Prisoner of the Month November 2004 Nasser Zarafshan

Dr. Nasser Zarafshan, the writer, translator and lawyer, one of the most courageous writers in prison, has stood up to the atrocities of the Iranian authorities. Recently in Evin prison, where Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-born Canadian journalist was murdered, the intellectuals and journalists in his ward created a human shield around him and his cell, so that he would not get hurt. His imprisonment and this incident was the subject of a petition at the PEN congress in September in Tromso, Norway, which was signed by about 140 writers, all members of PEN.

Zarafshan represented the families of two murdered writers after the serial killings of Iranian writers in 1998. No one knows whether he saw the files on those killings or not. He said in an interview with the Persian Service of Free Radio in Prague that to talk about a crime was not a crime, and only committing a crime was punishable. He was accused of ‘disseminating state secrets’ and was tried behind closed doors by a military court (which had no right to try him) and sentenced in 2002 to 5 years imprisonment and 70 lashes.

Letters may be addressed to:

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khameni

The Presidency

Palestine Avenue

Azerbaijan Intersection


Islamic Republic of Iran

Richard McKane, member of English PEN Writers in Prison Committee

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