Tuesday, July 28, 2009



PEN on Surveillance
This week, PEN will be in court challenging the U.S. government’s massive warrantless surveillance program. Join PEN in writing to your members of Congress and urging them to investigate claims that the National Security Agency may be illegally intercepting private communications of American citizens.

For more information contact:
Larry Siems, PEN American Center, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105
Marian Botsford Fraser, PEN Canada, (416) 938-4204

New York City, Toronto, July 16, 2009—
PEN American Center and PEN Canada today sent an open letter signed by over 100 of the world’s most prominent writers calling for the release of Canadian-Iranian journalist and playwright Maziar Bahari, who has been held incommunicado in Tehran since June 21, 2009.

Maziar Bahari, who reports regularly from Tehran for Newsweek and has won acclaim for his plays and documentary films, was detained while covering events surrounding the disputed presidential elections in Iran on June 12, 2009. He has not been granted access to a lawyer in the three and a half weeks of his incarceration, and no charges against him have been made known. He is believed to be held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.

Citing concern that Bahari’s detention reflects a wider crackdown on freedom of expression in Iran, writers such as Wole Soyinka, Margaret Atwood, Orhan Pamuk, Don DeLillo, Ma Jian, Umberto Eco, and Nadine Gordimer said, “His continued detention casts serious doubt on Iran’s commitment to a free exchange of information and ideas and to international guarantees of freedom of the press. We urge you to release Mr. Bahari, and all others detained in connection with their post-election reporting in Iran, immediately and without condition.”

PEN American Center and PEN Canada are among the 145 worldwide centers of International PEN, an organization that works to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers everywhere, to fight for freedom of expression, and represent the conscience of world literature. For more information, please visit www.pen.org and www.pencanada.ca.

Related Articles

Free Maziar Bahari: An Open Letter to Iranian Authorities

Free Maziar Bahari: An Open Letter to Iranian Authorities (PDF)

Appeals Court Reverses Decision on Exclusion of Foreign Scholar Tariq Ramadan


2009 PEN Prison Writing Awards

Every year, the PEN Prison Writing Program recognizes the work of writers imprisoned throughout the country. Visit PEN.org for uncensored writings from this year's Prison Writing Contest winners. >> More

Iran: A Conversation About the Elections, Protest, and the Future
Audio and video from the event are now available on PEN.org. Hear real stories from the streets and a discussion with experts on the future of this complex country. >> More

Translation Slam: Poetry and Protests
The poem chosen for the current installment of PEN's online Translation Slam is a political slogan devised by Iranian protesters who took to the streets this June after the official results of the presidential elections were announced. >> More

New Audio and Video from PEN World Voices Festival
PEN continues to add new audio and video content from this year's PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Visit the web site for the latest photos and writing, as well as audio and video recordings, including:

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio in Conversation with Adam Gopnik
DEFIANCE: The Spirit of ’89
Faith & Fiction

More Advocacy News:
PEN American Center Condemns Murder of Natalia Estemirova
100 International Writers Call for Release of Journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran

July 16, 2009:
100 International Writers Call for Release of Journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran

Journalist Maziar Bahari is shown in this undated photo. Bahari, a Canadian citizen, had been detained without charge according to Newsweek. Iranian authorities have clamped down on

journalists and have tightened their squeeze on the Web, blocking Web sites such Facebook, Twitter and many sites linked to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi or his backers. Text messaging has been blacked out since last week, and cell phone service in Tehran is frequently down.

No comments: