MP Fatemeh Alia says it is an “insult” to the people of Iran that jailed Iranian journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi is the 2011 recipient of the Hellman-Hammett award.
Alia told Jam-e Jam-online that these awards are being given out to make political points and to interfere in Iran’s internal matters.
Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi was awarded the 2011 Hellman-Hammett award by Human Rights Watch. Since 1990, the award has been given to writers who have suffered government persecution for their work; it’s in memory of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, two American writers subjected to U.S. persecution during the 1950s.
Amouyi was arrested on June 20, 2009 following the controversial presidential election, which was disputed by millions of protesters. He was arrested together with his wife, Jila Bani-Yaghoub, in a national crackdown on election challengers.
Amouyi was sentenced to five years in prison and is being held under very restrictive conditions, often denied visits from his family.
The Iranian establishment refers to 2009 election protesters as "seditionists." Fatemeh Alia said: "The seditionists and rioters of 2009 have been prosecuted in court and sentenced to prison, and if any organization wants to interfere in our internal issues without regard for our laws, we will not ignore it."
"Unfortunately Human Rights Watch is taking an interventionist stance and putting its support behind the rioters in the sedition of 2009 by giving them awards."
In recent years, Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Parvin Ardalan and the writer and poet Azin Izadifar have received the Hellman-Hammett award. Many more Iranians received it in years previous.