Home Page > News Item > IRAN: Human rights defender and journalist Nargess Mohammadi (f) summoned to serve out a six-year sentence; serious health concerns.

25 April 2012

RAN 20/12
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is appalled by the detention of prominent Iranian human rights activist and journalist Nargess Mohammadi, who was summoned to serve out a six-year prison term on 21 April 2012. Her health is said to be extremely fragile, and fears for her well-being in detention are acute. PEN considers Nargess Mohammadi to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.

According to PEN’s information, award-winning activist and journalist Nargess Mohammadi, formerly the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) founded by Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, was arrested from her home in the northern city of Zanjan on 21 April 2012 after receiving an intelligence ministry summons. She is believed to have been transferred to the Women’s Ward of Tehran’s Evin prison to serve out a six-year prison sentence.

Nargess Mohammadi was sentenced on 26 September 2011 to eleven years in prison by a court in Tehran for ‘acting against the national security’, ‘membership of the DHRC’ and ‘propaganda against the regime’ for her reporting on human rights violations, cooperation with Shirin Ebadi and visiting political prisoners. She remained free on bail, but on 4 March 2012 an appeals court confirmed the conviction, reducing the sentence to six years.

Nargess Mohammadi was first arrested on 10 June 2010, and released on bail on 1 July 2010 following a severe deterioration in her health. After her release she spent a month in hospital, and is said to be suffering from muscular paralysis which is exacerbated under stress and pressure. There are mounting concerns for her well-being in detention.

Mohammadi is the mother of 6-year-old twins, and the wife of prominent journalist and activist Taghi Rahmani, who has spent a total of seventeen years in prison. Taghi Rahmani reportedly fled the country in May 2011 under escalating pressure from the authorities, but Mohammadi decided to stay in Iran together with her children. She and her husband are honorary members of Danish PEN.

Other members of the banned Human Rights Defenders Centre have been the target of continuous persecution by Islamic Republic authorities in recent years. They include lawyer and journalist Nasrin Soutadeh, currently serving a six-year sentence.

Please send appeals:
Protesting the arrest of Nargess Mohammadi, who is said to be seriously ill;
Calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and on humanitarian grounds;
Seeking assurances of her well-being in detention, and urging that she has full access to family visits, legal representation and all necessary medical care whilst detained.

Appeals to:
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street,
Islamic Republic of Iran.

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran.

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: “Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad”)

If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

For further information please contact Cathy McCann at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: cathy.mccann@pen-internationalpen.org