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Iranian, Georgian, Iraqi Writers Receive Rights Award

February 6, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Seven Iranians, a Georgian, and an Iraqi are among the recipients this year of an international human rights award.

The writers are among a group of 45 people from 22 countries to receive Hellman/Hammett grants, which are administered by Human Rights Watch.

The annual grants go to writers around the world who have been targets of political persecution.

In a statement today, Human Rights Watch's Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said the past year was particularly difficult for Iranian writers, who had to work in an "ever-more restrictive atmosphere of new publishing rules and policies."

Some of the recipients have asked to remain anonymous because of possible risks to them and their families.

The named recipients from Iran, Georgia, and Iraq are: Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia), Ali Afshari (Iran), Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir (Iran), Ali Ashraf Darvishian (Iran), Roozbeh Mir Ebrahimi (Iran), Ensaf Ali Hedayat (Iran), Shahram Rafizadeh (Iran), Arash Sigarchi (Iran), and S.S. Ali (Iraq).