(NEW YORK) – Hundreds of the world’s most prominent writers, artists, human rights activists, allies, and civil society organizations have signed on to an open letter created by PEN America calling for the immediate release of jailed Iranian human rights activist and writer Narges Mohammadi prior to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, scheduled to be held in Oslo on December 10.

“Narges’ story is one of extraordinary courage in the face of adversity, making her name synonymous with the fight for human rights in Iran. Her experience underscores the global struggles for free expression and women’s equality and serves as a stark reminder of the heavy price that dissidents and activists pay in the name of freedom and equal rights,” the PEN America open letter says.

The letter, signed by more than 250 writers and allies, including Abraham Verghese, Arundhati Roy, Azar Nafisi, Emma Thompson, George Saunders, Khaled Hosseini, John Green, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, Margaret Atwood, Mary Karr, Nazanin Boniadi, Sandra Cisneros, and Viet Thanh Nguyen; fellow Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi, J.M. Coetzee, and Orhan Pamuk; and at least 40 civil society organizations, including Freedom House, Frontline Defenders, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Human Rights in Iran, PEN International, and more than 30 PEN Centers from around the world. Mohammadi, the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was honored with PEN America’s 2023 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award in May.

Mohammadi, 51, is currently being held in Evin Prison, where she is serving multiple politically-motivated sentences totaling more than three decades. Over the years, she has been subject to numerous ordeals, including abusive treatment in custody, prolonged periods in solitary confinement, and enforced separation from her immediate family, including a ban on phone contact with her husband and teenage children. Mohammadi, who suffers from both heart and pulmonary issues, is regularly subjected to serious medical neglect, prompting her to undertake a 3-day hunger strike in early November after she was denied urgently needed medical care as a result of her refusal to wear a hijab. Signatories demand Mohammadi be released before December 10 and allowed to travel to Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, where she would be united with her family. The letter closes with a “call on the international community to urgently press for Narges Mohammadi’s release. It is a moral imperative to prioritize human rights over political considerations and to advocate for the freedom of those who use their voices to defy tyranny and to champion justice and equality. Narges’ continued imprisonment is not just a violation of her rights but a stark reminder of the extent of the brutal persecution still faced by political dissidents and human rights defenders in Iran and around the world today.”

The open letter follows an invitation last month for well-wishers to send Mohammadi letters of support and congratulations following the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize. PEN America received hundreds of letters from around the globe, which will be forwarded to her family.

We now invite the broader public to join us in support of Narges Mohammadi by signing the open letter.

Contact: Dietlind Lerner, [email protected] tel. +1 310 699 8775