IRAN: Release Writer and Film Producer Mostafa Azizi


 
IRAN: Release Writer and Film Producer Mostafa Azizi

Mostafa Azizi

Writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi was arrested on February 1, 2015, and convicted of national security-related offenses by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran and sentenced to eight years in prison. Though no further details have been offered by Iranian authorities, the charges apparently stem from Azizi peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, including posting on Facebook and other social media sites.

PEN Center USA joins PEN International in urging the international diplomatic community to continue to press Iran on its widespread abuse of human rights, and to demand that Azizi be released and the unfounded charges against him be dropped immediately and without condition.


Please SHARE this story on social media using the hashtag #MostafaAzizi, in an effort to increase public awareness:
 

Please SIGN the petition at the bottom of this page to join PEN's appeal to the Iranian authorities:
  • Protesting the conviction and sentencing of writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi on charges of “gathering and colluding against national security” (five years imprisonment), “insulting the Supreme Leader” (two years imprisonment), and “Acting against national security in cyberspace” (one year imprisonment), on June 8, 2015;
  • Expressing serious concern about the detention of writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi feared to be held solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression;
  • Expressing serious concerns for his well-being in detention, urging that he be protected from torture or other ill treatment and calling for him to be granted full access to all necessary medical care;
  • Calling for him to be released immediately and unconditionally if—as appears—he is held solely in connection with his writings on social media.

Background

Mostafa Azizi is the author of a book of short stories entitled My Name is Raymond Carver, and is a well-known screenwriter and television producer, who has lived in Canada for the last four years. He is the former chair of the Iranian chapter of the International Animated Film Festival.

Azizi returned to Iran in December 2014 to visit his father following news reports that the government would be lenient to those who chose to return to the country. However, according to family members, Azizi was arrested on February 1, 2015, after he received a summons.

Azizi was reportedly charged with “insulting the Supreme Leader,” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” “spreading propaganda against the system,” and “gathering and colluding against national security.” Charges thought to be connected to posts he made on his personal social media pages prior to his arrival in Iran. A prominent figure in the Iranian community within Canada, Azizi has over 1,000 followers on social media.

His trial began on June 1, 2015, at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. One week later, on June 8, 2015, Azizi was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison: five years for “gathering and colluding against national security”; two years in prison for “insulting the Supreme Leader”; and one year in prison for “acting against national security by spreading propaganda against the system in cyberspace.” He is reported to have appealed the court’s decision and has requested release on bail pending his appeal.

He was held for the first 33 days of his detention in Section 2A of Evin Prison, which is under the administration of the Intelligence Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, where he was held in solitary confinement for 14 days without access to his family or a lawyer. Following his interrogation, Azizi was transferred to Section 8 of Evin Prison, a section believed to be extremely overcrowded.

Azizi suffers from several pre-existing health conditions including asthma, diabetes, rheumatism, which are believed to be being exacerbated by the prison conditions.


Please SHARE this story on social media using the hashtag #MostafaAzizi, in an effort to increase public awareness:
 

Please SIGN the petition at the bottom of this page to join PEN's appeal to the Iranian authorities, calling for them to drop all charges against writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi, and to release him unconditionally.


 
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