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Iran- UPDATE: Human rights defender Ms Narges Mohammadi begins six year prison sentence
On 22 April 2012, prominent Iranian human rights defender Ms Narges Mohammadi was summoned by the Ministry of the Intelligence to begin a six year prison sentence handed down by the Iranian Court of Appeal.
Narges Mohammadi has reportedly been taken to Evin Prison in Tehran. Narges Muhammadi is the deputy director of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) and founder and director of the National Peace Council. She won the Alexander Kanger award in 2009 and the Swedish Human Rights award in 2012 for her human rights activities.
Narges Mohammadi had originally been sentenced to 11 years in prison by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court on 27 September 2011, after what many observers described as a grossly unfair trial. On 4 March 2012, she was informed that her prison sentence had been reduced from 11 to 6 years by an Iranian court of appeal. She was falsely convicted of a number of offences including the spreading of propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran, supporting the families of political prisoners, membership of the DHRC and conspiring against national security. The court of appeal reached its decision to reduce the sentence on 14 February 2012, however Narges Mohammadi was only informed of the verdict on 4 March. She has been free on bail since the original sentencing in September 2011 but has now reportedly been taken to Evin Prison in Tehran.
The summons comes amid a defamation campaign against Narges Mohammadi and her husband Mr Taghi Rahmani by pro-government media accusing her of involvement in the sale of shares and the transfer of foreign currency. Narges Mohammadi and her husband have both been dismissed from their jobs and her husband was eventually forced to the flee the country due to persecution by the Iranian authorities. Both are known to be facing hardship as a result. Narges Mohammadi has been arrested and detained on numerous occasions in 2009 and 2010. While in detention in 2010, she contracted a neurological disease which required hospitalisation and prolonged treatment.
Front Line Defenders condemns the imprisonment, sentencing and unfair trial of Narges Mohammadi, and believes that they are directly related to her legitimate work in defence of human rights in Iran. Front Line Defenders sees this as part of an ongoing campaign of persecution of Iranian human rights defenders in an attempt to silence them.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against Narges Mohammadi, and guarantee that all human rights defenders in Iran are free to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
For further information on this case, please see Front Line Defenders' original appeal dated 10 October 2011(http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/16024).
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Iran. HERE