RFL/RE – A political prisoner and deputy of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran has celebrated the birthday of her children for the third time in prison, by lighting a candle.
In an open letter from prison, Narges Mohammadi, 45, has lamented, “I do not have a real and clear image of my twins, anymore”.
Ms. Mohammadi’s twins, Ali and Kiana have been living in exile in Paris along with their father, Taqi Rahmani, since 2014. Mohammadi has been allowed to talk to her children on the phone.
A prominent defender of human rights, and winner of the 2011 Per Anger Prize and Sakharov Prize (2017-2018) for defending human rights in Iran, Mohammadi was first arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” “membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center,” and “propaganda against the state.”
Upon appeal, her sentence was reduced to six years behind bars and she was released from Zanjan Prison in 2013 on medical grounds.
According to Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) Mohammadi was arrested again on May 5, 2015, two months after meeting with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief at the time, at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran to discuss the situation of human rights in Iran.
Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi with her children, Ali and Kiana.Undated.
In September 2016, Branch 26 of the Tehran Appeals Court upheld a 16-year prison sentence for “membership in the [now banned] Defenders of Human Rights Center,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” and one year for “propaganda against the state.”
Defenders of Human Rights Center was established by first Iranian and first Muslim woman Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Shirin Ebadi who has been living in exile since June 2009 in UK, after her life was threatened.
Mohammadi will be eligible for release after serving 10 years in prison.
After Hassan Rouhani’s second-term victory in Iran’s May 2017 presidential election, Mohammadi urged him to build the foundations for civil society in Iran.
“As a citizen who voted for you, I should and will be insistent on seeking my demands,” she noted, adding “I am an imprisoned civil rights activist, but I am not asking you to free me. I want to see [the dream for] a civil society come true. That is my demand.”
Rouhani has yet to respond to the letter.
Meanwhile, several members of American Physical Society, APS are laying the groundwork to launch a campaign, calling on the Islamic Republic of Iran to free a prominent Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi to receive her prize in person.
Ms. Mohammadi who has a degree in Solid-state Physics, jointly won APS’ 2018 prestigious biannual Sakharov Prize, along with Indian researcher Ravi Kuchimanchi.
The ceremonies for awarding the Sakharov Prize is scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, California from March 5 to 9, 2018.