We transmit a manifesto made from the International PEN Congress held this year in Uppsala, Sweden, in which PEN Català has participated:

PEN International 88th Congress: a message of support to the women and people in Iran

Jina Mahsa Amini is a 22- year-old Kurdish woman whose violent death following her detention by Iran’s “morality police” has sparked continuing mass protests across Iran.

Mahsa was arrested on September 16 in Tehran for not wearing the hijab properly. According to witnesses and media reports, she was beaten in a detention van, an allegation the police deny. In hospital, she went into a coma and died four days later.

The police maintain that Mahsa suffered a heart attack, an account that is not accepted by her family.

When her body was taken to her hometown Saqqez, people were waiting to support the family at the funeral. This gathering was the starting point for the mass protests across Iran. Protesters gathered in the streets carrying posters and shouting slogans such as “Woman, Life, Freedom”and “Down with the Dictator!”

The regime has brutally attacked protesters; unofficial reports claim many people have been killed or injured and thousands arrested.

For the past four decades, Iran’s Islamic regime has maintained its grip on the country through mass killing, torture, imprisonments, censorship and banning freedom in its many forms. Political activists, writers, poets, artists, workers, teachers, and students have been arrested, tortured, and killed.

We, the members of PEN International at this Congress, strongly condemn the brutality of the regime and stand shoulder to shoulder with the people in Iran in solidarity in their fight for freedom and a better future without tyranny and dictatorship.

Zoë Rodriguez

Chair, PEN International Women Writers Committee