Home Page > News Item > IRAN: Two members of the Iranian Writers Association arrested

RAN 27/12 – 13 June 2012

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee protests the one-year prison sentences handed down to translator and women’s rights activist Manijeh Najm Eraghi (aka Araghi) and economist and writer Fariborz Rais Dana, who were detained on 3 June 2012 and 21 May 2012 respectively for their membership of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA). PEN considers both writers to be held in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN’s information, translator and secretary for the IWA Manijeh Najm Eraghi was arrested on 3 June 2012 after being summoned by Tehran’s State Security police, and transferred to Evin Prison to serve out a one-year prison sentence. She is charged with membership of the IWA, transmitting the association’s statements and participating in peaceful gatherings. Najm Eraghi was first arrested on 16 October 2010 and released on bail after three days.

Manijeh Najm Eraghi is a leading translator from English to Farsi, specializing in books on women’s rights. She has been translating books and articles regularly since the early 1990’s, and her publications include An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives by Pamela Abbott and Claire Wallace (first edition 2001, latest edition 2011), Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction by Rosemarie Tong, and most recently Capitalism, the Family and Personal Life by Eli Zaretsky. She has two further publications forthcoming, of Juliet Mitchell’s Psychoanalysis and Feminism and Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas.

On 21 May 2012, Fariborz Rais Dana, a leading economist and member of the IWA, was summoned to Tehran’s Evin Prison to serve out a one year jail term. He had been arrested on 19 December 2010 after giving interviews to the foreign media critical of President Ahmadinejad’s economic policies. He was held for one month before being released on bail. He was later sentenced to one year in prison for a series of charges including “membership of the Iranian Writer’s Association, preparing seditious announcements against the regime, giving interviews to BBC and Voice of America, and accusing the Islamic Republic of abusing prisoners and holding show trials.”

Dr. Raisdana is a leading intellectual and reformist known for his outspoken criticism of the Iranian government’s economic and social policies, and has been subject to repeated harassment by the security services. Raisdana is a member of the Board of the IWA, and has published numerous books and articles on political economy and sociology, including Applied Development Economics, Money and Inflation, Political Economy of Development, and Globalization. For an interview with Raisdana click here

The IWA has been working for the rights of writers for over four decades, and has been under increasing pressure from the government in recent years.

Please send appeals:
Protesting the detention of writers Manijeh Najm Eraghi and Fariborz Rais Dana, who are sentenced for their membership of the Iranian Writers Association;
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;
Seeking assurances that they are given full access to their family, lawyer and medical care whilst detained.

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

It is recommended that appeals are sent via the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@pen-international.org