Two years after the mass demonstrations in protest against the results of the 10th presidential election in 2009, the Iranian government crackdown on independent voices inside Iran is still in force.

Imprisonment, the threat of prosecution, and harassment have become part of daily life for independent writers, journalists, filmmakers and human rights activists.

Censorship of books in Iran is more widespread and severe than ever.

PEN International is alarmed by the increasing and widespread violations of the right to freedom of expression in Iran.

Nasrin Sotoudeh (

PEN is also troubled by the arrest and 11-year prison sentence handed down to lawyer, writer and human rights advocate Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is accused of “spreading lies against the regime”. Nasrin Sotoudeh, the award winner of 2011 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write award, has been imprisoned solely for exercising her right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.

There are many other cases of concern to PEN International in Iran, including those of film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof who have been sentenced to six years in prison for criticism of the government of Iran.

Jafar Panahi

Book censorship was rife at the 24th International Book fair in Tehran in May 2011.

PEN is also alarmed by the continued persecution through harassment, arbitraray detention and flawed trials carried out against Kurdish and other minority writers, journalists and political prisoners.

PEN International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all journalists and all human rights and women’s rights activists who have been arrested in Iran in violation of Article 19.

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