July 2022: PEN International joins other leading organisations in an open letter to H.E. Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of interpreters Anisha Asadollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi, who were arrested and detained on 9 May 2022 for serving as interpreters for two French nationals, Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, also arrested a few days later.
“Interpreters and translators play a crucial part in information-sharing, allowing people to break language barriers, facilitating emotional and intellectual connections around the world, and often giving a voice to those people governments would rather have silent. No one should face persecution for providing such a service. PEN International stands with Anisha Asadollahi and Keyvan Mohtadi, calling for their immediate release.” – Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director, PEN International.
Anisha Asadollahi and her husband Keyvan Mohtadi were arrested at their home in Tehran following their work for Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris who were visiting Iran at the time. This was not the first time they have been targeted by the Iranian authorities. Asadollahi was arrested on 1 May 2019 at a gathering celebrating International Workers’ Day and sentenced to 1-year imprisonment, of which 6 months were suspended
and 74 lashes for “disturbing the public order”. Mohtadi was previously arrested on 11 December 2018 for his membership in the “Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company”.
To read the full letter and access signatories please click here.
Note to editors:
For more information, please contact Mina Thabet, MENA Regional Coordinator, at PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, Unit A, 162-164 Abbey St, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: Mina.Thabet@pen-international.org