November 5, 2008

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom
Islamic Republic of Iran

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr, Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to protest the decision of the Tehran Appeal Court to uphold the 11-year prison sentence handed down to Kurdish journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand.

According to our information, on October 23, 2008, the Tehran Appeal Court upheld the 11-year prison sentence imposed on Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, editor of the banned weekly Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan (Kurdistan People’s Message). The Tehran Revolutionary Court initially sentenced him on June 22, 2008 on charges of “acting against national security” for forming a human rights organization in Iran’s Kurdish region.

Following his arrest on July 1, 2007, Mr. Kabudvand was taken to his house in Tehran, where security officers confiscated three computers, books, photographs, and personal documents before taking him away to the Intelligence Ministry’s Section 209 of Evin Prison, where he has reportedly been ill-treated. He spent the first five months of his detention in solitary confinement before his trial began on May 25, 2008. Mr. Kabudvand suffers from a number of health complaints, including high blood pressure and kidney disease, and on May 19, 2008, he reportedly suffered a stroke in Evin prison and has been denied access to adequate medical care.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned about the health of Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand and demands that he is given full access to all necessary medical care. We believe his conviction to be in direct violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and therefore reiterate our call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Hannah Pakula                    
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee    

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
       The Presidency
       Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
       Islamic Republic of Iran
       Fax: +98 21 6 674 79

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

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