After Iran’s Attorney General slammed a number of MPs criticizing the judiciary’s treatment of Human Rights Activist Narges Mohammadi and accused them of “lending support to and voicing the concerns of the country’s enemies”, the human rights activist responded from jail saying the judiciary should publicize the indictment against her and every page of her defense as well as every deed in her life to allow the public to sit in judgement.
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, Iran’s Attorney General, said last week that a number of MPs have written to the head of the judiciary and called for support of those whose are serving time for national security charges (indirectly referring to Narges Mohammadi). He indicated that the judiciary has evidence against this individual and the MPs should not assume that the person they are demanding clemency for is “a good person”.
These statements came after thirteen Iranian MPs signed a letter to the head of Iran’s Judiciary expressing concern over the treatment of Narges Mohammadi, a political prisoner affiliated with the Defenders for Human Rights Centre, an organization based in Iran that has been active in defending the right to life as well as the rights of women, political prisoners and minorities.
Narges Mohammadi is a mother of two and is now serving 16-year sentence in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.
While many activists have welcomed the initiative taken by these MPs to address the cause of Narges Mohammadi and the 16-year sentence she has received, others have expressed dismay over the low number of signatories.
Mohammadi responded this week from jail saying that she has repeatedly demanded for her court to be opened to public and the media but the judiciary insisted on keeping it behind closed doors. She expressed confidence that a public review of her case would reveal her innocence.
Speaking at the Congress of Martyrs in Northern Khorasan last week, in reference to the letter in support of Mohammadi, the Attorney General described “an ominous triangle” working against the Islamic Republic with one side comprised of “human rights pretenders outside of the country” and another side of “human rights pretenders inside the country trained and directed by foreigners”.
The third side, Montazeri said, are like these MPs who without knowing better, are lending support to the other sides of this triangle (i.e. the foreign powers). He called on the MPs to make sure they are not stepping into the shoes of the country’s enemies.
Mohammadi writes that with all the violations of prisoners rights and threats against women inmates, it is she who is under constant threat. She insists however that nothing will silence her in her demand for justice.
Mohammadi goes on to say that she will serve out her sentence in compliance with the law; however, adds that her case is like many thousands of similar cases against “honourable Iranians” who have been sacrificing their lives and livelihoods for justice.
The thirteen MPs have questioned the 16 year prison sentence handed to Narges Mohammadi saying it threatens the “openness to healthy criticism causing social rigidity and stagnation”.
They have called for a review of Mohammadi’s case and a reconsideration of her sentence. Currently, Mohammadi has to serve at least ten years of this 16 year sentence. Mohammadi’s lawyer has announced that he is appealing her 16 year sentence and is hopeful that the Supreme Court would overturn the decision. The sentence has already been upheld by the appeals court and now her only hope is the Supreme Court.
Mohammadi is a prominent face in Iran’s human rights community. She is a member of LEGAM, a campaign to end capital punishment in Iran, a member of Women’s Civic Association and the Chief Executive of Iran’s Peace Council. She was arrested following the disputed 2009 elections and sentenced to six years in jail for the charges of “assembly and conspiracy against national security, propaganda against the regime and membership in the Human Rights Defenders Centre”. She was briefly released from jail for medical reasons but rearrested in May of 2015. While in jail, she was also slapped with the charge of “running the illegal group LEGAM” and given another ten years for this charge.
Following her last arrest, her two minor children had to be sent out of the country to join their father Taghi Rahmani, another Iranian political dissident who had fled the country to avoid persecution.