Iran’s Narges Mohammadi, voice of regime victims, imprisoned again
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns Iranian journalist and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi’s violent arrest during an event near Tehran on 16 November to commemorate the more than 1,000 victims of a bloody crackdown on protests in November 2019.
Well known for both her articles and her actions in defence of human rights in Iran, Mohammadi is back in prison after 13 months of freedom. She was released on 8 October 2020 after more than five years behind bars, during which she was beaten.
The spokesperson for Iran’s Centre for Human Rights Defenders, Mohammadi was subjected to direct physical violence by the director of Tehran’s Evin prison and several guards when she protested against her transfer to Zanjan prison, 300 km northwest of Tehran, in December 2019.
During her 13 months of freedom, Mohammadi continued to be subjected to judicial harassment, which included being arrested at least eight times, above all because of her support for the families of imprisoned journalists and other prisoners of conscience.
In an Instagram post on 26 September, she reported that the judicial authorities had confirmed a decision to give her a new sentence of 36 months in prison, 80 lashes and a fine on charges of “anti-government propaganda by means of the publication of false information” and “insulting government officials,” including Evin prison’s director.
Her husband, Taghi Rahmani, told RSF he spoke to her briefly by phone the day after her arrest. He said she told him: “I’m in security section 2A of Evin prison [a section controlled by the Revolutionary Guards] and they’ve told me I must serve 30 months in prison and receive 80 lashes, but as long as I live, I won’t let myself be flogged.” The call was cut off at this point.
Rahmani added that flogging and solitary confinement are forms of torture that she and the families of the judicial system’s victims have been denouncing, and that is why she is now “in solitary confinement and waiting to be flogged.” Rahmani has lived in France with their two children since 2012.
The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, which specialises in human rights issues, meanwhile adopted a resolution on 17 November, condemning Iran yet again for its flagrant human rights abuses, including its crackdowns on protests “using weapons of war,” according to Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is ranked 174th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.