Thursday, 19 May 2016
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the ten-year jail sentence that a Tehran judge has just passed on Narges Mohammadi, a journalist and spokesperson for Iran’s Centre for Human Rights Defenders.
Her family was notified yesterday of the sentence, the outcome of a flawed trial held under the influence of the intelligence ministry and Revolutionary Guards before a Tehran revolutionary court on 20 April.
“Narges Mohammadi is an information hero who is a credit to journalism and the defence of human rights,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Such a heavy sentence shows the iniquitous character of Iranian justice. President Rouhani cannot remain silent in the face of such a judicial outrage even if everyone knows the judicial systems takes its orders from the Supreme Leader.”
Mohammadi was sentenced to five years in prison for “meeting and conspiring against the Islamic Republic,” one year for “anti-government propaganda” and ten years for working with Legam, an outlawed campaign for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran.
This totals 16 years but, under a law adopted in 2015, a person sentenced to several jail terms serves only the severest one so, in practice, Mohammadi was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Her husband, Taghi Rahmani, told RSF: “This sentence is an act of revenge against not only Narges but also all of Iran’s civil society. It was arranged jointly by the Revolutionary Guards and the intelligence ministry to intimidate activists who provide information about human rights violations in Iran, including the situation of prisoners of conscience.”
At an event that RSF organized at the Théâtre du Rond Point in Paris on 2 May, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo awarded the City of Paris medal to four journalists proposed by RSF. One of them was Mohammadi, who sent a poignant message to the event from her Tehran cell.
Mohammadi has spent many long periods in prison in connection with her human rights activism since 1998. Her current spell in prison began in May 2015.
Her health is in danger but she is being denied the medical treatment she needs. In October 2015, she was taken from prison to a Tehran hospital, where she spent ten days handcuffed to a bed before being returned to prison against medical advice.
Ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Iran continues to be one of the world’s five biggest prisons for journalists, with a total of 30 professional and citizen-journalists currently detained.