March 18, 2008

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street
Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

H.E. Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

H.E. Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence
Second Negarestan Street
Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,400 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our serious concern about the arrest of editor Ali Muhaqiq Nasab.

According to our information, Ali Muhaqiq Nasab, editor of the monthly magazine Haqoq-e-Zan (Women’s Rights), was detained by Iranian officials in Qom, near Tehran, on March 4, 2008, and continues to be held without charge. Documents, mobile phones, and a computer were reportedly confiscated from his home at the time of his arrest. We understand that Nasab’s wife was denied access to or any information about him, and officials from Iran’s embassy in Kabul have declined to comment on the case.

PEN American Center is deeply alarmed at the arrest and detention of Ali Muhaqiq Nasab for his writings in support of women’s rights.  We believe that Mr. Nasab is being held solely for exercising his right to free expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory, and therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Thank you for your attention.

Hannah Pakula                   
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee   

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: H.E. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad           
The Presidency           

H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

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