International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of writer and activist Amin Ghazaei, who has been held incommunicado without charge since January 14, 2008. He is among scores of student activists who have been detained in December 2007 and January 2008. PEN  fears that he may be detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression, and calls on the Iranian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally if he is held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory. PEN is alarmed at reports that he may be ill-treated in prison, and seeks assurances of his well-being and guarantees that he has access to all necessary medical care.

Background Information

Writer Amin Ghazaei is also the leader of Students for Freedom and Equality (Daneshjouyan-e Azadi Khah va Beraber Talab). He was arrested in Tehran on January 14, 2008, by Intelligence Ministry officers along with 14 other students at a meeting in what appears to be a troubling pattern of recent arrests of student activists. He has reportedly been held without charge in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison, and has been tortured. There is concern for his health as he reportedly suffers from a peptic ulcer, heart problems, and asthma.
 
Ghazaei's home was searched on January 15, 2008, by the police who confiscated his computer and all of his papers. He has been allowed one short telephone conversation with his family in the presence of guards, but otherwise has not been allowed access to his family or a lawyer.

Amin Ghazaei was born in 1979 and is known for many articles published on topics such as gender identity on sites such as www.mindmotor.com and www.poetrymag.info. He is the chief editor of the electronic journal ArtCult and has his own weblog. He has also translated some banned books into Farsi, including Gender Trouble (Judith Butler), Seduction (Jean Baudrillard), and Cyborg Manifesto (Donna Haraway), which have been published either online or by an Iranian publisher in Europe. He has also published two collections, Hich Ettefagh (Nothing Happening) and Haghighat (Truth), and has coauthored the anthology Honar-e Mossalah (Armed Art). None of his work has been submitted for publication inside Iran.

The following information is from Amnesty International: Student groups have been at the forefront of demands for greater human rights in Iran in recent years. Since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005, there have been increasing restrictions on civil society in Iran. In April 2007, Minister of Intelligence Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie publicly accused student activists and campaigners for the rights of women in Iran of being part of an "enemy conspiracy," though neither he nor other Iranian authorities have produced evidence to substantiate this charge, which such activists roundly repudiate.

Write A Letter

  • expressing serious concerns about the detention of writer and activist Amin Ghazaei, seeking guarantees of his well-being, demanding that he is given full access to his family, lawyers, and all necessary medical treatment immediately;
  • calling for his 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

Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ˜Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street, Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail: info@leader.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
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
E-mail: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir
(Write in the subject line: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Intelligence
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence
Second Negarestan Street, Pasdaran Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

President
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(Note: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")
E-mail: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

Please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

Please check with PEN if sending appeals after March 5, 2008: ftw [at] pen.org