In the past year, the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN has monitored over 1,000 attacks on writers and journalists in 90 countries, 200 of whom are serving long prison, others have been threatened, harassed and attacked. Tragically, since 15 November 2007, 31 have been killed, many clearly in the pursuit of their professions, others in unclear circumstances.

On 15 November every year, PEN’s membership of writers world wide celebrates the courage of others in standing up against repression and for the principle of freedom of expression and the right to information. This Day of the Imprisoned Writer sees writers world wide sending appeals, staging events, and commemorating their fellow colleagues. Each year PEN focuses on five cases – one from each world region and each illustrating the type of repression that is faced daily by those who question, challenge and illustrate daily lives through their writings.

This year the focus cases are:

Azerbaijan: Eynullah Fatullayev – a journalist serving an eight year prison term for his political commentary and investigations into the murder of another journalist in 2005;

China: Tsering Woeser – a Tibetan writer and poet who writes in Chinese and who has been banned and suffers harassment for her writings on Tibet;

Iran: Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand – a journalist and Kurdish rights activist serving an 11-year prison sentence;

Peru: Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza – a student and poet currently on trial for alleged links to a terrorist organisation, although there is no evidence of her having carried out or advocated violence;

Zimbabwe: Writers, Cast and Crew – The Crocodile of Zambezi – a play that has been banned and led to actors and crew being beaten, and the playwrights threatened.

2007: Iran: Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand

15th November 2007

International Writers in Prison Day

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khameney
Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency;

Re Journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand

It appears that Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, who was arrested on July 1st 2007, for reasons which remain unclear, is being ill-treated in detention, and at risk of torture. International PEN is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, who seems to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.

The detainee suffers from poor health; high blood pressure, a skin and a kidney condition, and has been told by prison guards that every time he wants to go to the toilet he must write a letter to the intelligence officials running Section 209 of Evin Prison and seek formal permission to do so!
International PEN seeks assurances of his well being, guarantees that his basic rights are being respected and that he is given full access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency.

Your Excellency, we urge you to look into this case immediately, and see to it that Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand’s case is reconsidered in view of international standards for fair treatment and fair trials, and that special attention is given to his obvious need for medical treatment.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN

e-mail copies to His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and to Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie