Detained Iranian poet and director Baktash Abtin passed away in a hospital in Tehran, the Association of Iranian Writers announced.
Abtin’s death, which was announced on January 8, followed after the 48-year-old was recently placed in a medically induced coma while trying to recover from a severe case of kovid-19.
Abtin was suffering from coronary heart disease, and after he contracted kovid-19, his family managed to transfer him from Tehran’s infamous Evin prison to a hospital in the capital on December 14.
Prominent writer and advocate of free speech, Abtin, served a six-year prison sentence for his affiliation with the Iranian Writers’ Association, whose members are often pressured by the authorities, and for visiting the graves of victims of political assassinations.
He has been in prison along with two board members of the Iranian Writers’ Association, Reza Kandan Mahabadi and Keivan Bayan, since September 2020.
In October 2021, the PEN America Open Speech Advocacy Group presented the PEN / Barbei Freedom Joint Award for three writers.
Abtin’s imprisonment amid a corona virus pandemic has been sharply criticized by human rights bodies.
Reporters Without Borders tweeted on January 8 that Abtin was denied proper medical care and that “the top of the regime is to blame for his death.”