Kurdish Iranian journalist, writer, and activist Mohammad Sadigh Kaboudvand was released from hospital after his most recent hunger strike, though serious concerns persist regarding his health. Norwegian PEN and the WiPC call for Kaboudvand’s immediate and unconditional release. Read our letter to the Iranian authorities below:
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
On behalf of the Norwegian Writers in Prison Committee and Norwegian PEN, we write to you to express our grave concerns for the health and welfare of Mohammad Sadigh Kaboudvand. Kaboudvand is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence, and facing the recent possibility of new charges he began a hunger strike on May 8th of this year. Alongside reports of ill-treatment, solitary confinement, and even torture, we are increasingly concerned about Kaboudvand’s deteriorating health, and we demand that the Iranian authorities ensure he receives all necessary medical attention as a matter of the utmost urgency.
Furthermore, we call on the Iranian authorities to quash all convictions and drop any fresh charges against Kaboudvand. We demand his unconditional and immediate release, since his imprisonment is based on a violation of his right to the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression. In November 2012, the United Nations Working Group of Arbitrary Detention found Kaboudvand’s detention to be arbitrary (opinion 48/2012), and also called for his release and right to compensation. The Iranian authorities did not heed this call, and we deeply urge you again to reconsider the legitimacy of Kaboudvan’s imprisonment.
As an Honorary Member of Austrian PEN, PEN Català, Swedish PEN and Sydney PEN, Kaboudvand is an important pillar in the international community for freedom of expression and human rights. We implore you to respect those rights, as Iran has committed to do for all of its citizens.
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. We remind you of your obligations to protect these rights under domestic and international law, and the obligation to ensure the fundamental freedoms and health and welfare of your citizens while they exercise their right to freedom of expression.
Ms Brit Bildøen
Chair of Writers in Prison Committee
Ms Iva Gavanski
Advisor, Writers in Prison Committee
Copy: The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs