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Baktash Abtin

On December 9, 2021, the writer Baktash Abtin, serving a 6-year sentence for his participation in the banned Iranian Writers Association, was hospitalized with severe COVID-19 after fellow prisoners demanded it.

PEN America urgently demanded Abtin's release. This year PEN honored jailed writers Baktash Abtin, Kevyan Bajan, and Reza Khandan Mahabadi with its 2021 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.

IranWire reported a phone conversation with a political prisoner in Evin:

"Baktash has several underlying conditions and has been taken to hospital twice [before] for chronic pain, weight loss, and high blood pressure. These underlying issues have made his condition worse than that of other prisoners infected with virus. Some of his friends and I, after seeing his yellow face and his constantly falling unconscious, shouted and caused a ruckus so his interrogator would have to agree to transfer him. Any doctor with a conscience would order the release of prisoners and a cleanse of the wards.