Day of the Imprisoned Writer: Marina Nemat writes to Nasrin Sotoudeh

By | November 15, 2018 at 11:35 am | No comments | News

For PEN’s 2018 Day of the Imprisoned Writer, we asked PEN members and supporters to send a message to a jailed writer. Marina Nemat, Chair of our centre’s Writers in Exile Committee, is the author of two memoirs about growing up in Iran, her incarceration in Evin Prison for speaking out against the Iranian government, and escaping a death sentence to flee Iran for a new life in Canada.  

Nasrin Sotoudeh is a leading advocate of women’s and children’s rights in Iran. In September 2010, after police raided her home and office, she was charged with “propaganda against the state.” Four months later she was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “acting against national security” and “violating the Islamic dress code (Hijab) in a filmed speech.” Sotoudeh held several hunger strikes to protest her ill treatment inside Evin prison. In September 2013 she was one of a small group of political prisoners released shortly before Iran’s newly elected President, Hassan Rouhani, visited the UN General Assembly.

In June 2018, Sotoudeh was arrested and advised that she would be serving a five-year sentence at Tehran’s Evin prison after being convicted in absentia. In October 2018 her husband Reza Khandan, was charged with national security crimes for supporting his wife’s work to allow Iranian women to appear in public without a hijab.

Dear Nasrin Sotoudeh,

We have not forgotten you. In 1981, my classmate, Shanoush Bezadi, was executed in Evin at the age of 15.

You have taken a stand for all Iranian women.

Don’t lose hope. You are standing tall.

Marina Nemat

Canadian-Iranian writer.


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