Well-known singer and lyricist Mona Bourzei first rose to prominence in 2003 with the hit song “My Tear”.
(NEW YORK) – PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) today condemned the arrest of Iranian musician and poet Mona Borzouei, who was arrested September 28 by Iranian security forces for read a poem in support of the Mahsa Amini protests.
Bourzei was arrested after recording and uploading a video of herself reading her own poem, apparently in support of protests that have swept the country in recent weeks following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman. Iranian. Iranian authorities responded aggressively to the mass protests, arresting around 1,500 protesters, while at least 150 people were killed.
Julie Trébault, Director of ARC, said: “Today our thoughts are with Mona Borzouei, who was cruelly detained simply for sharing a poem with her fellow Iranians. We call for his immediate release and urge the Iranian government to respect the freedom of expression and human rights of other courageous Iranian artists who have stood firm for their vision of a freer Iran. At times like these, it reminds us of the tremendous power of music to motivate and mobilize people. The arrests of Borzouei and others like her who face criminal sanctions violate Iran’s international commitments to respect freedom of expression and human rights.
Bourzei is a well-known Iranian singer and songwriter who rose to prominence after her song “My Tear” became a hit across Iran in 2003. In the video, she read a verse from a poem that declared, “We will take back this homeland from your hands.” His fate or condition is currently unknown.
Iran is among the top five countries in PEN America’s Freedom to Write Index, which provides an annual tally of imprisoned writers around the world. Writers in Iran are arbitrarily detained, convicted and imprisoned while authorities use extrajudicial tactics, including surveillance and threats, to punish and retaliate against them, and to suppress freedom of expression in literary spaces , artistic and public inside and outside the country.
Scores of writers and dissenting voices were arrested in Iran last week as protests escalated against longstanding restraints on freedom of expression. To learn more about PEN America’s work on Iran, click here.
About the Artists at Risk Login
PEN America runs Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a program dedicated to helping artists at risk and strengthening the scope of organizations that support them. If you or someone you know is an artist at risk, contact ARC.
About PEN America
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and around the world. We defend the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the freedoms that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.
Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057