April 26, 2012
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
Many years ago I 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".
However, I have been informed that journalist Nargess Mohammadi, was sentenced to eleven years in prison on September 26, 2011 by a court in Tehran for exercising those rights, which the Supreme Leader expressed in his pledge. Narges Mohammadi has apparently been arrested for ‘propaganda against the regime’ for reporting on human rights violations and for visiting political prisoners. On March 4th 2012 an appeals court confirmed the conviction, but reduced the sentence to six years, and on April 21st 2012 she was returned to detention despite severe health problems.
As a member of PEN International I hereby protest her detention, solely based on the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. I therefore call for her immediate and unconditional release.
Furthermore, I ask Your Excellency to seek information and assurances of her well-being, and to secure full access to family visits, legal representation and all necessary medical care whilst detained.
Member of Danish and Norwegian PEN and its Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC)