Free Kian: Appeal by over 3,300 members of the PEN association

By , July 24, 2009 7:34 am

The PEN Association called for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh. The text of the appeal is shown below:

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,300 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our deep concern regarding the arrest of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh.

According to our information, Kian Tajbakhsh, a prominent Iranian-American social scientist and urban planner who has published two books and numerous articles in his field, was taken from his home by the state security forces on the night of July 9, 2009. Police reportedly searched his home and confiscated his computer. To date, his family has no information on his whereabouts or the reasons for his detention. He was not a participant in the recent protests following the disputed June 12, 2009 presidential elections.

This is not the first time Kian Tajbakhsh has been targeted by authorities. He was detained without charge in May 2007 and held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison until September of the same year. That detention sparked international protests as well.

PEN American Center is deeply concerned that Kian Tajbakhsh has been swept up in a crackdown on peaceful scholars and journalists following the disputed presidential elections in violation of their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. We therefore call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all other writers, scholars, journalists and students held in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

Thank you for your attention to this serious matter.

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