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Writer and student leader Amin Ghazaei detained, fears of ill-treatment and health concerns

(WiPC/IFEX) - The WiPC of International PEN is seriously concerned about the detention of writer and activist Amin Ghazaei, who has been held incommunicado without charge since 14 January 2008. He is among scores of student activists to have been detained in December 2007 and Janaury 2008. WiPC fears that he may be detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression.

According to PEN's information, Ghazaei, who is also the leader of the group Students for Freedom and Equality (Daneshjouyan-e Azadi Khah va Beraber Talab), was arrested in Tehran on 14 January by Intelligence Ministry officers along with 14 other students at a meeting, in what appears to be a worrying pattern of recent arrests of student activists. He is reported to be held without charge in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison, and to have been tortured. There is concern for his health as he reportedly suffers from a peptic ulcer, heart problems, and asthma.

Ghazaei's home was reportedly searched on 15 January by the police who confiscated his computer and all of his papers. He has been allowed one short telephone conversation with his family in the presence of guards, but otherwise has not been allowed access to his family or a lawyer.

Ghazaei was born in 1979 and is known for his many articles published on-line on topics such as gender identity. The websites he has written for include and . He is the chief editor of the electronic journal "ArtCult" and has his own web-log ( ). He has also translated some banned books into Farsi, including "Gender Trouble" (Judith Butler), "Seduction" (Jean Baudrillard), and "Cyborg Manifesto" (Donna Haraway), which have been published either on the web or by an Iranian publisher in Europe. He has also published two collections of writings, "Hich Ettefagh" (Nothing Happening) and "Haghighat" (Truth), and has co-authored the anthology "Honar-e Mossalah" (Armed Art). None of his works have been submitted for publication inside Iran.

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