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Arrest and imprisonment of Arash Ganji in Iran.

March 04, 2021 IN WIP
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1 March, 2021

Arrest and imprisonment of Arash Ganji in Iran.

 

A court of appeal in Iran on 28 February confirmed that writer, translator and secretary of the Iranian Writers’ Association, Mr Arash Ganji will be imprisoned for 11 years. His arrest and imprisonment are imminent.

 

Background

Arash Ganji is a well-known Iranian writer and translator, and currently serves as Secretary of the Iranian Writers’ Association (IWA). On December 22, 2019, authorities raided Mr Ganji’s apartment and confiscated his belongings, including his laptop, books, and notes, and then arrested him on undisclosed charges. An IWA member close to this case has said that Mr Ganji’s arrest was in connection with his translation of a book about a Kurdish-led uprising in northern Syria, A Small Key Can Open A Large Door: The Rojava Revolution.

 

In January 2021 Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Iran sentenced Mr Ganji to 11 years imprisonment – conspiracy five years, propaganda against the system five years and membership in illegal organisation one year.

Mr Ganji suffers from a serious heart condition that requires medical care and which his family fears is being denied.

PEN Melbourne stands in solidarity with our Iranian colleagues – writers unjustly harassed and persecuted for their writing and peaceful activism. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, that is all individuals imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression or other human rights; and drop all charges that are pending against any individuals which stem solely from their peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression or other human rights.

PEN Melbourne calls for the Iranian authorities to immediately drop the unjust charges against Arash Ganji.  Mr Ganji has committed no crime and he should be released immediately, and provided with all necessary medical attention he requires.

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People say that (writers) are pretty powerless: we don’t have an army, we don’t have a bureaucracy. But if that were true, then why would writers be arrested?... Because the spoken word is powerful.

— John Ralston Saul on the work of PEN International