Back to Current Prisoner News

Writer and translator Arash Ganji has been summoned to serve a minimum of 5 years of an outrageous 11-year prison sentence. As our Emergency Appeal states:

"The Iranian Writers Association (IWA) has denounced the execution of prisoners of conscience, even as it is under extreme repression. Several members are imprisoned, including Arash Ganji, sentenced to 11 years for translating a book on the Kurdish struggle in Syria."

Ganji was arrested in 2019 in connection with his 2017 Farsi translation of A Small Key Can Open A Big Door: The Rojava Revolution, a collection of articles by different authors about Kurds in the Syrian civil war, and detained and interrogated in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison, upheld by an appeals court in February 2021.

Ganji was sentenced to 5 years for “conspiracy to act against national security,” 5 years for “membership and cooperation with an anti-regime group,” and one year for “propaganda against the regime”,

Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of Free Expression at Risk Programs at PEN America, stated: “From the start of this investigation, the Iranian government has been targeting Ganji with the baseless claim that his translation of a book poses a threat to national security. His wildly disproportionate sentence and imminent imprisonment are part of a broader pattern of legal harassment against writers in Iran, the latest blatant miscarriage of justice as authorities continue to lock up the literary community. Furthermore, Ganji suffers from serious health conditions likely to be dangerously exacerbated in prison."