February 4, 1997

The Islamic Republic Arrests Faraj Sarkuhi

Washington, D.C. -- On January 27, 1997, the Islamic Republic arrested prominent Iranian writer Faraj Sarkuhi and his brother Ismail. Despite numerous requests from international human rights organizations and several governments to obtain information about Faraj and Ismail Sarkuhi, the clerical regime has not revealed their whereabouts.

The mullahs had previously abducted Faraj Sarkuhi at Tehran Airport on November 3, 1996, when he planned to travel to Germany to join his wife and children. When Sarkuhi's family and international organizations asked the Islamic Republic about his whereabouts, the mullahs claimed that he had traveled to Germany. The regime insisted that Sarkuhi wasn't in Iran, despite the fact that Germany had no indication that he had entered Germany.

The mullahs held Sarkuhi incommunicado until December 20, when he was forced to meet with reporters at Tehran Airport to recite a bizarre story that the mullahs had dictated to him.

Before his arrest on January 27, Sarkuhi, the editor of Adineh magazine, wrote a detailed letter about his abduction by the Islamic Republic on November 3, and the severe pressure that the mullahs exerted on him to sign false statements. In the letter, which has been published in European newspapers, he indicates that the regime filmed interviews with him, and he was coerced to make false statements under duress.

Sarkuhi was among 134 writers who signed an open letter in 1994 which called for an end to censorship in Iran. The writers who signed the letter have been threatened to withdraw their signatures, and several of them have died in suspicious circumstances.

We are extremely concerned that the mullahs may have decided to murder Sarkuhi just as they killed prominent Iranian writer Ali Akbar Saidi-Sirjani in 1994 in order to intimidate other dissidents who are striving for human rights. CMI urges all individuals, organizations, and governments that are interested in human rights to compel the Islamic Republic to release Sarkuhi and all other political prisoners, and cease its campaign to repress pro-democracy Iranians.

The Constitutionalists Movement of Iran is a political organization, striving to bring freedom, democracy, and the rule of law to Iran.

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