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Case history: Narges Mohammadi

Status: 
Imprisoned
About the Situation

In late December 2019, following her participation in a peaceful sit-in protest in Evin prison, Narges Mohammadi was physically abused by security agents and transferred to Zanjan prison located over 300 km from Tehran.

On 13 August 2018, human rights defender Narges Mohammadi was transferred from her cell in Evin prison in Tehran to Imam Khomeini Hospital due to the intensification of her illness and muscular spasms. The defender had been suffering from severe pains for weeks before the date of her transfer, however her applications for transfer to hospital for treatment were previously refused.

On 18 May 2016, the Revolutionary Court of Iran sentenced human rights defender Narges Mohammadi to 16 years imprisonment on several counts including for “membership in the [now banned] Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty” group, for ”taking part in assembly and collusion against national security” and “committing propaganda against the state”. Intelligence ministry officials arrested her at her home on 5 May 2015.

 

About Narges Mohammadi

Narges MohammadiNarges Mohammadi is Deputy Director of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). She was elected as President of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Peace in Iran, a broad coalition against war and for the promotion of human rights. She has campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran, and was awarded the Per Anger Prize by the Swedish government for her human rights work in 2011.

10 January 2020
Ill-treatment of imprisoned women human rights defenders Narges Mohammadi and Atena Daemi

In late December 2019, following their participation in a peaceful sit-in protest in Evin prison, two women human rights defenders were subjected to ill-treatment by the prison authorities. Atena Daemi was put in solitary confinement, where she was physically abused and denied medical assistance. Narges Mohammadi was physically abused by security agents and transferred to Zanjan prison located over 300 km from Tehran.

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Narges Mohammadi is the Deputy Director of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). She was elected as President of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Peace in Iran, a broad coalition against war and for the promotion of human rights. She has campaigned for the abolition of death penalty in Iran, and was awarded the Per Anger Prize by the Swedish government for her human rights work in 2011. Atena Daemi is a human rights defender who has advocated for the rights of children in Kobane and Gaza, for women's rights and against death penalty.

On 21 December 2019, a group of prisoners, including the two human rights defenders, started a peaceful sit-in protest in Evin Prison Political Bureau against the violent state response to the recent protests in the country. On 25 December 2019, Narges Mohammadi was called by the prison guards to meet with her lawyer, but once she left the ward, several agents from the Ministry of Intelligence violently handcuffed her, causing her wrists to bleed. She was then forcibly put in a vehicle and taken to Zanjan prison located over 300 km from Tehran. During the transfer, the human rights defender was physically abused by the intelligence officers, while she kept bleeding from her wrists.

On 28 December 2019, Atena Daemi was transferred to an unknown location. After 4 days, on 31 December 2019, she was allowed to call her family and inform them that she had been put in solitary confinement in Evin prison’s ward 2A, which is controlled by the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. While in solitary confinement, Atena Daemi was physically abused by the intelligence officers, and was denied medical assistance. On 8 January 2020, she was transferred back to the ordinary prison ward.

Both women human rights defenders have faced restrictions on family and lawyer visits. Moreover, Narges Mohammadi had previously been threatened by the Evin prison director with physical abuse and solitary confinement, if she did not stop her human rights activism.

Atena Daemi was sentenced in May 2015 to 14 years’ imprisonment for “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “assembly and collusion against national security”. In September 2016, her prison term was reduced to seven years following an appeal.

Narges Mohammadi is currently serving a 16 year prison sentence for “membership in the Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty group”, “collusion and assembly against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. Her conviction is linked with her activities at the DHRC, interviews she conducted with foreign media outlets, establishing the Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty group (also known as LEGAM) and her work with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the ongoing imprisonment and ill-treatment of Atena Daemi and Narges Mohammadi, and it believes that they are being targeted solely as a result of their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

23 August 2018
Deteriorating health of human rights defender Narges Mohammadi

On 13 August 2018, human rights defender Narges Mohammadi was transferred from her cell in Evin prison in Tehran to Imam Khomeini Hospital due to the intensification of her illness and muscular spasms. The defender had been suffering from severe pains for weeks before the date of her transfer, however her applications for transfer to hospital for treatment were previously refused.

Narges Mohammadi was previously transferred to hospital to undergo a gallbladder removal surgery on 1 July 2018, but was returned to prison immediately after her surgery, despite the fact that she was in need of an urgent medical parole. After her surgery, doctors found a growth in her stomach, however the defender was not offered further medical tests. Narges Mohammadi also has a neurological disorder which causes muscular paralysis. Due to her medical condition, she has required treatment regularly since May 2015, when she was imprisoned.

Narges Mohammadi is Deputy Director of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). She is currently serving a 16 year prison sentence for her activities at the DHRC, interviews she conducted with foreign media outlets, establishing the Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty group (also known as LEGAM) and her work with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi.

On 28 September 2016, Tehran Court of Appeals upheld Narges Mohammadi’s sentence of 16 years’ imprisonment, confirming a 10 year sentence for “membership in the Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty group”, a five year sentence for “collusion and assembly against national security” and a one year sentence for “spreading propaganda against the system”.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Narges Mohammadi and calls upon the Iranian authorities to quash the convictions against the defender, immediately release her, and provide her with all necessary medical treatment. Front Line Defenders believes that Narges Mohammadi has been convicted solely on the basis of her peaceful and legitimate work in the protection of human rights.

28 September 2016
Tehran Court of Appeals Upholds Narges Mohammadi's Sentence

On 28 September 2016, Tehran Court of Appeals upheld Ms Narges Mohammadi’s sentence. 

On 17 May, Narges Mohammadi received a 10-year sentence on for “membership in the Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty” (also known as LEGAM). LEGAM is a group campaigning against death penalty in Iran that Ms Narges Mohammadi  founded and which has been closed since her arrest. In addition to her 10-year sentence, she received five years for alleged “collusion and assembly against national security” and one year for “spreading propaganda against the system.” While in jail, Mohammadi has faced various medical challenges due to ill health, including heart trouble. She also went on hunger strike to protest the authorities’ refusal to allow her to have phone contact with her young son and daughter.

According to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the appeal court provided that Mohammadi must serve the highest sentence given, which is 10 years of imprisonment for membership in LEGAM. The article states that in the cases 'where the offenses committed are not more than three, the court shall impose the maximum punishment provided for each offense'.

13 July 2016
Narges Mohammadi Threatened While on Hunger Strike

Ms Narges Mohammadi has been on hunger strike since June 27, 2016 to protest the authorities’ refusal to allow her to have phone contact with her young son and daughter who live in Paris with their father, Taghi Rahmani. 

A judicial representative stationed at Evin prison threatened her in order to force her to end the hunger strike.

20 May 2016
Revolutionary Court sentences Narges Mohammadi to 16 years in prison

On 18 May 2016, Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Ms Narges Mohammadi to 16 years imprisonment on several counts including for “membership in the [now banned] Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty” group, for ”taking part in assembly and collusion against national security” and “committing propaganda against the state”.

Narges Mohammadi, who is currently imprisoned in Evin Prison, was arrested at her home by intelligence ministry officials on 5 May 2015. At the time of the arrest, intelligence ministry officials stated that Narges Mohammadi was being taken into custody in order to serve the remainder of the six-year prison sentence she had received on 22 April 2012, from which the human rights defender was released on bail on 31 July 2012 for medical reasons. Her sentence had originally been for 11-years' imprisonment, based on charges including the spreading of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran, supporting the families of political prisoners, membership of the DHRC and conspiring against national security.

On 3 May 2015, additional charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the state” were brought against her. They were based on her activities at the DHRC and her cooperation with the Nobel Laureate Ms Shirin Ebadi, on interviews she conducted with international media outlets, and on establishing the Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty group, which was considered by the authorities to be illegal and to be posing a risk to state security.   

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by and strongly condemns the sentencing of Narges Mohammadi as it is solely related to her peaceful and legitimate work for the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran. We urge the authorities in Iran quash the conviction against the human rights defender and release her.

8 January 2016
Ongoing judicial harassment of Narges Mohammadi

Human rights defender Ms Narges Mohammadi is currently facing further criminal charges while in detention in Evin Prison.

A hearing for Narges Mohammadi was reportedly scheduled by Iranian authorities on July 6, 2015, before Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court of Tehran. A request was made by the Ministry of Intelligence to the judge for the issuance of the maximum punishment against the human rights defender, on the basis of the charges presented against her on the hearing on 3 May 2015. These charges included “assembly and collusion against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the State.” The hearing did not take place and has thus far not been rescheduled.

The human rights defender was arrested at her home by intelligence ministry officials on 5 May 2015. At the time of the arrest, intelligence ministry officials stated that Narges Mohammadi was being taken into custody in order to serve the remainder of the six-year prison sentence she had received on 22 April 2012, from which the human rights defender was released on bail on 31 July 2012 for medical reasons. Her sentence had originally been for 11-years' imprisonment, based on a false conviction for offences including the spreading of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran, supporting the families of political prisoners, membership of the DHRC and conspiring against national security.

Days prior to her arrest, on 3 May 2015, Narges Mohammadi had attended the first hearing of her trial at Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court, where prosecutors laid down a new indictment against her. The human rights defender now faces charges of assembly and collusion against national security on the basis of her activities at the DHRC and her cooperation with the Nobel Laureate Ms Shirin Ebadi, propaganda against the state based on interviews she conducted with foreign media outlets, and establishing the Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty group, which is deemed anti-security and illegal. A rescheduling of the trial followed the indictment by the prosecutor, in order to give her lawyers an opportunity to read the prosecution's file against Narges Mohammadi.

Attempts to stifle Narges Mohammadi's human rights work have been frequent since her release on bail in July 2012. The human rights defender was banned from travelling after she met Ms Catherine Ashton, former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on 8 March 2014 at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran, and has faced interrogation about their discussion on several occasions.

8 May 2015
Human rights defender Ms. Narges Mohammadi arrested

In the early morning of 5 May 2015, Iranian intelligence ministry officials arrested human rights defender Narges Mohammadi at her home. She is currently detained in Evin Prison.

At the time of the arrest, intelligence ministry officials stated that Narges Mohammadi was being taken into custody in order to serve the remainder of the six-year prison sentence she had received on 22 April 2012, from which the human rights defender was released on bail on 31 July 2012 for medical reasons. Her sentence had originally been for 11-years' imprisonment, based on a false conviction for offences including the spreading of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran, supporting the families of political prisoners, membership of the DHRC and conspiring against national security.

Days prior to her arrest, on 3 May 2015, Narges Mohammadi had attended the first hearing of her trial at Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court, where prosecutors laid down a new indictment against her. The human rights defender now faces charges of assembly and collusion against national security on the basis of her activities at the DHRC and her cooperation with the Nobel Laureate Ms Shirin Ebadi, propaganda against the state based on interviews she conducted with foreign media outlets, and establishing the Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty group, which is deemed anti-security and illegal. A rescheduling of the trial followed the indictment by the prosecutor, in order to give her lawyers an opportunity to read the prosecution's file against Narges Mohammadi.

Attempts to stifle Narges Mohammadi's human rights work have been frequent since her release on bail in July 2012. The human rights defender was banned from travelling after she met Ms Catherine Ashton, former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on 8 March 2014 at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran, and has faced interrogation about their discussion on several occasions.