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IRAN: Mounting concerns for two detained Azeri poets.

Wednesday 25 July 2012 - 1:00am

RAN 34/12 - 25 July 2012

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee is seriously concerned for the welfare of Azeri writers Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade, who have been held without charge in Iran since 2 May 2012. PEN seeks immediate information about the wherebouts and welfare of the two men, as well as details about any charges against them. PEN fears that they may 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 unless there is compelling evidence to charge them with a recognizable criminal offence.

According to PEN’s information, Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade were reportedly arrested in Tabriz, northwestern Iran, on 2 May 2012. They had gone to Tehran on 29 April 2012 to participate in a poetry festival on 1 May, and were arrested on their way back home on 2 May 2012. They are said to have been kidnapped by a group of eight men in civilian dress when their bus arrived in the city. Huseyn, aged 24, covers cultural, social and literary issues for the Azerbaijani newspaper 525 and the Azerbaijani daily Kaspiy; Hajizade, aged 22, is known for articles published online on social networks about youth issues and discussing issues concerning the rights of Iran’s large Azeri minority.

On 16 May 2012, a spokesperson from the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported that the two poets were being held by the Iranian security forces. Unconfirmed reports on some Iranian websites allege that they are accused of ‘espionage and drug trafficking’, although no official information has been made known about the reason for their detention or any charges against them and it is thought that their detention may be politically motivated. Tensions between Iran and its neighbour Azerbaijan have escalated in recent months over a number of political issues. The two men remain detained incommunicado at an unknown location, without access to a lawyer or their families, and there are serious concerns for their well-being.

Please send appeals:
Protesting the detention without charge of Azeri poets and journalists Farid Huseyn and Shahriyar Hajizade;
Expressing serious concerns for their well-being in detention, and urging that they are provided with full access to their family, lawyer and medical care immediately;
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.

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
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")

If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at International PEN 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: