Faraj Sarkouhi

oil on canvas
40" x 30"
3,000 (unframed)
Faraj Sarkouhi

IRAN: Faraj Sarkouhi, former editor-in-chief of the Iranian socioliterary journal Adineh, was detained in November 1996 with no public disclosure of his whereabouts. Following inquiries from groups such as the international fellowship of writers, PEN, he reappeared after seven weeks of intensive interrogation that included beatings and death threats. Arrested again in late January 1997, he was held for nine months before being convicted at trial of "slandering the Islamic Republic" and sentenced to one year in prison. Requests by Amnesty International to send a delegate to observe the proceedings were denied by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, as similar requests by the group to enter Iran for fact-finding, trial observations, and government talks have been denied since 1979. In 2000, 30 publications were ordered closed or suspended, and at least 34 journalists, writers, and activists were detained by police or sentenced to prison terms. Faraj Sarkouhi and other signatories of the "1994 Declaration of 134 Iranian Writers," calling for freedom of expression and an end to literary censorship in Iran, remain enduring figures of journalistic freedom to these and other writers in facing persecution in Iran.