End the ordeal of Narges Mohammadi!

Free all women political prisoners in Iran!

On 27 May 2021, media outlets in Iran and from around the world reported that the courts in the Islamic Republic of Iran have sentenced Ms. Narges Mohammadi – a noted human rights activist and vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran – to 30 months imprisonment and 80 lashes for engaging in “propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic”.  According to the Associated Press, Ms. Mohammadi’s continued activities in defence of human rights in the country, including her recent issuing of an open statement condemning capital punishment as well as throwing the spotlight once more upon the regime’s savage response against protesters on the streets of Iran in November 2019, were the reasons for her being brought before the court and issued with this harsh sentence.

CODIR unequivocally condemns this completely unjust sentence imposed upon Ms. Mohammadi, whose only crime has been to uphold the universal declaration on human rights and the notion that it applies within Iran – as well as to stand in defence of the country’s women, child labourers, and those on the receiving end of the medieval-like injustices meted out towards the opponents of theocracy in Iran.  Ms. Mohammadi had only been released from the regime’s prisons in October 2020 having already served a 5.5-year sentence imposed for her previous human rights activism that the regime somehow deemed as “threatening national security”.  Her new “crime” this time around was to campaign for justice for the hundreds of innocent protesters killed in cold blood by the regime’s security forces over the course of a few days in November 2019 while protesting against a 300% increase in petrol prices.  Those protests had been sparked by a sudden announcement on Friday 15 November of a 300% increase in the price of petrol, against the backdrop of an already plummeting economy, and spread like wildfire to cities and towns across Iran.  The events of that late-November saw some of the most widespread protests in Iran since the 1979 Revolution and rocked the foundations of the Islamic Republic regime – particularly as the majority of the protesters were from the working-class and poor strata traditionally seen as the regime’s support base. 

Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is home to a significant number of notoriously brutal gaols and detention centres filled with political prisoners – including many women activists serving long sentences on trumped-up charges.  The voices of these brave women who – despite abuse, humiliation, rape, and torture – take the gravest of risks in order to expose the inhumanity of Iran’s rulers and prison authorities, should be heard and resound around the world. 

CODIR believes that the new sentence passed on Ms. Mohammadi is not only a retaliation from the regime for her steadfast human rights activism but also part of its attempt to intimidate and spread fear amongst the political opposition and society at large in Iran in the run-up to the presidential election on 18 June, which is likely to record one of its lowest turnouts owing to the Islamic Republic’s now pronounced crisis of legitimacy.  With scores of candidates for the presidency having been barred from standing, growing numbers of Iranian people are indicating that they will stay away from the polling centres on election day. 

Indeed, Jamshid Ahmadi, CODIR’s Assistant General Secretary, in condemning the harsh court sentence, pointed out that Ms. Mohammadi had recently added her voice to the calls to boycott the upcoming election… “This is a blatant attempt to add further to the ordeal of a woman who has already suffered a lot! The unwarranted sentence, based on wholly spurious grounds, is designed to send a message to the opposition to the regime inside Iran and anyone even contemplating taking a stand against it.  And it shows utter contempt for any notion of democracy, freedom, or liberty inside today’s Iran.”

CODIR condemns the inhumane verdict issued by the judiciary of the Islamic Republic regime against Ms. Narges Mohammadi – the latest act of oppression against one brave enough to raise a dissenting voice – and calls upon all those concerned with defending human and democratic rights in Iran to register their protest against the abuses committed by the theocratic dictatorship in Iran.

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