January 29, 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 deep concern about the health and well-being of journalist Emadeddin Baqi following reports that he suffered a heart attack in prison.

According to our information, Emadeddin Baqi, a prominent pro-reform journalist and human rights advocate, was arrested on October 14, 2007, at the Security Unit of the General Revolutionary Public Prosecutor’s office after he responded to a summons.  He is believed to have been charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “publishing secret government documents” for his activities as president of the Society for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights, an organization that he founded in 2003.  On December 26, he suffered a heart attack and was briefly hospitalized for emergency treatment.  He was subsequently returned to prison and is said to be held incommunicado and in solitary confinement in section 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison, where he has been detained since his arrest.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned about the health of Emadeddin Baqi and demands that he is given full access to his family, lawyers, and all necessary medical treatment as a matter of urgency. PEN believes that Mr. Baqi is being detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression, and we renew our call for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory. 

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           
Palestine Avenue                   
Azerbaijan Intersection               
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 6 674 790

H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 867-7086

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