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PEN International is deeply concerned for the health of Kurdish Iranian journalist and writer Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand. Kabudvand began a hunger strike on 8 May 2016 in protest at his continued imprisonment and the possibility of new charges being brought against him. Having been admitted to hospital on 22 May after falling unconscious he was returned to prison on 5 June 2016. Kabudvand, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for ‘acting against national security by forming and managing an illegal organisation (the Kurdistan Human Rights Organisation)’, suffers from several health problems – including heart and kidney disease, and an enlarged prostate – all of which have been exacerbated by previous periods of hunger strike. PEN International calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure that Kabudvand receives all necessary medical attention. PEN considers Kabudvand to be imprisoned for his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, and continues to call for his immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.
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§ Expressing grave concern for the health and welfare of journalist and writer Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, and demanding that he is given all necessary medical attention as a matter of urgency;
§ Calling on the Iranian authorities to quash all convictions and drop any fresh charges against Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand and release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;
· Urging the Iranian authorities to ensure that the right to freedom of expression in Iran is fully respected in law and practice as provided for under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency
Head of the Judiciary AyatollahSadegh Larijani
c/o Public Relations Office Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi Above Pasteur Intersection Vali Asr Street Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammed Javad Larijani c/o Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)
Kabudvand is an Honorary Member of Austrian PEN, PEN Català, Swedish PEN and Sydney PEN. In 2008, he was one of PEN’s emblematic cases for the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. He is the recipient of a Hellman/Hammett grant (2009) and the British Press Award for international journalist of the year (2009). Kabudvand has previously been targeted by the authorities for his critical writings and activism. The weekly newspaper which he edited, Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan (Kurdistan People’s Message), published in Kurdish and Farsi, was banned on 27 June 2004 after just 13 issues for ‘disseminating separatist ideas and publishing false reports’. On 18 August 2005 Kabudvand was convicted of ‘disseminating tribal issues and publishing provocative articles’ and ‘spreading lies with the intention of upsetting public opinion’ by a revolutionary court in Sanandaj and handed down an 18-month suspended sentence and a five-year ban on working as a journalist. Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has reportedly written two books on democracy and a third on the women’s movement in Iran, which were not given publishing licenses.