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Jailed Iranian Writer Couple Must be Released, Say 700 Activists

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Writers Anisha Asadollahi and her husband Keyvan Mohtadi “do not belong in prison” more than 700 activists have said in a letter calling for the couple’s release.

The two members of the Iranian Writers Association were arrested in May 2022 on charges of “conspiracy and collusion” against national security.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, union, cultural, and political activists stated: “Keyvan Mohtadi and Anisha Asadollahi are caring and thoughtful individuals who do not belong in prison.”

Parastoo Foruhar, artist and writer; Keyvan Samimi, political activist; Esmaeel Abdi, member of teachers union; Mehrangiz Kar, women’s rights activist; Reza Khandan Mahabadi, writer and Fereshteh Molavi, translator; are among the signatories.

Asadollahi was sentenced to five years and eight months and Mohtadi to six years in prison.

Despite two years having passed since his arrest, Mohtadi has been denied parole. Asadollahi was temporarily released in August 2022, but returned to Evin prison a year later.

According to the 2023 Freedom to Write Index, Iran retained its position as the second most imprisoned country, following China.

PEN America published its latest report last week, which found that Iranian authorities continue to detain Iranian authors, many of whom are associated with the Woman Life Freedom Movement of 2022.

In September 2022, the regime’s crackdown on the Woman Life Freedom movement, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, resulted in the deaths of at least 550 Iranians, as well as the arrest of tens of thousands, including scores of journalists.