Jailed human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi has written to the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, to protest that she can’t speak to her children on the telephone.

Nargess Mohammadi

Nargess Mohammadi

The Centre for Human Rights Defenders reports that in her letter, Mohammadi describes her situation as the mother of eight-year-old twins who had to be sent to France to join their father, Taghi Rahmani, because as a prisoner, she is no longer able to care for them. She writes: “Two months have passed since then, and I have not been allowed to contact my children even once.”

She adds that her attempts to take the matter up with prison authorities have been to no avail, as they keep telling her their superiors have not issued the necessary orders to permit such contact.

A prominent human rights activist affiliated with the Human Rights Defenders Centre, the Campaign Against Execution and the Council for Peace, Mohammadi was arrested again in May of this year to serve out a sentence from which she had previously been exempted due to her fragile health. Her arrest forced her to send her two children to France to be cared for by their father, himself a political activist who fled the country to avoid persecution.

Mohammadi has reported that in the women’s ward of Evin Prison, there are 20 women including several mothers; however, the ward does not have a telephone. Permission to use one at the telephone facility located in a different building is only granted under “exceptional and emergency situations” and in the presence of prison guards. She adds that she has been denied even this possibility.

Nargess Mohammadi reports that she also has been completely forbidden from talking to her husband, whom prison authorities have referred to only in insulting terms.