Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Abtin, who was jailed for security charges, was a joint winner of the 2021 PEN / Barbey Freedom to Write Award.

Tehran, Iran – Iranian poet and filmmaker Baktash Abtin, who was jailed on security charges, died at a Tehran hospital after contracting COVID-19.

The 48-year-old was transferred to a hospital from the Jail of the house mid-December and was placed in a medically induced coma on Saturday a week before his death in an attempt to help him recover from a severe coronavirus case.

Legal groups claimed that authorities were wasting time offering him medical help when he first started showing symptoms of the disease more than a month ago.

In a joint letter Published Friday, PEN America and 18 other non-governmental organizations have asked Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to provide him with the best medical care, and also to refrain from inviting political prisoners to serve sentences while conditions in Iranian prisons are unsafe. is.

Abtin, a board member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, was called to serve his sentence in September 2020 along with fellow members Reza Khandan Mahabadi and Keyvan Bajan.

In October, PEN America jointly awarded the 2021 PEN / Barbey Freedom to Write Award to the three authors.

In a statement after Abtin’s death, the organization in charge of Tehran’s prisons said the author was serving a five-year sentence for “propaganda against national security”.

The organization said he was in the hospital for 35 days, during which judicial officials decided to grant him a temporary suspension from prison, but the doctors could not save him.

Tens of thousands of posts about Abtin flooded Twitter and other social media platforms within hours of his death.

One image that accompanies the numerous postings shows his ankles chained to a hospital bed while reading in a blue prison uniform. Another shows him in a coma, with breathing tubes and other equipment keeping him alive.

COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in Iran have declined significantly in recent weeks following a nationwide vaccination campaign, but authorities warn that the threat of the Omicron variant is on the rise. Iranian prisons also broke out during the pandemic.

Translation: Baktash Abtin, a poet, filmmaker and leading member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, sacrificed his life for freedom and left us. Abtin’s [spirit] is alive because the spirit of freedom and hostility towards oppression is alive.

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