October 24, 2011

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
c/o Public relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street
Vali Asr Ave., above Pasteur Street intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran

Head of East Azerbaijan Province Judiciary
Hojjatoleslam Sharifi
Judiciary of East Azerbaijan
Central Complex
Beginning of Vali-Asr Hill
Tabriz, East Azerbaijan 5157733135
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: 009841133201109

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to welcome the release on bail of journalist, poet, and activist Faranak Farid, but we continue to call for all charges against her to be dropped.

According to our information, Faranak Farid (pen name “Ipek”), editor-in-chief of the banned monthly Dilmaj, was released on bail of one hundred million tuman on October 17, 2011, following 42 days in detention, during which she was reportedly ill-treated and denied access to medical treatment and her lawyer.

Faranak Faid was held in the women’s section of Tabriz Central Prison after she was arrested and reportedly beaten by plainclothes officers on September 3, 2011, in the city of Tabriz. Security officials later searched her home and seized her computer and personal documents. The arrest followed Farid’s participation in a peaceful protest against the environmental policies affecting Urmiah Lake in northwestern Iran, and there were indications that she may have been targeted for her writing and advocacy of women’s rights. Farid faces charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader,” “propaganda against the system,” and “acting against national security.”

Faranak Farid’s publications include the poetry collection Yuxuda Ayilmaq, published in 2009, and Jiziq, currently under publication. She is a founding member of the One Million Signature Campaign, also known as the Campaign for Equality, and has participated in numerous conferences and seminars both inside and outside Iran.

PEN American Center welcomes the release on bail of Faranak Farid, but believes she has been charged in violation of her right to freedom of expression, and continues to call for all charges against her to be dropped. We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure freedom of expression in Iran, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790

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

His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Khazaee
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the U.N.
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the U.N.
622 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 867-7086

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