Human Rights Watch called on Iran to "immediately and unconditionally" release Narges Mohmmadi, a prominent human rights campaigner sent back to prison this week.
Tara Sepehrifar, senior Iran researcher at HRW, said Friday that Mohmmadi’s “cruel detention and prosecution” was “clearly intended to crush her into silence at all costs.”
Mohmmadi was the spokesperson for the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran and campaigned against Iran’s use of the death penalty. After serving more than eight years in an Iranian prison on trumped-up national security charges, Mohmmadi’s 16-year sentence was cut short and she was released in October 2020.
In November 2021, Mohmmadi was rearrested after attending a memorial service for an individual killed during Iran’s deadly crackdown on nationwide protests in November 2019.
Earlier this month, Branch 26 of Tehran’s revolutionary court delivered her sentence following a five-minute trial. Mohmmadi was handed six years in prison for “assembly and collusion to act against national security” and two years in prison and 74 lashes for "acting against national security and disrupting public order,” according to her husband Taghi Rahmani.
Rahmani, who is based in France, said his wife also received a two-year ban on membership in political parties and "activities in social and digital platforms" as well as a two-year internal exile. Mohmmadi’s trial was held behind closed doors and she was denied access to a lawyer, Rahmani said.
Mohmmadi is one of many rights defenders imprisoned in Iran after trials widely criticized by the international community as grossly unfair. Iranian authorities are also holding more than a dozen dual nationals, including several Americans, on vague spying charges.
“One by one, the Iranian authorities are trying to silence the voices of dissent in Iran,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran. “The Iranian government fears these brave individuals because they speak truth to power and their voices carry great authority in Iranian society."