12 June 2015 – RAN 09/15
Iran: release writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi
Writer and film producer Mostafa Azizi was arrested on 1 February 2015 and convicted of national security-related offences 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 International is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
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Please send appeals:
- 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 8 June 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.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic of Iran.
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Islamic Republic of Iran.
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: media [at] rouhani [dot] ir
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian)
Mostafa Azizi is the author of a book of short stories entitled, My Name is Raymond Carver, and is a well-known screen-writer 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 1 February 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 1 June 2015 at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. One week later, on 8 June 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.