10 February 1998


Editor Morteza Firouzi in imminent danger of execution

Incident details

Morteza Firouzi


(WiPC/IFEX) -Morteza Firouzi, editor of the English-language daily "Iran
News", was sentenced to death in January on charges of espionage. His
appeal has reportedly now been rejected by the Supreme Court and he may be
hanged in the next few days. Only a commutation issued by Iran's leader may
save him.

**Update to IFEX alerts of 10 November 1997, 14 November 1997 and 29 January

The WiPC is still seeking clarification around the facts of Firouzi's case.
Amnesty International regards him as a possible "prisoner of conscience" and
there is mounting concern that his arrest and sentencing may be politically
motivated. In the absence of any information about the circumstances of
Firouzi's trial, the WiPC is gravely concerned that due process was denied
him, that he is facing imminent execution on charges that have not been
substantiated in an open and fair legal process and that his conviction may
be an attempt to silence both him and other members of the press.

Background Information

Firouzi, a political analyst, founded the "Iran News" three years ago. It
has become a respected newspaper, widely read by foreign diplomats and
others. He was arrested in May or June 1997, and held for several weeks
incommunicado, during which time his family was not informed of his
whereabouts. In October 1997 it was reported in the Iranian press that he
was being held on espionage charges. One report said he was accused of
spying for "an eastern country", another that he had spied for the United
States of America. On January 28, 1998, the official Iranian news agency
announced that he had been sentenced to death.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • urging them to commute Firouzi's sentence
  • appealing to them to release him if he is indeed being held solely for
    his non-violent activities

    Appeals To

    His Excellency
    Hojjatoleslam val-moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatemi
    President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
    The Presidency
    Palestine Avenue
    Azerbaijan Intersection
    Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
    Fax: + 98 21 674-790 (via Foreign Affairs, ask for
    fax to be forwarded)

    His Excellency Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi
    Head of the Judiciary
    Ministry of Justice
    Park-e Shahr
    Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.
    Fax: +98 21 646 5242

    Copies of your appeals should be sent to the
    diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    International PEN
    Writers in Prison Committee
    International PEN
    Brownlow House
    50-51 High Holborn
    London WC1V 6ER
    United Kingdom
    wipc (@) internationalpen.org.uk
    Fax:+ 44 0 20 74050339
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