[Iran] Mounting concerns for two detained Azeri writers

English PEN is seriously concerned for the welfare of Azeri writers Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade, who have been held without charge in Iran since 2 May 2012. 

Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade were reportedly arrested in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, on 2 May 2012. They had gone to Tehran on 29 April 2012 to participate in a poetry festival on 1 May, and were arrested on their way back home on 2 May 2012. They are said to have been kidnapped by a group of eight men in civilian dress when their bus arrived in the city. 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 discussing issues concerning the rights of Iran’s large Azeri minority.

On 16 May 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 websites allege that they are accused of ‘espionage and drug trafficking’. However, no official information has been made known about the reason for their detention or any charges against them, and it is thought that their detention may be politically motivated. Tensions between Iran and its neighbour 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 a lawyer or their families. There are serious concerns for their well-being.


Please send appeals:

– 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 provided with full access to their family, lawyer and medical care immediately;

– 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.

Appeals 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”)

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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