Paris-Geneva, November 7, 2014. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), expresses its concern for the freedom and well-being of human rights defender Ms. Nargess Mohammadi following reports that she has been summoned to appear before the Prosecutor’s Office.
Ms. Nargess Mohammadi, Spokesperson and Vice-President of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, has been summoned to appear before the Prosecutor’s Office based in Evin Prison on November 8, 2014.
On February 14, 2012, Ms. Nargess Mohammadi was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion against the national security,” “membership in an illegal group” (referring to the DHRC), and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” She appealed this conviction, but her sentence was upheld and she was taken into custody on April 21, 2012 . Ms. Mohammadi was released on bail on July 31, 2012 for medical reasons, and has since continued to advocate and work for the defence of human rights in Iran.
On March 8, 2014, Ms. Mohammadi met the then High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, Ms. Catherine Ashton during her official visit in Tehran. Ms. Mohammadi was accompanied by the mother of blogger Sattar Beheshti, who died in police custody under torture two years ago. This meeting resulted in numerous attacks against Ms. Mohammadi by ultra-conservative circles and press labelling her as a “seditionist,” and a notice from the Islamic Revolution Prosecutor’s Office on April 31 that she was banned from travelling abroad (although her passport had already been confiscated during another arrest in 2008).
On June 1, she was summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office based in Evin prison and interrogated for several hours. The magistrate questioning her reportedly asked her to defend herself against numerous charges including “disturbing the public opinion” and “assembly and collusion against the national security.” These charges were reportedly related to Ms. Mohammadi’s active participation in various activities including meetings where participants criticised the government’s “Citizenship Charter,” and discussed “International Women’s Day,” and “the Day of Clean Air.”
On October 22, Ms. Mohammadi was among a large number of women and other activists protesting outside the Parliament against the recent acid attacks on women in Iran. In the final week of October, she received a notice summoning her to the Prosecutor’s Office in Evin Prison. Nevertheless, Ms. Mohammadi has continued her human rights activities: on November 3, she delivered a strongly-worded speech during a ceremony commemorating the 2nd anniversary of Mr. Sattar Beheshti’s death.
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the ongoing judicial harassment of Ms. Nargess Mohammadi, which seems merely aimed at punishing her for her human rights activities. Considering her pending sentence of six years in prison and her recent human rights activities, the Observatory fears that Ms. Mohammadi’s summons on November 8 may lead to her rearrest on fabricated charges.
Accordingly, the Observatory calls upon the Iranian authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Nargess Mohammadi and all human rights defenders in Iran. Furthermore, the Observatory demands the authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Ms. Nargess Mohammadi and all human rights defenders in Iran.
For further information, please contact:
· FIDH: Arthur Manet / Audrey Couprie: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
· OMCT: Miguel Martín Zumalacárregui: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 24