International PEN is shocked by the severity of the sentence handed down in absentia to leading Canadian-Iranian journalist, writer, and filmmaker Maziar Bahari on May 9, 2010. Bahari was sentenced on national security charges to 13.5 years and an extended flogging for his coverage of the disputed presidential elections in June 2009. He remains abroad. PEN reminds the Iranian authorities of their obligations to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and continues to call for the charges against Maziar Bahari to be dropped.

PEN Press Release: 5/13/10: PEN Condemns Sentencing of Maziar Bahari in Iran

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, age 42, was convicted of "congregation and mutiny with the intent to commit crimes against national security," for which he received a five-year sentence, "collecting and keeping confidential and classified documents" (four years), "propagation against the regime" (one year), "insulting the Supreme Leader" (two years), "insulting the President" (six months), and "disruption of public order" (one year and 74 lashes). Bahari spent four months in Tehran’s Evin Prison after his arrest on June 21, 2009, before being released on bail on October 17, 2009. Bahari’s arrest is part of a major crackdown on dissent which has seen unprecedented restrictions on the foreign media in Iran.

After his release Maziar Bahari left Iran to join his wife and newborn daughter in the UK but has continued to advocate for the release of imprisoned Iranian journalists and writers, working with a coalition of free expression organizations (including PEN) on an international campaign called "Our Society Will Be a Free Society." Bahari has made numerous public statements and speeches on behalf of the campaign.

Write A Letter

  • Expressing shock at the severity of the sentence against Canadian-Iranian journalist and writer Maziar Bahari for solely carrying out his legitimate professional activities;
  • Urging the Iranian authorities to drop the charges against Maziar Bahari;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Iran in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

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

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country if possible.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after June 15, 2010: ftw [at]