IRAN: Narges Mohammadi back in prison to serve her 30 months prison sentence

19/11/2021
Statement
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Paris-Geneva, November 19, 2021 – Just over a year after her release from Zanjan prison, on November 16, 2021, Ms. Mohammadi was arbitrarily arrested and detained again after taking part in a memorial service. The Observatory (FIDH-OMCT) and the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) condemn the arbitrary detention of Ms. Mohammadi and call for her immediate and unconditional release.

On November 16, 2021, security forces in Tehran forcibly arrested Narges Mohammadi while she was taking part in a memorial service for a victim of the November 2019 killings of protesters. Ms. Mohammadi was detained in Tehran’s Evin prison. On November 17, 2021, she was allowed to make a phone call during which she explained that she had been notified that her May 2021 sentence had been upheld and that she had been arrested to serve it. She added that she would not let the authorities carry out the other part of her sentence, i.e. 80 lashes.

Narges Mohammadi is a journalist and Spokesperson of the Iranian human rights NGO Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). Ms. Mohammadi has campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran, and in 2011 was awarded the Per Anger Prize by the Swedish government for her human rights work.

The Observatory and the LDDHI recall that, on May 19, 2021, Narges Mohammadi was sentenced in absentia by Branch 1177 of the Tehran Criminal Court to 30 months in prison, two fines, and 80 lashes on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500 of the Iranian Penal Code). Ms. Mohammadi stated that she would neither appeal nor obey the sentence. She was summoned to serve the sentence in late September 2021, but she refused to report to prison.

Ms. Mohammadi was released from Zanjan prison on October 8, 2020, after the reduction of another prison sentence. She had been arbitrarily detained for more than five years, during which her health deteriorated and she was subjected to sexual harassment and physical assault.

The Observatory and LDDHI strongly condemn the latest detention of Narges Mohammadi, which is aimed at punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities. The two organisations express their utmost concern over the risks of deterioration of Ms. Mohammadi’s health in Evin prison, given the Iranian authorities’ record of denying medical care to her and all other human rights defenders. The two organisations are further concerned about the high risk of assault that Ms. Mohammadi faces in Evin prison.

The Observatory and LDDHI call on the Iranian authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Narges Mohammadi, to drop all charges against her, and to immediately and unconditionally release her, as well as all other human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country.

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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 ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

The League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) was founded in Paris in March 1983, following the forced closure of the “Iranian Association for the Defence of Human Rights and Liberties” (established in 1977) in 1981, and the departure of its leaders into exile. Since its establishment, LDDHI has consistently reported and campaigned against human rights violations in Iran, concentrating on the abolition of the death penalty in Iran, women’s rights, freedom of political prisoners, rights of religious and ethnic minorities, freedoms of expression, assembly and association among others. LDDHI has been a member of FIDH since 1986.

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