Leading Iranian Human Rights Activist to Serve Ten Years in Prison
Narges Mohammadi Sentenced for Her Peaceful Activism in Iran
May 19, 2016—The prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has been sentenced to serve ten years of a 16-year prison sentence, for her work defending human and women’s rights in Iran.
Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Mohammadi to ten years in prison for “membership in the [now banned] Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty,” five years for “assembly and collusion against national security,” and one year for “propaganda against the state,” the Defenders of Human Rights Center announced on May 18, 2016.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on the Islamic Republic to immediately release the unlawfully imprisoned Narges Mohammadi and end the years of suffering she has unjustly endured behind bars.
“Ten years in prison for a well-respected advocate for peaceful civil activities demonstrates the Islamic Republic’s refusal to tolerate any peaceful dissent,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s executive director, “and its willingness to brush aside the law in punishing those who engage in it.”
Mohammadi will be eligible for release in ten years based on Article 134 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code, her lawyer Mahmoud Behzadi-Rad told the Campaign, which allows for only the heaviest sentence to be served in cases where there are convictions on multiple charges. The verdict will be appealed, he added.
“Rouhani’s Intelligence Ministry is responsible for detaining and building the case for Mohammadi’s prosecution by the Judiciary, and now it is President Rouhani’s responsibility to make every effort for her release and ensure Iran’s citizens that ministries under his authority will not trample on their rights and freedoms,” Ghaemi added.
Mohammadi, winner of the 2011 Per Anger Prize for her activism in human rights, was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 11 years in prison in October 2011 on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” “membership in the [now banned] Defenders of Human Rights Center,” and “propaganda against the state.”
The Appeals Court reduced her sentence to six years in prison, and in 2013 she was released from Zanjan Prison on 600 million toman (approximately $200,000) bail for medical reasons.
She continued her activism outside prison and in March 2014 met with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran to discuss Iran’s human rights issues.
After the meeting, pressure on Mohammadi grew, and she was subjected to months of harassment and interrogations by the security establishment. Her arrest on May 5, 2015, ostensibly on the older charges, was more accurately related to Mohammadi’s visit with Ashton and her continued peaceful activism.
While awaiting trial in prison, Mohammadi has suffered from serious health problems including a neurological disorder that causes muscular paralysis. In October 2015 she was transferred to hospital on after suffering a seizure.