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Baktash Abtin

HRD, writer & film maker

Baktash Abtin is a human rights defender, film director and a member of the Iranian Writers’ Association (IWA), which aims to promote freedom of speech and denounce censorship in Iran, and has published numerous books on history, sociology and literary criticism. On 15 May 2019, Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Baktash Abtin to five years’ imprisonment on charges of “illegal assembly and collusion against national security” and one year for “spreading propaganda against the state”, in relation to his joint authorship of a book on the history of the IWA, which has been critical of successive Iranian governments for decades, and visiting the graves of dissident poets and writers. He began serving his six-year sentence on 26 September 2020.

Human rights defenders and journalists are arrested, detained and prosecuted in unfair trials. HRDs continue to receive death threats and are subjected to harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention. They are refused bail or receive extreme bail conditions. HRDs are additionally subjected to systematic surveillance and their family members are targeted. Journalists have been subjected to flogging for criticising the government. Judicial harassment is one of the most common tactic used to silence HRDs and independent voices.