April 20, 2012

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

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

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,000 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 regarding the health of literary translator Mohammad Soleimani Nia.

According to our information, on April 2, 2012, Mohammad Soleimani Nia began a hunger strike to protest his continuing detention. Prior to his hunger strike, he was already said to be in fragile condition. He is currently being held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison, which is notorious for its harsh conditions. There are mounting concerns for his well-being.

Mohammad Soleimani Nia, translator of the book Funny in Farsi by Iranian-American Firoozeh Dumas, has been held without charge since January 10, 2012, after responding to a summons to report to the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. After arriving at court, he was accompanied by security guards to his home in Karaj, where the guards searched the house and seized computer equipment and documents before taking him away. Soleimani Nia has been under pressure since November 2011, and is believed to be targeted for developing the professional social networking web site U24, launched in April 2007.

PEN American Center protests the detention without charge of Mohammad Soleimani Nia and urges that he be given full access to his family, lawyer, and necessary medical care. We believe he is being held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

Thank you for your attention to 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 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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