News & Views
PEN calls for the immediate release of Hojatoleslam Sa'idzadeh
His Excellency Hojatoleslam val-moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
August 8, 1998
We write to you today about our colleague, prominent writer and legal scholar, Hojatoleslam Mohsen Sa'idzadeh who was arrested on June 30, 1998, and has remained in jail ever since. We believe that his incarceration is linked to his reformist views and writings in general, and his views pertaining to women's rights in particular. Having already spent more than a month incarcerated, he continues to be held incommunicado in Tehran. Trained at Qom Judicial College as an Islamic legal scholar, Hojatoleslam Sa'idzadeh served as a judge until 1986 at which point he resumed his legal studies. His recent prominence derives from his advocacy of the equality of men and women before the Islamic law. The numerous papers, articles and books he has authored include a paper titled Women in Islamic Law which he presented at the University of London in 1995.
According to the available information, Hojatoleslam Sa'idzadeh was apprehended at his home by three plainclothes security officers who failed to produce an arrest warrant. The officers simply referred to a controversial article he wrote on the subject of Islamic law in a recent issue of the now defunct Jameah.
We at PEN call for the immediate and unconditional release of Hojatoleslam Sa'idzadeh. In this matter, we ask for your personal intervention. In so doing, you will demonstrate your commitment to freedom of expression for Iranians. By upholding this individual's inalienable right to freedom of expression, you will also show your respect for international human rights standards.
Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your response by fax or letter.
Anthony Appiah Chair,
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