Writers in prison - Amir Abbas Fakhravar

On 4 February 2003, Amir Abbas Fakhravar, a journalist and medical student serving an eight-year prison sentence for criticising Iran's supreme leadership in his book This Place is Not a Ditch, wrote, with fellow prisoner Ahmed Batebi, an open letter to the authorities. The letter stated: "We want to enjoy life with the rest of humanity and share their sorrows. We express our dedication to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, universal peace, non-violence, environmental protection, permanent progress, and all the other noble covenants sanctioned by mankind . . ."

Returned to court as a result of this declaration, Fakhravar was severely beaten and then sent back to prison, where he is still being held. Although he remains severely injured from the beating he received, he is denied medical treatment. Members of his family who campaign on his behalf are either harassed or face arrest.

Appeals on his behalf can be sent to:

His Excellency Hojjatoleslam Sayed Mohammad Khatami

c/o His Excellency Morteza Sarmadi

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

16 Prince's Gate



Fax: 020 7589 4440

Moris Farhi

Former chair of International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee and a member of English PEN's Writers in Prison Committee

This article first appeared in the 09 February 2004 issue of the New Statesman, Those WMDs - The blame game