Communiqué of the Iranian Writers’ Association:
The “freedom-killer” regime has murdered Bektash Abtin!

People of Iran!

Freedom-lovers of Iran and the world!

Bektash Abtin (1974-2022), poet, filmmaker, and distinguished member of the Iranian Writers’ Association, has been murdered by the “freedom-killer” regime.

On 3 December, Bektash Abtin presented himself to Evin Prison’s medical centre with clear symptoms of coronavirus, and for three days he was left to wander between the medical centre and the prison ward without receiving any treatment.  On 3 December, Abtin’s health deteriorated to the point that the prison guards were compelled to take him to an outside hospital in the middle of the night and under a veil of complete silence.  Two days later, after Abtin’s family and cellmates followed up, it was finally revealed that he had been admitted to Taleghani hospital [in Tehran], though prison and hospital officials continued to refuse to provide any information about Abtin’s illness.  Abtin was chained to a hospital bed, with no visitation and no news from outside.  Thus, under the pressure of the security forces, the ten vital days at the beginning of his illness were deliberately wasted [not acted upon] by the prison and in the hospital contracted by the prison.  On 13 December, Abtin, by now half-dead, was taken to another hospital and his treatment began with him already in critical condition.  The disease, its complications, and the psychological pressure of the first ten days, gradually took their toll on Abtin’s body.  On 1 January 1, doctors had to resort to putting him into an induced coma in a last effort to spare him from the gradual death inflicted upon him.  At noon, on 8 January, Bektash Abtin’s passionate heart finally stopped beating and another black page was added to the Islamic Republic’s record of crimes.

Bektash Abtin was a free-thinking and freedom-loving poet who spent his short and productive life writing his most magnificent poems.  He wrote of the suffering but also the happiness of the people.  He lived the song of freedom with all his heart and soul – and sacrificed his precious life for freedom and the freedom-seeking ideals of the Iranian Writers’ Association.  He was a courageous, creative, and independent filmmaker, who – without fearing of the frightening demon of censorship – sought to portray the aspects of the lives of the ordinary men and women of Iran.  He took with him to the grave hundreds of images, ideas, and poems yet to be written.

Tragically, the dark-natured oppressors – who kidnapped this popular and freedom-loving artist at the height of his creativity and prosperity, in broad daylight, from the people and the literary and artistic community of Iran – put him in prison, deliberately obstructed his treatment, and extinguished the bright light of his loving and passionate soul through the storm of oppression and injustice.

The Iranian Writers’ Association hereby reiterates that it considers the Islamic Republic regime and its judiciary and security apparatus to be responsible for the tragedy of the death, and criminal murder, of Bektash Abtin – and raises its cry for justice to the world and calls upon all freedom-lovers, independently aligned organisations, and human rights defenders, not to turn a blind eye to this crime and to give voice to their outcry in protest.

The Iranian Writers’ Association is also gravely concerned about the health of three of its imprisoned members: Reza Khandan Mahabadi, who is currently struggling with coronavirus; Keyvan Bajan; and Arash Ganji, as well as all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience [in Iran].  We fearing that with the continuation of the current criminal policies, another disaster could occur at any moment.

Regarding the murder of Bektash Abtin, the Iranian Writers’ Association expresses its deep condolences to his family, his associates at the Iranian Writers’ Association, and the nation’s independent cultural community, and pledges to continue his path in fighting censorship and defending freedom of thought and expression without exception or limitation, and will attend his funeral alongside his family.

The Iranian Writers’ Association

8 January 2022

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