Narges Mohammadi, deputy head of Iran’s Human Rights Defenders Centre received a confirmation of sentencing for 16 years from the appeals court on Monday September 26.

Nargess Mohammadi

Nargess Mohammadi

The court refused to consider any new evidence from the defendant in making its final decision.

The jail term constitutes a series of sentences for different charges brought against Mohammadi.

For the charge of “propaganda activities against the regime”, Mohammadi is sentenced to one year in jail. For “assembly and collusion to commit a crime against national security”, a sentence of five years in jail and for “establishment and running the group LEGAM”, she has been slapped with ten years in jail. LEGAM, also known as Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty‎, is a campaign against the death penalty in Iran.

While Article 314 of the Islamic Republic’s new penal code states that a defendant handed with up to three sentences will only serve the longest, the Article has not been applied in Mohammadi’s case and so far, she is looking at 16 years in jail rather than the ten year.

Taghi Rahmani, Iranian human rights activist and Mohammadi’s spouse who is based in France has commented on the latest sentence against his wife in Facebook writing: “The appellate court has confirmed a sentence which is in effect an act of revenge on a human rights activist that has been worked to change laws and attitudes in favor of human rights laws.”

Rahmani goes on to add that while the judge had granted leave for submission of new evidence for the appeal, when they had attempted to submit the new evidence, they were given the confirmation of the imprisonment sentences totalling 16 years, issued earlier by the preliminary court.

Madyar Saminejad Iranian human rights activists based in Norway writes in his Twitter: “16 years in jail for peaceful and humanitarian activities reveals the depth of injustice and oppression in Iran’s Judiciary.”
The decision of the appeals court states that none of the objections brought against the rulings of the preliminary court are valid and hence the decisions will be upheld.

In July Narges Mohammadi was on hunger strike for 19 days because prison authorities had deprived her of the privilege of contacting her children. Mohammdi’s underage children were forced to leave Iran since their mother was imprisoned last year. They have joined their father who has also fled to France to avoid state persecution triggered by his activism.

In addition to her human rights activities, Narges Mohammadi became a more focused target of state persecution in 2013 after she met with Catherine Ashton who was visiting Iran in the capacity of EU foreign policy chief.

The meeting was arranged independent from Iranian foreign ministry at the Norwegian embassy and used as a forum to discuss human and women’s rights issues in Iran.

Iranian authorities condemned the event as highly irregular and President Hassan Rohani’s administration was grilled by hardliners for allowing it under its watch.