Iran: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi

Urgent Appeal
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The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi, an Iranian documentary film maker and women’s human rights defender.

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

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, on June 7, 2014, Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi was summoned to Evin prison and arrested to serve a five-year imprisonment sentence. Ms. Mohammadi was tried by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Tehran in October 2012 and sentenced on November 13, 2012 after being convicted for “gathering and collusion against the national security”, and “spreading propaganda against the State”, through cooperation with foreign media including the BBC, and supporting the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Her sentence was upheld by Branch 54 of Appeals Court of Tehran sometime in early 2014.

Ms. Mohammadi is an award winning documentary film maker and a women’s rights defender, who has been active in the framework of the Campaign for Equality (aka One Million Signatures Campaign), ever since it was established in 2006. This Campaign is a movement of women rights activists who have been fighting against legalised discrimination against women.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the decision of the authorities to uphold the five-year prison sentence against Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi, as it merely aims at sanctioning her activities as a documentary film maker and women’s human rights defender. Accordingly, the Observatory strongly denounces her detention as arbitrary and as means to infringe freedom of expression in Iran, in violation of international law.

Background information:

On March 4, 2007, Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi was detained for a few days, together with 32 other women’s rights activists, who were protesting outside the building of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran.

On July 30, 2009, she was detained, together with other film makers and artists, for 24 hours after attending commemoration ceremonies at the graves of protestors, who had been killed during the unrest following the 2009 presidential elections.

On June 26, 2011, Ms. Mohammadi was again arrested by security forces at her home and was held in incommunicado detention until July 27, 2011 in Ward 2A of Evin prison, which is administered by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

Ms. Mohammadi suffers from an incurable disease with symptoms similar to Multiple Sclerosis, for which she must regularly take medicine to avoid strong muscular pains and local paralysis. During the one month in detention in 2011, she was hospitalised for a few days and was only granted bail because doctors considered her continued detention too risky and refused to take responsibility for it.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi, as well as of all human rights defenders in Iran;

ii. Ensure that she received adequate medical care and her regular supply of essential medicines;

iii. Release Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi immediately and unconditionally as her detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning her human rights activities;

iv. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Ms. Mahnaz Mohammadi and all human rights defenders in Iran, and release them all;

v. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.


· Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shahid Keshvardoost St., Jomhuri Eslami Ave., Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228, Email:; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
· President Hassan Rouhani, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Tel: +98 21 64451; Fax: + 98 21 649 5880; Email:; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
· Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur Street, Vali Asr Avenue, south of Serah-e Jomhuri, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email:; / /
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Kushk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149;
· Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, [Care of] Office of the Head of the Judicary, Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave, South of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:
· H.E. Mr. Seyed Mohammad Reza Sajjadi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:
· Embassy of Iran in Brussels, 15 a avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email:

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

Paris-Geneva, June 20, 2014

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

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