Narges Mohammadi is a prominent human rights
advocate in Iran campaigning for justice and gender equality, and against the
death penalty. She should be lauded for her courage and efforts. Instead she’s been languishing in Evin Prison for more than one year and has been sentenced
to 16 years in prison following an unfair trial for trumped up national-security related
charges. Her convictions are based solely on her peaceful human rights work and she has previously been imprisoned for her peaceful advocacy.
Narges was first targeted by the authorities in 2009 when she was charged with “propagating” against the nation’s Islamic system and barred from delivering a speech about the role of women and democracy in Iran at a conference organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative on behalf of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.
SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS FOR
HER HUMAN RIGHTS WORK
Narges Mohammadi has consistently received
degrading and inhumane treatment from prison officials. Suffering from serious medical conditional, she requires specialized
medical care that cannot be provided in prison. Despite doctors’
recommendations that she remain in hospital for treatment, she has continuously
been transferred back to prison, putting her health further at risk.
Authorities have consistently used access to her
nine-year-old twins as a tool to punish her, denying her telephone
contact. She undertook a hunger strike to protest the authority’s refusal to
let her speak with her children. Her hunger strike triggered global outrage and
thousands of people, including more than 100,000 Iranians, posted messages in
solidarity through a Twitter campaign. After 20 days and extensive global
campaigning, Narges was able to speak with her children. She wrote an
open letter, expressing heartfelt gratitude to everyone who supported her cause
and highlighting the plight of political prisoners in Iran.
“I[‘ve] received beautiful, kind and heart-warming
messages from friends, compatriots, fellow prisoners, my dear colleagues from
inside and outside the country, and human rights organizations […] With all my
heart and soul, I thank each and every single dear person who, through their
writings and comments and following up [of my case], resulted in the voice of my
protest being heard.”
This cruel punishment for her "crimes" reflects the Iranian authorities' recently intensified repression of women’s rights activists in the country. Since January 2016 more than a dozen women’s rights activists in Tehran have been summoned for long, intensive interrogations by the Revolutionary Guards, and threatened with imprisonment on national security-related charges.
Narges Mohammadi’s protest has been heard – but she is
still in prison, facing a 16-year-sentence following an unfair trial. She is a
prisoner of conscience, targeted because of her human rights work. Call on Iranian authorities to release Narges immediately and unconditionally!