Journalist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi arrested

Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the arrest of Narges Mohammadi, a journalist who works closely with Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and acts as spokesperson of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, an organisation founded by Ebadi that was arbitrarily banned in Iran in 2006. According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, Mohammadi was arrested by intelligence ministry officials yesterday after receiving several threats and summonses, and was taken to Tehran’s Evin prison to resume serving a six-year jail term. Mohammadi has been arrested several times in the past. After being arrested at her home on 10 June 2010, she was subjected to a series of interrogations and suffered a psychological breakdown. This led to her being granted a conditional release on 2 July 2010 and hospitalized with muscle paralysis. She was sentenced two months later to 11 years in prison on charges of “meeting and conspiring against the Islamic Republic,” “anti-government publicity,” and “collaborating with the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.” The sentence was reduced to six years on appeal in March 2011. Arrested again in the northern city of Zanjan on 21 April 2012, she was taken to Evin prison to begin serving the sentence. She was released three months later on bail of 600 million toman (480,000 euros) so that she could receive badly needed medical treatment and had been harassed by judicial officials and intelligence ministry agents ever since. She was summoned for questioning at the prosecutor’s office inside Evin prison on 1 June 2014 and, at the end of her interrogation, was told that she was banned from travelling abroad. Three days ago, on 3 May, she was summoned before a Tehran revolutionary court for alleged “activities against national security and anti-government publicity” and other “recent activities,” which have included participating in various campaigns against the death sentence and against impunity for violence. She had also been supporting the mother of Sattar Beheshti, a blogger killed while held by the cyber-police on 3 November 2012, who has been demanding justice for her son. Mohammadi’s arrest was quickly condemned both in Iran and abroad. Her fellow campaigners, including Beheshti’s mother, the well-known academic Mohammad Nourizad and Mohammad Malkion, staged a sit-in outside Evin prison. Shirin Ebadi, who is the president of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, immediately wrote an open letter to several UN special rapporteurs including Ahmed Shaheed, the special rapporteur for the human rights situation in Iran, urging them to do everything possible to obtain Mohammadi’s release. Iran is ranked 173rd out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
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Updated on 20.01.2016