International PEN welcomes the release of leading journalist and human rights activist Emadeddin Baghi on June 23, 2010. However, PEN remains deeply concerned that he still faces charges and is due to stand trial in early July. 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 Emadeddin Baghi to be dropped.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Emadeddin Baghi, prominent Iranian journalist and human rights activist, was arrested on December 28, 2009, and spent most of his time in detention in solitary confinement. He was released from the notorious Evin prison on June 23, 2010, on bail of 200 million Tomans (approximately $200,000).  Baghi was arrested following the broadcast by the BBC Persian Service of a two-year-old interview he had conducted with the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, an influential cleric who died in December 2009. The government has sought to clamp down on publicity about Montazeri, who had criticized the conduct of the June 2009 presidential election.

Emadeddin Baghi reportedly faces additional charges of undertaking "propaganda against the state" and "colluding to commit acts against national security." He is due to be tried on July 7, 2010.

Emadeddin Baghi has a long history of political imprisonment and persecution. He was first imprisoned on May 29, 2000, and sentenced to a three-year prison term on charges of "endangering national security" for his writings about the serial murder of dissident intellectuals in Iran in the late 1990s. He served two years of that sentence, and one year was suspended. He was also handed a one-year suspended term in 2003 for “endangering national security” and “printing lies” in his book, The Tragedy of Democracy in Iran. His newspaper Joumhouriat was shut down in 2003. In October 2007 he was sentenced to one year in prison for "acting against national security," "propaganda against the Islamic Republic," and "divulging state secret information" for his activities as president of the Society for the Defense of Prisoners’ Rights, an organization that he founded in 2003. In December 2007 he suffered a heart attack and three seizures in prison, and remained in poor health without adequate medical care until his release in October 2008. PEN advocated for his release during his previous detentions.

Baghi is the founder of the Association for the Defense of Prisoner’s Rights, which had been compiling information on torture and other abuses of detainees. In the late 1990s he exposed the serial murders of Iranian intellectuals. His books Right to Life and Right to Life II argue for the abolition of the death penalty and have been banned by the authorities. He is the author of 20 books, six of which have been banned in Iran, and winner of the Martin Annals Award in 2009 and British Press Awards for International Journalist of the Year 2008.

Write A Letter

  • Welcoming the release on bail of leading Iranian journalist, writer and human rights activist Emadeddin Baghi;
  • Calling for the charges against Emadeddin Baghi to be dropped and reminding the Iranian authorities of their obligations to uphold freedom of expression;
  • 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 state party.

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
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")

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

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after July 30, 2010: ftw [at]