Iranian Writers Protest Repression

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by Abbas Djavadi

The Iranian Writers’ Association has issued a statement protesting repression and persecution against “different groups of the Iranian society” in the recent months.

The report, dated February 23, notes that “in the last few months, along with the deterioration of economic and social conditions in Iran, a new wave of censorship, bans, citations to security offices, detention, arrests, and imprisonments as well as an increasing number of executions was observed in response to the worsening consequences of the social and economic crisis.”

The Association also criticizes the destruction of the Khavaran cemetery in Tehran, with hundreds of mass and individual graves of dissidents executed in the 1980s. The statement says the destruction of the cemetery is aimed at destroying the evidence of the “past crimes” and demands that the cemetery be turned over to the families of the dead and made available for investigation by a “just and fair” court process.

Touching on the situation of the print media, the statement of the Iranian Writers’ Association says that in the last few months the censorship of books, cancellation of publishing houses’ licences, filtering of web sites and blogs, and persecution of web users and writers has increased.

“Censorship of films and theatre pieces used to be mainly practiced by withdrawing of licenses. Now, the censorship forces the artists to produce movies and theatre pieces in English language” to bypass censorship.

“Genres like poetry, short story, and novel have been pressured to an extent that publishing houses and cultural institutions have been unable to choose their books of the year.”

The source also names dozens of writers and poets such as Mahmoud Dowlatabadi and Nasser Zarafshan who were questioned and put under pressure for hours, detained without any charges, or imprisoned.

“Many more, especially those who are less famous, were persecuted without much publicity and were exposed to harsh methods of arrest and imprisonment.”

The statement notes that pressure against students, workers, and religious minorities considerably increased in the last few months.

[Reposted with permission. Original at: http://www.djavadi.net/2009/02/25/iranian-writers-protest-repression/]

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