Iran sentences activist to 30 months jail, flogging

Mohammadi, 49, a campaigner against death penalty, was spokeswoman for the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran


AFP May 27, 2021
Iranian rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi was released from jail in October, but faces a return to jail after being handed a new sentence of 80 lashes and 30 months incarceration. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Iranian rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi, released from jail in October, has been handed a new sentence of 80 lashes and 30 months in jail, her lawyer said Thursday.

Mohammadi, 49, a campaigner against the death penalty, was spokeswoman for the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran -- founded by lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi -- when she was arrested in May 2015.

At that time, the mother-of-two was handed a 10-year prison sentence for "forming and managing an illegal group", among other charges, but was released last year after her sentence was reduced.

However, on Tuesday, the reformist newspaper Etemad reported she had been tried and found guilty of "propaganda against the system" of the Islamic republic, as well as "defamation" " and "rebellion against the prison authority".

The paper said she was charged with having "issued a statement against the death penalty", of having accused prison officials of "torture and harassment", and of organising a sit-in protest while in prison.

She was sentenced "to 80 lashes, 30 months in prison and two fines", the paper reported.

Her lawyer, Mahmoud Behzadi-Rad, confirmed the report to AFP, adding that Mohammadi does not intend to appeal given the "circumstances", without providing further details.

According to international press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF), during her detention Mohammadi was moved from Tehran's Evin prison to a prison in Zanjan, in northwestern Iran.

The journalist had "lodged a complaint against her immoral and illegal transfer", her lawyer said.

Etemad newspaper said the activist had also claimed she was "beaten and harassed" in Evin prison.

"Instead of examining her complaint, justice officials opened another case against my client," Behzadi-Rad said.

The European Union called the sentencing "a worrying development".

"Mohammadi has devoted her life to the cause of human rights," an EU spokesperson said in a statement.

"The EU calls on Iran to review Mrs Mohammadi's case in compliance with the applicable international human rights law, and taking into account her deteriorating health condition."

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