Iran Court Hands Down New Sentence Against Nobel Laureate

Human Rights

Last week, an Iranian court imposed a new bogus sentence on imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi. Branch 29 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Mohammadi to another year in Iran’s Evin prison on charges of “propaganda against the state.”

In January 2022, the same court, Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, sentenced her to two years prison and 74 lashes.

In imposing the additional sentence, the court cited Mohammadi’s call to boycott Iran’s recent parliamentary elections, her letters to lawmakers in Sweden and Norway supporting Iranian political prisoners, and her advocacy to governments in support of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests. It also pointed to her criticism of Iranian authorities’ torture and sexual assault of Dina Ghalibaf, an Iranian journalist and student of political science.

In December 2023, Mohammadi’s two children delivered her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, in which she noted: “I write this message from behind the high, cold walls of a prison. The Iranian people, with perseverance, will overcome repression and authoritarianism.”

Human Rights Watch and others have long documented Iranian authorities’ record of brutally repressing dissent, including security forces’ extensive crackdown on the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests following the death of Mahsa Jina Amini in morality police custody in September 2022. Iranian authorities have frequently targeted prominent rights defenders like Mohammadi, who has boldly campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty and has been outspoken in opposing Iranian authorities’ repressive policies.

Mohammadi is serving consecutive prison sentences, including prolonged solitary confinement of 135 days, which United Nations experts have recognized as a form of torture. Human Rights Watch has documented a pattern of serious violations in Evin prison and other detention facilities and prisons across Iran.

Mohammadi repeatedly called for her latest trial to be public in the presence of the media and independent observers and activists. Yet, according her lawyer, instead of holding a public trial, the authorities conducted the trial in her absence. The #FreeNargesCoalition—composed of PEN America, Reporters without Borders, and Front Line Defenders—and Human Rights Watch have called for Mohammadi’s immediate and unconditional release.

“Western governments should not postpone democracy and human rights by adopting strategies focused on the continuation of the Islamic Republic’s rule,” Mohammadi said in her Nobel speech. “Resistance is alive, and the struggle endures.”

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