PEN International is seriously concerned for the welfare of Azeri writers Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade, who have been held without charge in Iran since May 2, 2012. PEN seeks immediate information on the whereabouts and welfare of the two men, as well as details about any charges against them. PEN fears that they may be held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release unless there is compelling evidence to charge them with a recognizable criminal offense.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade were reportedly arrested in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, on May 2, 2012. 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. They were reportedly kidnapped by a group of eight men in civilian dress when their bus arrived in Tabriz. 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 for discussing issues concerning the rights of Iran’s large Azeri minority.
On May 16, 2012, a spokesperson from the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported that the two poets were being held by the Iranian security forces. Unconfirmed reports on some Iranian web sites allege that they are accused of “espionage and drug trafficking,” although no official information has been released on the reason for their detention or any charges against them. It is thought that their detention may be politically motivated. Tensions between Iran and its neighbor Azerbaijan have escalated in recent months over a number of political issues. The two men remain detained incommunicado at an unknown location, without access to lawyers or their families; there are serious concerns for their well-being.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the detention without charge of Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade;
  • Expressing serious concerns for their well-being in detention, and urging that they are immediately provided with full access to their families, lawyers, and medical care;
  • Calling for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with 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
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.