03.05.2018, 19:30 Uhr – (German) PEN-Fellow Can Dündar diskutiert in Gießen über Pressefreiheit und Menschenrechte in der Türkei

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Iran: poet released after enforced disappearance and torture

Update RAN 01/18
28 March 2018
PEN International welcomes the release of poet Mohammad Bamm on 19 March 2018. Bamm was arrested by members of the Iranian security forces on 31 December 2017 before being subjected to an enforced disappearance period during which he was tortured. For the first 28 days, Bamm was held in solitary confinement in Ahvaz Prison before being transferred to the public section of the prison. He was denied access to his lawyer or his family.
Bamm has been accused of causing harm to public order and security, participating in the leadership of illegal demonstrations and inciting people to take part in them, and insulting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Bamm has been released on bail of 200 billion Iranian rial (about $60000.00). No date has yet been fixed for the next hearing.
PEN International will continue to closely monitor Bamm?s case, and calls for any charges against him solely relating to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association to be dropped. PEN International also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all other activists currently detained in Iran in connection with the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly.  These rights are protected by Articles 9, 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.
Take Action: Share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media
Please send appeals:
·         Welcoming the release of poet Mohammad Bamm, and calling for all charges against him solely related to the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression or association to be dropped;
·         Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all other writers currently detained in Iran solely in connection with the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly, in accordance with Articles 9,19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.
Appeals to:
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Grand Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?…
Twitter: @khamenei_ir English-language account), @Khamenei_ar (Arabic-language), @Khamenei_es (Spanish-language account).
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi ? Vali Asr Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: media [at] rouhani [dot] ir
http://rouhani.ir/register.php
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
@Rouhani_ir (Persian)
And copy to the Embassy of Iran in your country. You can find embassy addresses here.
Please inform PEN of any action you take, and of any responses you receive.
Background
Poet Mohammad Bamm was arrested by members of the Iranian security forces on 31 December 2017 while on his way home in the city of Abadan, Iran. Bamm was previously detained in 2017 on politically-motivated charges which are “propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran” and “blasphemy”. For more information, see our previous action on this case here.

*Ecuador: journalists abducted on the border with Colombia*

The abduction of three employees of daily newspaper /El Comercio – /including a reporter and photographer – on the border between Colombia and Ecuador is deeply concerning, said PEN International today.

The disappearance of the journalists on 26 March was confirmed by Ecuadorian Minister of the Interior, César Navas, who said. “Three employees of /El Comercio/ were kidnapped yesterday. This occurred in the early hours of the morning in the parish of Mataje, San Lorenzo administrative region, Esmeraldas province.”

The journalists – whose names have not been revealed for security reasons – were carrying out their work as journalists in the area, where the Ecuadorian armed forces are carrying out an offensive against dissident elements of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

According to widespread media reports, a wave of violence has been spreading across the area since January 2018 due in part to the peace process in Colombia and drug trafficking.

PEN International calls on the authorities of both countries to safeguard the security, freedom of expression and peace of its citizens and journalists, and to act swiftly to secure the release of the three journalists.

Equatorial Guinea: Artist Freed from Prison

Officer Admits Superiors Ordered Dubious Charges

(Nairobi, 7 March 2018) – An Equatorial Guinean court on 7 March 2018 released an artist imprisoned on dubious charges for nearly six months, 18 human rights groups said today. The prosecution dropped all charges against Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist whose work is often critical of the government, at his 27 February trial after the police officer who had accused him of counterfeiting $1,800 of local currency admitted making the accusation based on orders from his superiors.

“It is a huge relief that the prosecution dropped its charges against Ramon, but they should never have been pressed in the first place,” said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers-in-Prison Committee. “We urge the authorities to guarantee his safe return to his family, allow him to continue creating his hard-hitting cartoons, and ensure that Equatorial Guinea respects the right to freedom of expression.”

The global #FreeNseRamon coalition, consisting of hundreds of artists, activists, and organizations devoted to protecting artistic freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights, carried out a campaign to direct international attention to his situation.

“Ramon’s release from prison is a testament of the power of collective work of hundreds of artists, concerned citizens, and NGOs,” said Tutu Alicante, director of EG Justice, which promotes human rights in Equatorial Guinea. “But we must not forget that dozens of government opponents who are not as fortunate fill Equatorial Guinea’s jails; thus, the fight against human rights violations and impunity must continue.”

Esono Ebalé, who lives outside of his native Equatorial Guinea, was arrested on 16 September 2017, while visiting the country to request a new passport. Police interrogated him about drawings critical of the government, said two Spanish friends who were arrested and interrogated alongside him and were later released.

But a news report broadcast on a government-owned television channel a few days after the arrest claimed that police had found 1 million Central African francs in the car Esono Ebalé was driving. On 7 December, he was formally accused of counterfeiting. The charge sheet alleged that a police officer, acting on a tip, had asked him to exchange large bills and received counterfeit notes in return.

“Equatorial Guinea’s government has a long record of harassing and persecuting its critics,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Ramon’s release is an important victory against repression.”

At the trial on 27 February in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea’s capital, it became clear that the police officer who had made the accusations had no personal knowledge of Esono Ebalé’s involvement in the alleged crime, according to his lawyer and another person present at the trial. After offering details that conflicted with the official account, the officer admitted that he had acted on orders of his superiors, they said. The prosecution then withdrew the charges.

“We are delighted that Ramón was acquitted and is finally free,” said Angela Quintal, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists. “The fact that the state’s main witness recanted, underscores the point that authorities manufactured the charges in the first place. Ramon should never have spent a single day behind bars and we trust that he will not be subjected to any further reprisal.”

The human rights groups are Amnesty International, Arterial Network, Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Asociación Profesional de Ilustradores de Madrid, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Cartooning for Peace, Committee to Protect Journalists, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason, Doughty Street Chambers, UK, EG Justice, FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Freemuse, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, PEN America, PEN International, Reporters without Borders, Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

“Now that Ramon has been released, the authorities must launch a thorough and effective investigation into whether the charges against him were fabricated, and ensure that the criminal justice system is no longer misused to target and harass human rights defenders,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Equatorial Guinea.

Iran: arrest followed by an enforced disappearance of poet

RAN 01/18 – 22 January 2018

PEN International condemns the enforced disappearance of poet Mohammad  Bamm who was arrested by members of the Iranian security forces on 31  December 2017 while on his way home in the city of Abadan, Iran. Bamm  was arrested along with his friend who was released after a short  time. To date, Bamm is still being detained incommunicado with no  access to his lawyer or his family. Bamm was previously detained in  2017 on politically-motivated charges which are “propaganda against  the Islamic Republic of Iran” and “blasphemy”.

PEN is deeply concerned about Bamm’s safety and physical integrity,  and believes that his detention and the charges against him are solely  related to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of  expression. PEN calls for the full respect of Bamm’s rights as a  detainee and to unconditionally release him. PEN also calls for the  immediate and unconditional release of all other writers currently  detained in Iran in connection with the peaceful exercise of their  right to freedom of expression and assembly, in accordance with  Articles 9, 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and  Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.

TAKE ACTION: Share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media

Please send appeals:
§  Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of poet Mohammad Bamm;
§  Urging the Iranian authorities to ensure that he has full access to  family visits, legal representation and adequate medical care whilst  detained;
§  Urging them to end the prosecution and drop all charges against Bamm;
§  Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all other  writers currently detained in Iran solely in connection with the  peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly.
Appeals to:

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Grand Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street — End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?…
Twitter: @khamenei_ir English-language account), @Khamenei_ar  (Arabic-language), @Khamenei_es (Spanish-language account).

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi – Vali Asr Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: media [at] rouhani [dot] ir
http://rouhani.ir/register.php
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
@Rouhani_ir (Persian)