Mojtaba Pourmohsen, an arts correspondent, poet and creative writer, was jailed in 2009 for propaganda against the regime. The Radio Zamaneh journalist and Gilan-e Emrouz edior-in-chief also angered authorities after he interviewed an “anti-revolutionary” gay poet.
Name: Mojtaba Pourmohsen
Born: 1979, Rasht
Career: Journalist, novelist and poet; contributing arts critic for Hamshahri, Sedaaye Edaalat, Roozegaar, Hambastegi and Etemaad; contributor to Shargh; editor-in-chief of Gilan-e Emrouz; translator. He is the author of a novel, Spring 63, which has received favorable reviews from critics. Pourmohsen’s translation work includes poetry by Raymond Carver and A Man Without Country by Kurt Vonnegut.
Charges: Propaganda against the regime.
Mojtaba Pourmohsen began his career in journalism in 2000 and has been the editor-in-chief of Gilan-e Emrouz, a local newspaper based in Rasht, the capital of the northern province of Gilan, since 2006. In the same year he started working with Radio Zamaneh (“Times”), an Amsterdam-based Persian language radio station focusing on culture and art.
In August 2007 he interviewed Iranian-Canadian poet Saghi Ghahraman for the reformist newspaper Shargh. The interview was considered controversial and deemed to be immoral and anti-revolutionary because Ghahraman is an active member of the Toronto-based Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization and expressed her support for gay rights during the course of the interview. Following publication of the interview, authorities issued a ban on the newspaper.
Intelligence Ministry agents arrested Pourmohsen on 15 June 2009 at his home in Rasht, giving no reason for his arrest. The agents, who were not in uniform, also confiscated some of Pourmohsen’s personal items, including books, videos and his computer.
He was held at a temporary detention center for three days and then moved to Lankan Prison in Rasht, despite being given assurances that he would be released on bail. After 11 days in solitary confinement he was finally released.
In summer 2009, Pourmohsen was sentenced to one year in prison for propaganda against the regime because of his cooperation with Radio Zamaneh. His sentence was later suspended.
His book of poems, Solo Tango, which was published in Europe, was used as evidence against him.
He is currently editor-in-chief of Gilan-e Emrouz and publishes a blog.