Paris-Geneva, February 2, 2022 – Arbitrarily imprisoned since November 2021 to serve a 30-month prison sentence, prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi has been sentenced again by a court to eight years and two months in prison and 74 lashes. The Observatory (FIDH-OMCT) and the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) strongly condemn this new sentence and the relentless judicial harassment against Ms. Mohammadi, and call once again for her immediate and unconditional release.
On January 15, 2022, Branch 26 of Tehran’s Islamic Revolution Court sentenced Ms. Narges Mohammadi to eight years and two months in prison and 74 lashes. The court also imposed on her bans on residing in Tehran; on being a member of any political and social group; on using social media and using any form of telecommunication to give interviews, and ordered the confiscation of her mobile phone. The court found Ms. Mohammadi guilty of “assembly and collusion to act against national security” (Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code) and “acting against national security and disrupting public order” (presumably Article 508 of the Islamic Penal Code), after a five-minute hearing that was held without the presence of her lawyer. During her detention, representatives of the Ministry of Intelligence told Ms. Mohammadi that her nomination by Norwegian parliamentarians for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was considered as a foreign conspiracy against the Islamic Republic, an accusation to which the court ruling specifically referred.
On January 19, 2022, Ms. Mohammadi was transferred from Tehran’s Evin prison, where she had been arbitrarily detained in solitary confinement for 64 days since her arrest on November 16, 2021, to Qarchak prison, south of Tehran.
On January 24, 2022, Ms. Mohammadi declared in a letter that she did not recognise the court’s legitimacy and would neither appeal the court ruling nor submit to it.
Narges Mohammadi is a journalist and Spokesperson of the Iranian human rights NGO Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). She 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 LDDHI strongly condemn the new conviction and prison sentence of Narges Mohammadi and denounce the incessant judicial harassment against her, which is only aimed at silencing her and punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory and LDDHI condemn the ongoing arbitrary detention of Narges Mohammadi and express their utmost concern over the risks of assault and deterioration of her health in prison, given the Iranian authorities’ record of denying medical care to her and all other human rights defenders.
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.
On November 16, 2021, Narges Mohammadi was forcibly arrested while she was taking part in a memorial service for a victim of the November 2019 killings of anti-government protesters. Ms. Mohammadi was detained in Tehran’s Evin prison where she was notified that she had been arrested to serve her May 2021 sentence of 30 months in prison, two fines, and 80 lashes on charges of “spreading propaganda against the system” (Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code). She had been summoned to serve the sentence in late September 2021, but she refused to report to prison.
Ms. Mohammadi had previously been arbitrarily detained in Zanjan prison, Zanjan Province, for more than five years, during which her health deteriorated. During this period, she was subjected to sexual harassment and physical assault. She was released on October 8, 2020 after the reduction of another prison sentence.
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.