PEN demands release of Iranian writer, activist


More than 100 writers, poets and women’s rights activists are speaking out against the arrest of Faranak Farid, the Iranian journalist, poet and activist who was arrested on September 3 in Tabriz.

Azar Mahlojian, an expat Iranian writer who heads the jailed writer’s committee of PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) in Sweden, told Zamaneh that at the 77th International PEN congress in Belgrade, 104 participants signed a petition calling for the unconditional release of Farid.

Commenting on the Islamic Republic’s crackdown on writers, poets, journalists, filmmakers and artists, Mahlojian said: “It appears that the Iranian regime has taken advantage of the international focus on the events in the Middle East and increased pressure on writers, artists and those involved in arts and culture.”

She said the Iranian government’s fear of the art and culture community stems from the powerful and lasting effects of its works.

In the announcement at the annual International PEN congress, Faranak Farid is identified as a progressive writer and editor. Her first volume of poetry was published in 2009 with the second one to be published this year.

There has been grave concern regarding her health in prison, and earlier reports indicated that she had been beaten during her arrest.

Farid was arrested during recent protests in Azerbaijan decrying government inaction on the drying out of Lake Oroumiyeh.



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