PEN International welcomes the release on September 4, 2012, of Azeri writers Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade, who had been held in Iran since May 2, 2012. According to news reports, the poets have been handed over to the Azeri Consulate General in Tabriz, and are expected to arrive in Baku today, September 6.

Background Information

Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade were arrested in Tabriz, in northwestern Iran, on May 2, 2012, for alleged espionage. They had gone to Tehran on April 29, 2012, to participate in a poetry festival on May 1, and were arrested on their way back home on May 2, 2012. Huseyn, aged 24, covers cultural, social and literary issues for the Azerbaijani newspaper 525 and the Azerbaijani daily Kaspiy; Hajizade, aged 22, is known for articles published online on social networks about youth issues and issues concerning the rights of Iran’s large Azeri minority.

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No further action is required at present. Thank you to all who sent appeals on this case.