Iran: Sentencing of Narges Mohammadi

Urgent Appeal
en fa

IRA 001 / 0621 / OBS 064
Judicial harassment / Sentencing /
At risk of ill-treatment
June 8, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the sentencing and continued judicial harassment of Narges Mohammadi, journalist and Vice-President and Spokesperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). Ms. Mohammadi has campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran, and was awarded the Per Anger Prize by the Swedish government for her human rights work in 2011.

On May 19, 2021, Narges Mohammadi was informed that Branch 1177 of the Tehran Criminal Court had sentenced her to 30 months in prison, two fines, and 80 lashes, a punishment which can amount to cruel and inhumane treatment.

Narges Mohammadi was tried in absentia and convicted on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500 of the Iranian Penal Code) for: publishing statements against the death penalty; staging a sit-in at the bureau of the Women’s Ward in Evin prison to protest the November 2019 killings of protestors; disturbing prison order and disobeying the prison authorities’ order to end the sit-in; breaking prison windows; and defaming the prison authorities by accusing them of torturing and physically assaulting her. This new trial came less than a year after Ms. Mohammadi was released from prison, following five years of arbitrary detention, during which her health deteriorated and she was confronted with sexual harassment and physical assault (see below). Court proceedings began on February 22, 2020, when judicial authorities communicated the new charges against Ms. Mohammadi.

On February 27, 2021, Ms. Mohammadi refused to appear in court and announced that she had filed a complaint alleging she was sexually harassed and physically assaulted while she was incarcerated in Evin prison, but her complaint had been ignored. She has stated that she would neither appeal nor comply with the court’s sentence.

The Observatory recalls that Ms. Narges Mohammadi has been imprisoned three times over the past 20 years, most recently between May 2015 and October 2020. On May 18, 2016, Branch 15 of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Court found Ms. Mohammadi guilty of “assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code), “spreading propaganda against the State” (Article 500) and “establishing and running the illegal splinter group LEGAM [1]" (under Article 498), and sentenced her to a total of 16 years in prison.

On September 28, 2016, Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals upheld the sentence and ruled that, pursuant to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, she had to serve the maximum sentence, i.e. 10 years reduced to eight years and a half under the 2020 law for Commuting Custodial Prison Sentences. At the time of her sentencing, she was already serving the remainder of a six-year sentence imposed in September 2011, after she was found guilty of “acting against national security”, “propaganda against the State” and “membership of the banned DHRC”. While incarcerated, she continued her work as a human defender, denouncing the use of white torture and solitary confinement for prisoners, among other mistreatments.

The Observatory further recalls that on October 8, 2020, Narges Mohammadi was released from Zanjan prison, where she had been transferred on December 26, 2019. While in Evin prison, Ms. Mohammadi’s health significantly deteriorated. She suffered from pulmonary embolism and a neurological disorder that resulted in partial paralysis. The prison authorities denied her adequate medical care. United Nations human rights experts made repeated calls for the release of Ms. Mohammadi, including on 22 July 2020, after she experienced COVID-19 symptoms.

The Observatory urges the Iranian authorities to drop all charges and cease all forms of judicial harassment against Ms. Mohammadi, and to immediately adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the safety and physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Iran.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Narges Mohammadi as well as all human rights defenders in Iran;
ii. Put an end to any form of harassment – including at the judicial level - against Narges Mohammadi as well as all human rights defenders in Iran;
iii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, transparent, and independent investigation into the above-mentioned alleged acts of sexual harassment and physical assault against Narges Mohammadi, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law.

• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Email:; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran; Email:; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
• Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Hojattolislam Ebrahim Ra’eesi, Islamic Republic of Iran, Email: / /
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran;
• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Ali Bagheri Kani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:
• H.E. Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email:
• H.E. Mr. G.Hossein Dehghani, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, June 8, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail:
· Tel. FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
· Tel. OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39

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