seyede Narges Mohammadi
|Occupation||Human rights activist|
|Organization||Defenders of Human Rights Center|
Taghi Rahmani (m. 2001)
|Awards||Alexander Langer Award (2009)|
Andrei Sakharov Prize (2018)
Narges Mohammadi (Persian: نرگس محمدی; born 21 April 1972) is an Iranian human rights activist and the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.. In May 2016, she was sentenced in Tehran to 16 years imprisonment for political crimes.
Mohammadi was born in Zanjan, Iran. She attended Imam Khomeini International University, receiving a degree in physics, and became a professional engineer. During her university career, she wrote articles supporting women's rights in the student newspaper and was arrested at two meetings of the political student group Tashakkol Daaneshjuyi Roshangaraan ("Illuminating Student Group"). She was also active in a mountain climbing group, but due to her political activities, was later banned from joining climbs.
She went on to work as a journalist for several reformist newspapers, and published a book of political essays titled The reforms, the Strategy and the Tactics. In 2003, she joined the Defenders of Human Rights Center, headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi; she later became the organization's vice president.
In 1999, she married to fellow pro-reform journalist Taghi Rahmani, who not long after was arrested for the first time. Rahmani moved to France in 2012 after serving a total of fourteen years of prison sentences, but Mohammadi remained to continue her human rights work. Mohammadi and Rahmani have twin children, Ali and Kiana.
Mohammadi was first arrested in 1998 for her criticisms of the Iranian government and spent a year in prison. In April 2010, she was summoned to the Islamic Revolutionary Court for her membership in the DHRC. She was briefly released on US$50,000 bail but re-arrested several days later and detained at Evin prison. Mohammadi's health declined while in custody, and she developed an epilepsy-like disease causing her to periodically lose muscle control. After a month, she was released and allowed to go to the hospital.
In July 2011, Mohammadi was prosecuted again, and found guilty of "acting against the national security, membership of the DHRC and propaganda against the regime". In September she was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment. Mohammadi stated that she had learned of the verdict only through her lawyers and had been "given an unprecedented 23-page judgment issued by the court in which they repeatedly likened my human rights activities to attempts to topple the regime". In March 2012, the sentence was upheld by an appeals court, though it was reduced to six years. On 26 April, she was arrested to begin her sentence.
The sentence was protested by the British Foreign Office, which called it "another sad example of the Iranian authorities' attempts to silence brave human rights defenders". Amnesty International designated her a prisoner of conscience and called for her immediate release. Reporters Without Borders issued an appeal on Mohammadi's behalf on the ninth anniversary of photographer's Zahra Kazemi death in Evin prison, stating that Mohammadi was a prisoner whose life was "in particular danger". In July 2012, an international group of lawmakers called for her release, including US Senator Mark Kirk, former Canadian Attorney General Irwin Cotler, UK MP Denis MacShane, Australian MP Michael Danby, Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, and Lithuanian MP Emanuelis Zingeris.
On July 31, 2012, Mohammadi was released from prison.
On 31 October 2014, Mohammadi made a moving speech at the gravesite of Sattar Beheshti, stating, “How is it that the Parliament Members are suggesting a Plan for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, but nobody spoke up two years ago, when an innocent human being by the name of Sattar Beheshti died under torture in the hands of his interrogator?” Despite the act of extreme violence against Beheshti, which was met with an international uproar back in 2012, his case still raises questions and Evin prison still witnesses torture and unfair arrests of human rights defenders today. The video of Mohammadi’s 31 October speech quickly went viral on social media networks resulting in her being summoned to Evin Prison Court. “In the summons I received on 5 November 2014, it is stated that I must turn myself in ‘for charges,’ but there is no further explanation about these charges," she stated.
On May 5, 2015, Ms. Mohammadi was again arrested on the basis of new charges.
In May 2016, a revolutionary court in Tehran found Ms. Mohammadi guilty of “establishing and running the illegal splinter group Legam”, a human rights movement that campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty. She received a sentence of 16 years in prison. In January 2019 Ms. Mohammadi was reported to have begun a hunger strike, along with the detained British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, in Tehran’s Evin prison, to protest being denied access to medical care.
Awards and Accolades
- 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize from the American Physical Society
- 2016 Human Rights Award of the German city of Weimar
- 2011 Per Anger Prize, the Swedish governments international award for human rights
- 2010 When Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi won the Felix Ermacora Human Rights Award she dedicated it to Mohammadi. "This courageous woman deserves this award more than I do," Ebadi said.
- 2009 Alexander Langer Award, named for peace activist Alexander Langer. The award carried a 10,000 euro honorarium.
- Farangis Najibullah (27 February 2008). "Iran: Activist 'Dynamic Duo' Fight for Human Rights". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- Muhammad Sahimi (10 May 2012). "Nationalist, Religious, and Resolute: Narges Mohammadi". PBS. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan (26 April 2012). "Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi arrested". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan (24 May 2016). "UN condemns 16-year jail sentence for Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- "Narges Mohammadi, from Iran, recepient(sic) of the international Alexander Langer award 2009". Alexander Langer Foundation. 18 June 2009. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan (28 September 2011). "Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi jailed for 11 years". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan (7 March 2012). "Iran steps up crackdown on journalists and activists". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Urgent Action: human rights Defender imprisoned". Amnesty International. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- "Lives of several imprisoned journalists and netizens in danger". Reporters Without Borders. 10 July 2012. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "International Lawmakers Call on Iran to Release Narges Mohammadi". kirk.senate.gov. 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Iran: List of human rights defenders behind bars". Worldwide Movement for Human Rights. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
- "Iran: Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Activist Narges Mohammadi". www.gc4hr.org. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
- Erdbrink, Thomas (5 May 2015). "Iran Arrests Prominent Rights Activist". Retrieved 13 June 2017 – via NYTimes.com.
- "Zaghari-Ratcliffe to go on hunger strike in Iranian jail". The Irish Times. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- "Iranian Nobel Laureate Dedicates Prize To Jailed Colleague". Radio Free Europe. June 16, 2010.
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