PEN American Says Write a Letter, the WORD Accepts the Challenge

Mailed August 14, 2009:

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei and
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
c/o H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 867-7086

Your Excellencies,

I am writing to protest the ongoing detentions of writers, journalists, students and academics following the disputed 2009 presidential elections. I

I understand that hundreds of Iranians have been detained since June 12, 2009, when many Iranians took to the streets of Tehran to protest the outcome of the election. While many were detained as participants in those protests, scores of journalists, writers and scholars were arrested because of their reportage. Both the suppression of peaceful protests and the jailing of those who seek to report on those protests violate Iran’s commitments to freedom of expression and the free exchange of information and ideas.

I therefore urge you to cease the detention and harassment of all writers, journalists, students and academics, and release all those who have been imprisoned in violation of their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. I please ask you also to consider the detention of New America Media Journalist Shane Bauer and his two friends, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, who are also being detained.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Greggory W. Morris
Assistant Professor
Editor, the WORD

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