March 11, 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 possible rearrest of novelist Yaghoub Yadali.

According to our information, Yaghoub Yadali was arrested on March 15, 2007, and detained for 41 days on charges of insult, libel, and publication of false information in two of his fictional works: his short-story collcetion Sketches in the Garden and parts of his novel Rituals of Restlessness. Mr. Yadali was tried at a court in the city of Yasuj, capital of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, southwestern Iran, on August 23, 2007. He was convicted and sentenced in September 2007 to one year in prison for “insulting in order to agitate the general public.”  Nine months of the sentence were suspended for two years, conditional on his writing four articles in local news papers on Lor art and cultural personalities, published at his own expense. It is feared that he could now be summoned to serve the remainder of his sentence.

PEN American believes Yaghoub Yadali was arrested and tried solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression and therefore demands that all charges against him be dropped 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           
H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee

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