Sunday, July 26, 2015

Free Narges Mohammad

Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi was arrested on 5 May. She is on trial for charges stemming from her human rights activities. She is a prisoner of conscience.

The Intelligence Ministry has made a written request to impose the maximum punishment on human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, her husband Taghi Rahmani told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“Recently Ms. Mohammadi’s case file has included a letter from the Intelligence Ministry which recommends that the judge give her the maximum punishment. But this letter is against the law and undermines the independence of the Judiciary as well as the judge presiding over Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court,” Rahmani stated.

The latest charges against Mohammadi, who is the spokesperson for the now-banned Defenders of Human Rights Center, include “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “membership in the Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty” group, which is regarded as an illegal and anti-state group.

Since her controversial meeting with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Tehran in March 2014, Mohammadi has received ten summonses and warnings and has been questioned by security authorities several times.

Taghi Rahmani told the Campaign that his wife’s trial was due to start on July 5 but for unknown reasons she was not transferred from Evin Prison and did not appear. The judge postponed the trial but no new date has been announced. Mohammadi’s trial was originally set for May 3 but her lawyer had requested more time to prepare.

Mohammadi wrote a letter from prison addressed to Tehran’s chief prosecutor. In the letter, published in on July 6, Mohammadi criticized the authorities for not allowing her to speak to her children on the phone.

“Is it against the country’s judicial regulations to let a mother or father hear her or his child’s voice for a few minutes, a couple of times a week? If not, why is this unfair practice going on? Does a mother’s contact with her child threaten national security? Or do you just want to further punish women who criticize?” the letter asked.

Mohammadi’s family have been told that her latest detention on May 5 is to enforce the six-year prison sentence imposed on her in 2012. At the time she was held in Zanjan Prison, but because of serious medical issues she was released on 600 million tomans (US $200,000) bail.

Two hundred and fifty human rights and women’s rights activists and journalists signed a statement on May 6, demanding the release of Narges Mohammadi.

Mohammadi’s husband has asked Iran’s Minister of Intelligence to help launch an investigation into her case, as well as the cases of other individuals prosecuted in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election and who are still in prison, such as Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Seifzadeh.

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