Date: Mar 5, 1998 [ 0: 0: 0]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1998

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1998
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There is one message totalling 85 lines in this issue.

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 00:10:45 -0500
From: Rahim Bajoghli <rbajoghli@JUNO.COM>


Date: March 2, 1998


Dear Colleagues,

I am honored by the honorary membership of P.E.N. As a member of
your esteemed institute, I like to mention that when in prison, I was not
aware of all the world-wide efforts to protect me, to secure my release,
to defend the right of Iranian writer, and freedom of expression in Iran.
Since the news of these efforts were not covered by the public media in
Iran, I still know very little about it.

I take the liberty of asking PEN to send this letter of my sincere
appreciation and thanks to all the individuals and organizations who took
part in this campaign. I also appreciate if this letter is given to the
mass media, who can offer my thanks to the public. I will be indebted to
your organization for this great favor.

A beautiful and promising manifestation of solidarity and consensus by
those who value freedom of expression, thought, cultural creativeness,
and human dignity has been evident in the world-wide outcry against
repression of those writer, including me, who during last decade, and
specially after the publication of anti-censorship declaration of 134
Iranian writers in 1994 experience hardship in Iran.

I definitely owe my life and my release from prison to the efforts of
many individuals, organizations, institutions, and public media,
specially different branches of PEN.

I like to take this occasion to express my deepest gratitude to the
public, and all of those organizations, newspapers, periodicals, and
human rights organizations, as well as great writers, journalists, and
all humanists and writers of my own country, who together were
instrumental in my release from prison and defended freedom of expression
and thought, cultural development of human society, and creative exchange
of thought between diverse cultures.

Since I do not know the name of all those who contribute to this campaign
I express my general thanks to all individuals. These efforts not only
saved my life but brought to the attention of the world the difficult
condition of the environment in which the Iranian writers and
intellectuals live and write.

In my case it was the human conscience which saved the life of a writer
whose sole crime was to express his views, to believe in magical strength
inherent in all words, and finally to talk about the voices which were
not allowed to be heard.

After experiencing a very difficult time in recent years, I was sentenced
to one year of prison on the charges of propaganda against Islamic
Republic of Iran. Thank to the efforts of those I mentioned above, I have
been eventually released.

However, my situation is not clear yet. I have no passport and cannot
travel aboard. I do not know whether my works will be allowed to be
published in Iran or not. But like any other writer, I live with the hope
to see a day when every human being can express his opines and ideas
freely without fear of reprisal. This is the only way for the
flourishment of human culture.

In the end, it is my greatest desire to be able to express my sincere
thanks some day in person. Until then, if ever, I hope this letter will
be accepted from me as my expression of gratitude and congratulation.

Faraj Sarkouhi

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Mar 1998