Iranian journalist Jila Baniyaghoub's 30-year writing ban

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mr. Bahram Ghasemi
Chargé d'Affaires of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Canada
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Canada
245 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2K2

March 7, 2011

Dear Mr. Bahram Ghasemi,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is concerned by the one-year prison sentence and 30-year writing ban imposed on Iranian journalist Jila Baniyaghoub.

On June 20, 2009, Baniyaghoub and her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amoyee, were arrested at their home during the weeks of protests that followed the disputed presidential elections. She was released on bail a month later. In June 2010, the Revolutionary Court of Iran sentenced her to one year’s imprisonment and imposed a 30-year writing ban for propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Her crime was writing for reformist newspapers and collecting signatures for the One Million Signatures Petition, which called for equal rights for women.

Baniyaghoub is a veteran journalist, editor and writer who has been published in both government and reformist newspapers. She has been a target of arrests and intimidation since June 2006 for her work in journalism and women’s rights activism. With 34 imprisoned journalists in Iran as of December 2010, Iran has become one of the worst jailers of journalists. Given that she has acted within the Constitutional laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran and has written for newspapers published with government permission, she has not committed a criminal offense.

CJFE calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to reconsider the charges against her and to uphold the rights of its journalists, including the right to freedom of expression.

Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: Mr. Dennis Horak, Chargé d'Affaires at the Embassy of Canada to Iran in Tehran
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs