The Nobel laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative are calling on the government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender and journalist Narges Mohammadi from the notorious Evin prison in Iran. In the statement, the laureates join the call of the international community for Iran to end repression against human rights activists.
On May 17 a revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced Mohammadi to an additional 10 years in prison for her work to campaign against the death penalty. Mohammadi was originally imprisoned in April 2012 but was released three months later on medical grounds. She was re-arrested in May 2015. Mohammadi suffers from a health condition that is exacerbated by the conditions in the prison and the lack of medical care.
Read the full statement below:
Release Iranian Human Rights Activist/Journalist Nargess Mohammadi
We, the Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, call on the Iranian Government to immediately and unconditionally release Nargess Mohammadi, a lifelong human rights defender and investigative journalist, who was sentenced to an additional 10 years on May 17, 2016 for campaigning against the death penalty.
She was originally arrested in 2009 for charges of threatening national security, propaganda against the state, and membership in the Center for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). Her original sentence was 11 years, which was reduced to 6 years by the court of appeal. She began serving this prison term in April 2012 but was released three months later on medical grounds to receive treatment for a health condition that caused partial paralysis, which was exacerbated by her imprisonment. Re-arrested in May 2015, Iranian authorities sent Mohammadi back to Evin prison where she is currently denied proper medical treatment. Her sentence now totals 16 years, which is unlawful under the Iranian penal code.
Mohammadi suffers from a neurological disease that causes muscular paralysis. Physicians have stated that conditions in the prisons aggravate her illness and may be life threatening. Authorities have also restricted Mohammadi from seeing her family, including her two children, and only allow her one visit per month.
Mohammadi has been a strong voice in human rights advocacy since her university years. She was a journalist for the Iranian magazine Payaam-e Haajar, a publication that focuses on women’s rights, equality, and women’s roles within the Islamic Revolution. She is the vice president and spokesperson of the Center for Human Rights Defenders, which was established by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and her colleagues. Her courage led her to being recognized by Reporters Without Borders on May 2, 2016.
Mohammadi’s re-arrest and harsh sentence sends a signal that Iran is using the criminal justice system as a tool of repression. Mohammadi’s peaceful activities are protected by international human rights law and treaties to which Iran is a signatory. Her detention is unjust and unlawful.
The Iranian government’s ill treatment of prisoners has been condemned by Reporters Without Borders. The United Nations and Amnesty International has also called for Mohammadi’s unconditional release. We join their calls in asking the Iranian government to release Nargess Mohammadi and to stop the persecution of human rights defenders.
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