammer. Hva skjer når ei norsk fele forsøker å finne tonen med iransk poesi? Hvordan lyder det når stemmene og tonene som forteller hver sine historier, begynner å snakke sammen? Velkommen til en time med musikalsk oversettelse!

Medvirkende:
Fatemeh Ekhtesari, poet
Camilla Granlien, folkesanger og låtskriver
Mehdi Mousavi, poet
Øystein Rudi, felespiller, driver kulturgården Rudi Gard i Sør-Fron

Forestillingen er produsent av Camilla Granlien og første gang vist under Norsk Litteraturfestival på Lillehammer i 2018.

Arrangementet finner sted på Nedjma, 3. etasje, og er i regi av Norsk PENs komité for fengslede forfattere, i samarbeid med Oversatte dager.

Følg arrangementet på Facebook for mer informasjon og eventuelle oppdateringer.

15. februar: Poet i lukka land

Dato: 15.02.2019
Tid: 16.00 – 16.45
Stad: Alver, Litteraturhuset Bergen
Pris: 100/70,- (stud.)

Korleis er livet som kvinne og poet i Iran og Saudi-Arabia?

Til tross for at dei to landa i Midtausten har mykje til felles både kulturelt og religiøst, er dei bitre fiendar. Men kunsten gjer det mogleg å møtast på same scene: Asieh Amini er frå Iran, men busett i Noreg. Saman med saudiarabiske Hissa Hilal kjem ho til festivalen for å snakke om skrivearbeidet, poesiens plass i Midtausten og korleis livet som kvinne og kunstnar artar seg.

Samtalen vil vere på engelsk.

Norsk PEN Vestlandet i samarbeid med LittfestBergen.

Appell til støtte for regimekritiske protester i Iran

Asieh Amini, styremedlem i Norsk PEN, holder appell foran Stortinget til støtte for det iranske folket.

I de siste ukene har det iranske folket protestert mot tyranniet, og situasjonen i Iran har fått oppmerksomhet fra media og folk over hele verden. De protesterende krever demokrati og sosial rettferdighet i Iran, de krever grunnleggende menneskerettigheter og verdighet. Demonstrasjonene blir sett og hørt av det iranske regimet, som møter demonstrantene med brutal makt og undertrykkelse.

Appell ved Asieh Amini, styremedlem i Norsk PEN.

Artikkel 19 i Verdenserklæringen om Menneskerettigheter gir alle rett til menings- og ytringsfrihet. Denne retten «omfatter frihet til å hevde meninger uten innblanding og til å søke, motta og meddele opplysninger og ideer gjennom ethvert meddelelsesmiddel og uten hensyn til landegrenser».

Å kritisere, protestere og si «nei» til regimet er det iranske folkets rettigheter. Men hvordan kan folk si sin mening når iranske myndigheter systematisk og vedvarende sensurerer media, trakasserer journalister og aktivister, blokkerer aktiviteter fra sivilsamfunnet og arbeidstakerorganisasjoner og forbyr folket å demonstrere?

Det iranske regimet har i stedet for å lytte til folket svart med undertrykkelse, tyranni og vold.
Vi i Norsk PEN ser at iranske journalister og sivile aktivister jobber med fredelige metoder for å forsvare sine rettigheter og støtte folket. Men svaret på denne fredelige innsatsen har ikke vært noe annet enn vold, fengslinger og trakassering fra regimet. Vi har vært vitne til forfølgelsen av kvinner og menn som har lidd de strengeste straffene og til og med mistet livet bare for å si sannheten, bare for å ha brukt sin grunnleggende rett til å ytre seg fritt. Iran topper listen over land som har flest fengslede forfattere og journalister rundt om i verden, sammen med Tyrkia, Egypt og Kina.

Nå har folk gått ut i gatene, de protesterer og verden hører dem.
Vi hører dem: arbeidere, studenter, lærere og alle i gatene i Iran som sier nei til tyranniet! Vi hører dere! Og vi krever sammen med dere retten til å protestere, til å si hva dere mener om staten Iran. Og den retten må respekteres og anerkjennes av myndighetene.

Norsk PEN viser solidaritet med det iranske folket og krever at det iranske regimet må stanse all voldsbruk mot folket! Vi står sammen med folket som kjemper for vår felles verdighet, rettferdighet, likestilling og demokrati. Vi forsvarer retten til ytringsfrihet, retten til å kritisere regimet, bestemme dens politiske og sosiale status i en rettferdig og demokratisk prosess i Iran.

Appell ved Asieh Amini, styremedlem i Norsk PEN
Holdt lørdag 13. januar 2018 kl. 12.00, Eidsvolds plass

Anledning: Markering til støtte for regimekritiske protester i Iran

2017: Iran: Nordic letter to President Rouhani - the arrest of Sedigeh Vasmaghi

His Excellency Hassan Rouhani
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Presidency
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

November 2nd, 2017

Your Excellency,
It is with great concern we, the undersigned representatives of PEN, the world-wide organization working to defend freedom of expression, have learnt that the well-known poet and academic Sedigheh Vasmaghi has been detained in Evin prison in Tehran. On 14 October Sedigheh Vasmaghi travelled from Sweden, where she has been living since 2012, the past three years as a scholar at the University of Uppsala.

When she arrived at Tehran airport she was taken for questioning and subsequently released. A week after, on 21 October she was summoned to the Revolutionary Court. After a hearing, which reportedly lasted only 12 minutes, she was brought to Evin prison.

We fear that the sole reason for Sedigheh Vasmaghi’s arbitrary arrest is her literary work and legitimate academic studies about women’s right as well as her opposition to the death penalty and stoning as punishments. As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Iran has an obligation to allow peaceful freedom of expression.

Furthermore, we are worried about her poor health with severely deteriorated eyesight.

We, the undersigned presidents of PEN in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, call on Your Excellency to ensure the prompt and unconditional release of Sedigheh Vasmaghi.

Pending her release we ask Your Excellency to ensure that Sedigheh Vasmaghi, without delay, has regular and unrestricted access to her family and lawyers of her own choosing; that she has an effective opportunity to challenge the legality of detention and that she, while in prison, receives all necessary medical treatment.

Yours sincerely,

Elisabeth Åsbrink, President Swedish PEN
William Nygaard,  President Norwegian PEN
Per Øhrgaard, President Danish PEN
Sirpa Kähkönen, President Finnish PEN

Nordiske PEN-sentre sender felles protest til Irans president Hassan Rouhani

Foto: Steven Quigley

Stockholm, København, Oslo, Helsingfors, 2. november 2017

I dag sender fire nordiske PEN-sentre et felles brev til presidenten i Iran, Hassan Rouhani, for å protestere mot arrestasjonen av den kjente iranske poeten og advokaten Sedigeh Vasmaghi. Hun ble pågrepet på Teheran flyplass 14. oktober.

– Som fribyforfatter representerer Sedigeh Vasmaghi en sårbar gruppe som allerede har betalt en svært høy pris for sitt menneskerettighetsarbeid, sier Elisabeth Åsbrink, leder i Svensk PEN.

Det er Norsk PEN, Svensk PEN, Dansk PEN og Finsk PEN som står sammen bak initiativet. I brevet krever de fire styrelederne Elisabeth Åsbrink, Per Øhrgaard, William Nygaard og Sirpa Kähkönen at Sedigeh Vasmaghi umiddelbart løslates fra det beryktede Evin-fengselet i Teheran. PEN-sentrene krever videre at hennes rett til juridisk bistand og kontakt med familier etterkommes og at hun får den medisinske hjelpen hun trenger som følge av et sterkt nedsatt syn.

– Norsk PEN deler Svensk PENs bekymringer for Vasmaghis situasjon og helse, sier William Nygaard, leder av Norsk PEN. – Sverige, Danmark og Norge har alle fribyer for forfulgte forfattere, og det er viktig at vi står sammen for å forsvare disse modige stemmene.

Lørdag kveld 14. oktober ble dikteren og menneskerettighetsadvokaten Sedigheh Vasmaghi arrestert på Teherans flyplass i Iran. Hun ble løslatt senere om natten, men ble forhørt igjen dagen etter. 22. oktober ble hun innkalt til retten. Etter tolv minutters forhandlinger besluttet Revolusjonsdomstolen å fastsatte en meget høy kausjon, deretter ble Vasmaghi ført til Evin-fengselet.

Sedigeh Vasmaghi bor i Uppsala, Sverige, hvor hun gjennom fribynettverket ICORN har vært fribyforfatter som følge av trusler og forfølgelse i hjemlandet Iran. Etter to år som fribyforfatter ble hun ansatt som forsker ved Uppsala Universitet.  Vasmaghi har gjennom sitt arbeid ført en utrettelig kamp for kvinners rettigheter. Som foreleser ved Teologisk institutt ved Universitetet i Teheran på 1990-tallet var hun en av få kvinner som underviste i islamsk lov. Vasmaghi er i dag en kjent forfatter og har utgitt flere diktsamlinger, ved siden av fagbøker og politiske kronikker. Diktsamlingen Smälta smärtor ble gitt ut på svensk i 2014. Hennes forfatterskap er preget av et sterkt sosialt og politisk engasjement, som blant annet kommer til uttrykk i hennes skarpe kritikk av dødsstraff, steining og islamsk lov.

De nordiske PEN-sentrenes brev til Irans president Hassan Rouhani kan leses her: Vasmaghi Brev President Rouhani_.

For ytterligere informasjon kontakt:
William Nygaard, leder i Norsk PEN: 908 92 601
Hege Newth, generalsekretær Norsk PEN: 930 02 262

Poet och människorättsjurist fängslad i Iran

Fra Svenska PEN

På lördagskvällen den 14 oktober greps Sedigheh Vasmaghi, som är poet och människorättsjurist, på Teherans flygplats i Iran. Hon släpptes senare under natten, men förhördes på nytt nästa dag, och en vecka senare, den 22 oktober, kallades hon till domstol. Efter tolv minuters förhandling, där hon själv inte fick yttra sig, beslutade Revolutionsdomstolen om en mycket hög borgenssumma, och hon fördes till det ökända Evinfängelset.

Vasmaghi är bosatt i Uppsala, dit hon kom som ICORN-stipendiat 2012. ICORN är en internationell organisation för städer som ger fristad åt en förföljd och hotad skribent eller konstnär. Efter sina två år som fristadsförfattare har hon verkat som forskare vid Uppsala universitet.

I sitt arbete har hon drivit en oförtruten kamp för kvinnors rättigheter. Som docent vid teologiska institutionen vid Teherans universitet på 1990-talet, var hon en av få kvinnor som undervisade i islamsk lagstiftning. Vasmaghi är idag en välkänd författare, och har publicerat flera diktsamlingar vid sidan av akademisk litteratur och politiska krönikor. Diktsamlingen Smälta smärtor gavs 2014 ut på svenska. Hennes författarskap präglas av ett starkt socialt och politiskt engagemang, där hon bland annat för fram en skarp kritik av dödsstraff, stening och sharialagstiftningen.

Sedigheh Vasmaghi får inte tystas, hon måste kunna fortsätta sitt viktiga arbete som försvarare av kvinnors rättigheter. Svenska PEN kräver att Vasmaghi omedelbart och villkorslöst släpps fri.

A message from Narges Mohammadi

Iranian journalist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi is currently serving a 16-year sentence. She sent a letter which was read during the event The Word is Free, at the Norwegian Festival of Literature in Lillehammer. The letter was read by Narges’ brother, Hamidreza Mohammadi, during the event. You can watch it on our YouTube channel or you can read the letter below.

Greetings,

It’s an honor to be your guest at this important conference in Norway, and I’m sorry for not being able to be among you because of my imprisonment, although these words convey my message to you.  And this  is important, because the words are exactly the reason why I’m in prison right now, and the words and the respect for the freedom of speech are the reason why you have gathered. So, I consider myself there with you, in a city  of which beauty I’ve heard. I greet you in the beautiful city of Lillehammer.

Dear friends,

I’m writing you after I’ve finished serving my 6-year sentence in prison, and the 16-year sentence just started on 14 March 2017, all of which due to my work at the Defenders of Human Rights Center, to  my feminist activities and to opposing the death penalty.

You may wonder what I’ve done or said or written to deserve such a punishment.

Let me tell you a story so that you can judge for yourself what you would do if you were here instead of me or any other Iranian human rights activist. When I was serving my sentence in Zanjan prison, I met a beautiful young woman who had spent most of her life in prison. She was sentenced to death when she was a minor and she spent all her childhood and teenage years waiting for the gallows to be hanged once she reached adulthood. Because, according to the rules, children must stay in the prison until the age of 18 before they are executed.  I watched her suffering every day. Outside the prison, because of the nature of my activities at the Defenders of Human Rights Center, I was often in contact with the families of the death row prisoners, and I’ve witnessed the horrible pain and suffering the death penalty imposes on society.

My dear friends, if you were me wouldn’t you use your pen to try to reform such laws?

If I’m not with you in the beautiful city of Lillehammer today it’s because I’m also paying the price for writing and speaking against solitary confinement and torture. Solitary confinement is a clear example of torture. It’s a place to brainwash and break the will of those opposing the system. One of my goals has been to try to abolish solitary confinement, which are unfortunately controlled and used by different Iranian institutions such as the Revolutionary Guards, the Ministry of Intelligence and even the Judiciary.

My dear colleagues and friends,

If you live in countries where you enjoy the blessing of equality and freedom of speech, it is because there have been people who had fought for and paid the price for it in the past. There have been, without any doubt, women who have fought against gender discrimination and inequality between men and women. Did you know that one of the reasons I’m in prison is my feminist activities? It’s obvious that, as long as there are discriminatory laws against women, there will also be people fighting against the discrimination.

My dear friends, my long prison sentence is because of my struggle side by side with my fellow countrymen and women to achieve democracy, and rest assured that I will continue my efforts the moment I get out of the prison.

Dear friends,

Our ideals are: peace, security, freedom and equality for all.

What remains of human beings without their ideals? Narges Mohammadi can be imprisoned, like any other activist imprisoned on the way to achieve freedom and justice. But can they imprison our ideals? No! Never! And it is our joint responsibility to protect human ideals and aspirations, and to take actual steps in order to fulfill them.

My friends and colleagues who live in the free world, you who hold conferences and try to protect freedom of expression as one of the human ideals, I am addressing you. I believe that peace, security and human rights are achievable only if we unite and support each other.

I sincerely thank you all for listening to me. I also thank the hosts and organizers of the Lillehammer Literature Festival, PEN International that has never hesitated to support me, ICORN organization, and especially Norwegian PEN that has campaigned for my freedom of speech, and all the organizations and individuals supporting freedom of speech and human rights who have shown their support for me and my imprisoned colleagues all around the world.

2017: Iran: Mohammad Sadigh Kaboudvand

The Iranian journalist and writer Mohammad Sadigh Kabudvand was finally released, but Norwegian PEN PEN continues to call on the Iranian authorities to unconditionally release all writers, journalists and publishers who are held in violation of their right to freedom of expression and opinion.                                                                                                             

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

 

Oslo, 21.05.2017

Dear Excellences,

Almost a year ago I wrote to you on behalf of Norwegian PEN to express our concerns for the health and welfare of the prominent journalist and writer Mohammad Sadigh Kabudvand. We just got the news that he is now released, and we hope that this is good news also for the other writers who are unfairly imprisoned in Iran.

PEN continues to call on the Iranian authorities to unconditionally release all writers, journalists and publishers who are held in violation of their right to freedom of expression and opinion. Sadly, we find many Iranian colleagues on PEN’s case list.

The WiPC and Norwegian PEN urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that the right to freedom of expression in Iran is fully respected in law and practice as provided for under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

Ms Brit Bildøen
Chair of Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN

 

 

COPY: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Oslo, Head of the Judiciary in Iran, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran