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Home > English > Iran: Continuing judicial harassment of Ms. Narges Mohammadi

Iran: Continuing judicial harassment of Ms. Narges Mohammadi

Monday 23 March 2020

March 20, 2020

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the continuing judicial harassment of Ms. Narges Mohammadi, a journalist and Spokesperson and Vice-President of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC). [1] Ms. Narges Mohammadi is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence in Zanjan prison, in the north of Iran. She suffers from several very serious health conditions, including a pulmonary embolism and a neurological disorder that results in partial paralysis. Her health condition is worsened by the authorities’ refusal to provide adequate medical care in or out of prison to her.

According to information received, on February 22, 2020, judicial authorities communicated two sets of new charges in two cases against Ms. Narges Mohammadi.

In the first case, she has been charged with “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code) and “assembly and collusion with intent to take action against national security” (Article 610), which she is alleged to have committed while in prison. The Prosecutor cited “issuing of political statements, holding educational classes and staging a protest sit-in at Tehran’s Evin prison” as the reasons for those charges.

The second case was brought against her following a complaint by the Governor of Evin prison, Mr. Gholamreza Ziaei, who accused Ms. Narges Mohammadi of “disrupting order in prison”, “disrupting general calm in Women’s Ward by organising gatherings and singing loudly,” and “insulting government agents including the prison governor and defaming him by accusing him of torturing and beating and injuring her.”

Ms. Narges Mohammadi denied all new charges and refused to defend herself.

The Observatory expresses its strong concern over the continuing judicial harassment and the deteriorating health of Ms. Narges Mohammadi while in prison, and calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her and allow her immediate access to adequate medical care.

Background information:

On May 18, 2016, Branch 15 of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Court found Ms. Narges Mohammadi guilty of “assembly and collusion to commit crimes against national security”, “spreading propaganda against the State” and “establishing and running the illegal splinter group LEGAM [2]” (under Article 498 of the Islamic Penal Code), and sentenced her respectively to five years, one year and 10 years of prison, for a total of 16 years in prison.

On September 28, 2016, Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals upheld the sentence and asserted that pursuant to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, she must serve the maximum sentence, i.e. 10 years [3]. At the time of her sentencing, she was already serving the remainder of another six-year sentence handed down in September 2011, when she was found guilty of acting against national security, propaganda against the system, and membership of the banned DHRC.

On January 3, 2019, Ms. Narges Mohammadi undertook a three-day hunger strike to protest being denied access to medical care.

On April 27, 2019, Ms. Narges Mohammadi was transferred to Mehr Hospital for medical examination and returned to Evin prison on the same day.

On May 14, 2019, she was sent to hospital again, where she underwent a hysterectomy operation, and was returned to prison on May 26, 2019, before she had fully recovered.

On June 2, 2019, she was reported to have contracted a serious infection, and was denied adequate medication (i.e. antibiotics) in prison.

On December 26, 2019, Ms. Narges Mohammadi was transferred from Evin to Zanjan prison, around 350 kilometres from Tehran, as a punishment for taking part in a collective protest sit-in with several other prisoners in Evin prison’s Women’s Ward on December 21, 2019, in solidarity with mourning families of the victims of the November 2019 nationwide protests [4]. In a letter from Zanjan prison, Ms. Mohammadi said that several prison and security agents headed by the Governor of Evin prison, and including her interrogator from the Ministry of Intelligence, had beaten her and forcefully thrown her into a car before transferring her to Zanjan prison.

On December 28, 2019, Ms. Narges Mohammadi was examined by two doctors in Zanjan prison. According to her brother, “there were bruises, cuts and even traces of fingernails on her chest and throat as well as traces of fingers and fists on her body.” Evin prison authorities and the Spokesperson of the Judiciary denied any ill-treatment and maintained that Ms. Mohammadi had been sent to Zanjan prison by a judicial order, which was never presented to her. No investigation has been conducted about Ms. Narges Mohammadi’s allegations of mistreatment, although even Deputy Chairperson of Parliament’s judicial committee has called for it [5].

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 Ms. Narges Mohammadi, and allow her immediate access to adequate medication and medical care;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Narges Mohammadi, and all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Narges Mohammadi, and all other human rights defenders, and ensure they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

iv. Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the above-mentioned attacks on Ms. Narges Mohammadi’s physical integrity, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, sanction them as provided by the law and provide Ms. Mohammadi with effective remedies;

v. Conform to all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6, 9, 11 and 12;

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.

Addresses:

• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 2030, Email: info_leader@leader.ir; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 644 54811; Email: media@rouhani.ir; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
• Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Hojattolislam Ebrahim Ra’eesi, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: info@dadiran.ir / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir / info@bia-judiciary.ir
• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149; matbuat@mfa.gov.ir
• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Ali Bagheri Kani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir
• H.E. Mr. Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int
• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: secreteriat@iranembassy.be

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

***
Paris-Geneva, March 20, 2020

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

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

[1] DHRC was founded by five lawyers including the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ms. Shirin Ebadi and was closed by the Iranian regime in 2008. It is a member of FIDH.
[2] Step by step abolition of the death penalty, also known as LEGAM, is a human rights group that campaigned for the abolition of death penalty in Iran.
[3] See Observatory Press Release published on September 29, 2016.
[4] See FIDH Press Release published on November 20, 2019: https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/iran/authorities-must-end-the-fatal-crackdown-on-protesters
[5] See: https://bit.ly/2QqEzZR

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