Take Action for Narges Mohammadi on International Women’s Day
Narges Mohammadi (Iran) is an independent journalist and the former vice-president and spokesperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), which advocates for human rights reform and represents political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in legal proceedings. She is also involved in campaigning against the death penalty in Iran. Mohammadi suffers from a neurological disorder that can result in seizures, temporary partial paralysis, and pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in her lung.
In May 2015, Mohammadi was arrested and put on trial on charges including ‘spreading propaganda against the system’, ‘gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security’ and ‘membership of an illegal organisation whose aim is to harm national security (Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty, an organisation that campaigned against the death penalty in Iran.)’. Her trial which was scheduled to commence in May 2015 has been subject to several postponements.
Evidence used against Mohammadi included media interviews she had conducted her connections to human rights defenders, as well as her activities against the death penalty, including her work with the campaigning group, Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty.
Serious concerns for Mohammadi’s health persist following reports that she suffered several seizures in August and October 2015. According to reports, Mohammadi was taken to hospital on each occasion and on at least one instance she was returned to prison against medical advice. In a subsequent incident she was handcuffed to the bed for the first few days of her hospital stay.
- Calling on the Iranian authorities to release journalist Narges Mohammadi immediately and unconditionally;
- Expressing grave concern for the health and welfare of Narges Mohammadi, and demanding that she is given all necessary medical attention as a matter of urgency;
- Urging the authorities to allow Mohammadi the right to make telephone calls so that she may speak to her children;
- Urging them to ensure that the right to freedom of expression in Iran is fully respected in law and practice as provided for under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party.
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency
Office of the Presidency
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammed Javad Larijani c/o Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: email@example.com (Subject line: FAO Mohammad Javad Larijani)
It is recommended that you send a copy of your appeals via the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country. Contact details for embassies can be found here.
PEN members are encouraged to:
- Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the situation about freedom of expression in Iran.
- Organise public events, stage readings, press conferences or demonstrations.
- Share information about Iran and your campaigning activities for Narges Mohammadi via social media.
- Elect Narges Mohammadi as an Honorary Member of your Centre and by doing so provide long term support and advocacy for her and her family. For details of the PEN International Honorary Membership scheme, read the PEN WiPC Guide to Defending Writers Under Attack (Part V, pgs 15-20). Please let us know if you do so and we will ensure that your Centre is networked with others working on the case.
Please let us know about your activities and send us a report about them by 21 April 2016 so that we can share them with other centres.
Narges Mohammadi 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 is the recipient of both the Alexander Langer Award (2009) and the Per Anger Prize (2011) for her human rights work.
Mohammadi is the mother of eight-year-old twins, and the wife of prominent journalist and activist Taghi Rahmani, who has spent a total of 17 years in prison. Taghi Rahmani left the country in May 2011 following escalating pressure from the authorities. She and her husband are honorary members of Danish PEN. In July 2015 she wrote a moving letter to the Prosecutor General of Tehran, where she described the impact of her persecution on her children and herself.
Mohammadi has long suffered from persecution at the hands of the Iranian authorities; she has been banned from travelling abroad since 2009, when the authorities confiscated her passport. The following year Mohammadi was arrested from her home without a warrant and held in connection with her work with the Defenders of Human Rights Center. Immediately following her release on bail on 1 July 2010, Mohammadi was admitted to hospital for treatment.
PEN International first began working on her case in 2011 when a Tehran court convicted her of ‘acting against the national security’, ‘membership of the DHRC’ and ‘propaganda against the regime’ for her reporting on human rights violations, cooperation with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and visiting political prisoners. She was sentenced to serve a cumulative sentence of 11 years in prison. The sentence was reduced to six years on appeal in January 2012.
On 21 April 2012, Mohammadi was summoned to Evin prison to serve out her sentence. She was released on bail on 30 July 2012 following the severe deterioration of her health.
For further information please contact Emma Wadsworth-Jones at PEN International, Unit A, Koops Mill Mews, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: firstname.lastname@example.org