Iranian writer freed

The writer and journalist Javad Mahzadeh was granted prison leave last week. He was arrested for an unknown reason on 21 October 2009 and spent most of his time in detention in Evin Prison’s Block 350. He was released after 11 months in detention. He was sentenced to four years by the court of first instance and the sentence was upheld by the appeals court. Mahzadeh had asked the prison authorities for prison leave on numerous occasions, but his requests had been rejected. He is now out on prison leave on payment of bail of 400m tomans [400,000 dollars].

Index published an extract from Javad Mahzadeh’s acclaimed novel Take Away My Laughter earlier this year. In a moving introduction, the writer Azar Mahloujian commented: “Writers have never been secure in Iran. Censorship, bans on publishing, arrest and murder await those whose words penetrate the surface, disclosing what is false and pointing out the lack of political and civil liberties in the country.”