Iran: Writer and student leader detained

English PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of writer and activist Amin Ghazaei, who has been held incommunicado and without charge since 14 January 2008. He is among scores of student activists to have been detained in Iran during December 2007 and Janaury 2008.

According to PEN’s information, writer Amin Ghazaei, who is also leader of the group Students for Freedom and Equality (Daneshjouyan-e Azadi Khah va Beraber Talab), was arrested in Tehran on 14 January 2008 by Intelligence Ministry officers along with fourteen other students at a meeting, in what appears to be a worrying pattern of recent arrests of student activists. He is reported to be held in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison, and to have been mistreated. There is grave concern for his health as he reportedly suffers from a peptic ulcer, heart problems, and asthma.

Amin Ghazaei’s home was reportedly searched on 15 January 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.

Ghazaei was born in 1979 and is known for his many articles published on-line on topics such as gender identity. The websites he has written for include and He is the chief editor of the electronic journal ArtCult and has his own web-log ( 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 on the web or by an Iranian publisher in Europe. He has also published two collections of writings, Hich Ettefagh (Nothing Happening) and Haghighat (Truth), and has co-authored the anthology Honar-e Mossalah (Armed Art). None of his works have been submitted for publication inside Iran.

English PEN fears that Ghazaei 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. 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 as a matter of urgency.

Background information (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.

Please send appeals:

  • Expressing serious concerns about the detention and well-being of writer and activist Amin Ghazaei, and seeking guarantees of his well-being and 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.


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
(Salutation: Your Excellency)

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
(Salutation: Your Excellency)

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence,

Second Negarestan Street,

Pasdaran Avenue,

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
(Salutation: Your Excellency)

Copies to:

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”)
It may be most effective, however, to send the above appeals care of the Iranian representative in London:

His Excellency Mr Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT

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