Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi. (Supplied)

March 10, 2022

Prominent Iranian human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi says she refuses to return to prison to continue her sentence despite receiving a summons by authorities.

Mohammadi spoke to RFE/RL’s Radio Farda on March 8 while on medical leave from prison to recover from a recent surgery for blocked arteries. Before her procedure, she was serving her sentence at the Gharchak women’s prison near Tehran.

Mohammadi said she was given leave after one of her friends posted her bail, which was set at 500 million tomans (about $120,000).

“Unfortunately, the judiciary has called my bailiff and said that I have to return to prison in the next few days,” Mohammadi said in a telephone interview with Radio Farda.

“I will talk to my guarantor. I consider the sentence illegal, and I don’t believe it should be obeyed,” she added.

Mohammadi was arrested in November 2021 after she attended the memorial of a man killed by Iranian security forces during nationwide protests in November 2019.

In late January, a court sentenced her to another eight years and two months in prison, as well as 74 lashes.

Mohammadi said her trial lasted less than 5 minutes and that she didn’t have access to a lawyer.

“I told them several times that I want my lawyer, you are putting me on trial and I can’t defend myself, yet they didn’t allow me to contact a lawyer,” she said.

She also blasted authorities for having used guns to intimidate her during her arrest.

“Why did they use a gun? Why did they point a Colt at me?” Mohammadi said.

She said judicial officials should explain why security forces use guns to arrest peaceful activists like her.

“This is a serious warning,” she said.

Before her imprisonment, Mohammadi was the vice president of the banned Center for Human Rights Defenders in Iran.

She has been repeatedly jailed and harassed by Iranian authorities.

Human Rights Watch has called on Iran to release Mohammadi “immediately and unconditionally.”

“Iranian authorities’ cruel detention and prosecution of Narges Mohmmadi only one year after she was released from an earlier prison term and then piling on more unfair prison sentences are clearly intended to crush her into silence at all costs,” HRW said in a statement released in late January.

In May 2021, a Tehran court sentenced Mohammadi to two and a half years in prison, 80 lashes, and two separate fines on charges that include “spreading propaganda against the system.”

In 2016, she was sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges that rights groups said were solely related to her human rights activities.

Following her release from prison in October 2020 after her sentence was reduced, she continued to criticize human rights abuses in Iran and accused prison authorities of sexually harassing her and other female prisoners.

A journalist and an engineer, Mohammadi has been awarded several prestigious prizes, including the American Physical Society’s Andrei Sakharov Prize in 2018 for outstanding leadership in upholding human rights.

RFE-RL

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.