Posts Tagged ‘Narges Mohammadi’

Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Narges Mohammadi awarded APS’ Sakharov Prize 2018

October 28, 2017

Only yesterday I referred to the fact that there are 3 international awards with Sakharov in the name [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/10/27/european-parliaments-sakharov-prize-awarded-to-venezuela-opposition/], and now I see that on 27 October 2017 the American Physical Society (APS) has awarded Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi its Sakharov Prize 2018. For more on the award see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/andrei-sakharov-prize-aps. Praising Mohammadi, APS has averred that she was awarded the prize “for her leadership in campaigning for peace, justice, and the abolition of the death penalty and for her unwavering efforts to promote the human rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, despite persecution that has forced her to suspend her scientific pursuits and endure lengthy incarceration.” [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/narges-mohammadi/

An Indian researcher, Ravi Kuchimanchi has also been awarded the prize “for his continued research in physics while simultaneously advocating for global policies that reflect science; for leading sustainable development, human rights, and social justice efforts; and for creating a vibrant international volunteer movement that learns from, works with, and empowers communities in India.”

In 2011 Mohammadi won the 2011 Per Anger Prize for defending human rights in Iran. In September 2016, the Tehran Appeals Court upheld a 16-year prison sentence for “membership in the [now banned] Defenders of Human Rights Center,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” and one year for “propaganda against the state.”

Prominent human rights organizations have repeatedly called for Mohammadi’s immediate release.

Source: Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Awarded Sakharov Prize

Rouhani’s Iran disappoints massively on human rights

August 23, 2017

Those who held hopes that with the re-election of the ‘moderate’ President, Hassan Rouhani, things would also improve in Iran for the large number of human rights defenders in detention will be disappointed. In fact many of his supporters are frustrated by his failing to enact numerous reforms he promised, including the release of HRDs. Here some of the recent developments:

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Lifetime Achievements in Human Rights: 4 Human Rights Defenders

February 24, 2017

Anna Neistat, Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International, writes in the Huffington Post of 23 February 2017 about 4 Human Rights Defenders who deserve a “Lifetime Achievements” Oscar. Since it’s awards season, Amnesty International is paying tribute to four human rights heroes whose dramatic stories could – and should – be made into movies:

Itai Peace Dzamara

It’s been almost two years since Zimbabwean journalist and activist Itai Peace Dzamarawas dragged from a barbers’ chair by five armed men while he was getting a haircut.  Dzamara, the leader of a pro-democracy movement called “Occupy Africa Unity Square”, had long been considered an enemy of the state by the Zimbabwean government. Just two days before his abduction he had delivered a speech at an opposition rally in Harare, calling for mass action against the deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe. If this were a movie, justice would have been done long ago. Dzamara would have been returned to his wife and children, and the men who abducted him held accountable. But this isn’t Hollywood. This is Zimbabwe, where basic rights and freedoms have been trampled on throughout the long years of Robert Mugabe’s reign. As Itai Peace Dzamara and his family know, anyone who dares to speak out is a target for intimidation, harassment and arrest, and there’s no happy ending in sight. Despite a court ruling ordering state security agents to investigate Dzamara’s disappearance, there were gaps in the investigation and his whereabouts remains a mystery. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/05/05/itai-dzamaras-disappearance-worrying-for-all-human-rights-defenders-in-zimbabwe/]

Berta Cáceres 

GOLDMAN ENVIRONMENTAL FOUNDATION
 

Like the audience of a horror movie, the people around Berta could see that terrible danger was coming her way – but they were powerless to stop it. Honduras has the highest number of killings per capita of environmental and land activists in the world. The vast majority of these killings go unsolved and unpunished. One story that really stands out in this deadly context is that of Berta Cáceres. Berta was the leader and co-founder of an organisation that was campaigning against the construction of a hydroelectric project on the ancestral lands of indigenous communities in Honduras.  In the early hours of 2 March 2016, she was murdered in her own home. Berta knew that she was putting her life in danger, but she was willing to take the risk to stand up for indigenous communities.  Like the audience of a horror movie, the people around Berta could see that terrible danger was coming her way – but they were powerless to stop it. Despite the stark warning that her death served, environmental activists in Honduras say that stopping their work is not an option – no-one else will defend their communities and rights. They continue Berta’s work every day, reminding us that we should never take freedom for granted. It is essential that Berta’s assassination is solved, to show that there is a price to pay for attacking and killing environmental activists. Berta’s story ended in tragedy, but we will not stop fighting until we are sure that other activists will not meet the same fate. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/03/07/exceptional-response-from-ngo-world-on-killing-of-berta-caceres/]

Sirikan Charoensiri

Sirikan Charoensiri, also known as “June”, is a young lawyer who has bravely stood up for human rights during a dark period of military rule in Thailand. In June 2015, she was on hand at a peaceful protest by pro-democracy student activists in Bangkok to monitor the situation and provide legal representation, if necessary.  She now finds herself facing sedition charges and a potential trial in a military court alongside her clients. She also faces charges in two additional cases relating to her defence of the student activists and could be imprisoned for up to 15 years. As the Thai authorities have escalated their crackdown in the name of security, people who stand up for human rights in the country are increasingly falling foul of a government intent on silencing dissent. As June herself put it: “There is now an environment where risk is visible and imminent.” [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/12/01/international-day-of-women-human-rights-defenders-agents-of-change-under-pressure/]

Narges Mohammadi

Narges is a prisoner of conscience who should be lauded, not locked up, for her human rights work. In Iran, human rights defenders and other peaceful critics are subject to relentless harassment. Over the past year, those jailed after shockingly unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts including lawyers, bloggers, students, women’s rights activists, filmmakers and even musicians.  Human rights defender Narges Mohammadi knows better than most how vengeful the Iranian authorities can be towards anyone who dissents. She is currently serving a total of 22 years in prison for speaking out against issues such as Iran’s prolific use of the death penalty and acid attacks on women. What makes her situation even worse is that she is critically ill and cannot receive proper medical care in prison. Just as cruelly, the authorities have at times denied her access to her young children, who had to leave Iran to live with their father in France after she was jailed. Narges is a prisoner of conscience who should be lauded, not locked up, for her human rights work. We will continue to fight until she is free.[https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/06/12/retaliation-against-iranian-human-rights-defender-for-meeting-with-ashton/]

Itai, Berta, Sirikan and Narges are just a handful of the outstanding human rights defenders around the world who deserve recognition, but have instead been silenced by forces of cruelty, injustice and repression.

Source: Lifetime Achievements: Paying Tribute to 4 Human Rights Heroes | The Huffington Post

Iran: shameful sentences for Narges Mohammadi, Issa Saharkhiz, Arash Sadeghi – no detente in human rights

September 30, 2016

© International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

There was some hope that with the ‘nuclear agreement’ Iran would relent in its persecution of human rights defenders. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/human-rights-defenders-squeezed-by-geo-politics-the-cases-of-colombia-iran-and-cuba/#more-6957] It now seems clear that this is not the case:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Amnesty International, OMCT and FIDH and many others condemned a decision by an Iranian appeals court to uphold a 16-year jail sentence against journalist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi. Under a law passed last year, she will ‘only’ serve the sentence linked to the most important charge – in this case 10 years for “forming and managing an illegal group” which pressed for an end to capital punishment. Mohammadi, 44, was the spokesperson of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders and campaigned for an end to the death penalty in Iran. 2003 Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi who founded the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, said:  “I condemn this sentence imposed by the Iranian judicial system as Narges’s only crime is to be a human rights defender in a country that flouts these rights“.

Mohammadi went on hunger strike in June after being denied phone contact with her children, who live with their father in France. The authorities relented after 20 days of the hunger strike. [see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/retaliation-against-iranian-human-rights-defender-for-meeting-with-ashton/]

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Retaliation against Iranian Human Rights Defender for meeting with Ashton

June 12, 2014

Reprisals are not limited to human rights defenders cooperating with the UN. Narges Mohammadi, a prominent human rights defender in Iran, told the NGO ‘International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran’ that new charges have been brought against her stemming from her March 8, 2014 meeting with the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Mohammadi was charged with “propaganda against the state” and “collusion against national security” for her meeting with Ashton at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran. She was released on $10,000 bail. [Mohammadi was one of several women activists who accepted an invitation to meet the EU foreign policy head during her March visit to Tehran. The meeting took Iranian officials by surprise and unleashed a flurry of criticism by conservatives who described the meeting as “foreign interference in Iranian domestic affairs” and labeled the Iranian participants as foreign collaborators.]

Mohammadi stated: “I have been ‘charged’ with every single civil activity I have engaged in since my release from Zanjan Prison in August 2012, such as participating in gatherings on women’s rights, air pollution, and [Rouhani’s] Citizenship Rights Charter. I was also accused of honoring families of political prisoners at meetings, or attending a gathering with Gonabadi Dervishes in front of the Prosecutor’s Office, or giving interviews to media outside Iran. I told them there that when you fit all my civil activities into these two charges, it means that I must remain silent and still.”

Mohammadi was arrested in 2009 and charged with “assembly and collusion against national security,” “membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center,” and “propaganda against the state.” She was first sentenced to 11 years in prison, but Branch 54 of the Tehran Appeals Court reduced her sentence to six years in prison. She was released in 2013 for medical reasons after a severe illness in Zanjan prison.

Prominent Rights Defender Faces New Charges for Her Meeting with Ashton : International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah sentenced to nine years in jail: Iran does it again!

May 3, 2012

And the virtual ink on my previous post is hardly dry and I come across the case of Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, just but not justly sentenced to 9 year prison. Iran can hardly be surprised that it leads the table of HRDS honored in the context of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

A prominent lawyer who worked on the case of a Christian pastor on death row in Iran for apostasy, which made headlines around the world, Dadkhah has been sentenced to nine years in jail. “I have been convicted of acting against the national security, spreading propaganda against the regime and keeping banned books at home,” he said. Iranian authorities have used such vague charges in recent years to incriminate activists and lawyers in recent years. He had also been banned from teaching at universities or practicing law for an extra 10 years.

Dadkhah has represented several political and human rights activists jailed in the aftermath of the country’s 2009 disputed elections. He has also been the lawyer of the 32-year-old Yusuf Naderkhani, whose sentencing to death for apostasy triggered an international outcry.

Other prominent Iranian lawyers have also been sentenced to lengthy prison terms such as Abdolfattah SoltaniNasrin Sotoudeh and recently Narges Mohammadi. Like them, Dadkhah worked for the DHRC of Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi who fled the country in 2009.

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) on Thursday condemned the sentencing of Dadkhah as well as the systematic harassment by the state against the DHRC members.

“We fear that the harassment against DHRC and attempts to silence its members will continue exponentially”, says Souhayr Belhassen, the FIDH President.

“The authorities in Iran are doing their utmost to stifle human rights defenders by imposing heavy sentences of imprisonment, exile, and ban on professional practice. All this is aimed at intimidating the whole society into a deadly silence”, adds secretary general of the OMCT, Gerald Staberock.

Iranian lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah sentenced to nine years in jail | World news | guardian.co.uk.

Iran continues its persecution of Human Rights Defenders: Narges Mohammadi detained

May 3, 2012

Prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi was arrested last month. On Wednesday 26 April Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Paris said the group “strongly condemns” her jailing. Narges Mohammadi was a spokeswoman for Ebadi’s now-banned Center for Human Rights Defenders.

She was reportedly detained on Saturday 21 April and brought to Tehran’s Evin prison to begin serving a six-year sentence following a conviction in 2010 after she was accused of anti-government crimes. Mohammadi had remained free pending appeals. Ebadi left Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which touched off unprecedented protests and harsh crackdowns by authorities. Several of her co-workers have been arrested and harassed, such as Nasrin Sotoudeh, recently announced as a 2012 nominee of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (www.martinennalsaward.org).

For more details on her case see: http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2012/04/narges-arrest/

Reporters Without Borders is concerned by the case because Narges is a journalist and author. In its recently released report on press freedom in 2011, the organisation ranks Iran number 175 outr of 179 countries surveyed. I states inter alia: “It is no surprise that the same trio of countries, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea, absolute dictatorships that permit no civil liberties, again occupy the last three places in the index. This year, they are immediately preceded at the bottom by Syria, Iran and China, three countries that seem to have lost contact with reality as they have been sucked into an insane spiral of terror, and by Bahrain and Vietnam, quintessential oppressive regimes. Other countries such as Uganda and Belarus have also become much more repressive.”

For the full report go to:

http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html

Iran again: HRD Narges Mohammadi gets 11 years prison sentence

September 30, 2011

Narges Mohammadi, who became ill after being detained by security officials, was convicted by a court in Tehran to 11 years in jail. Narges Mohammadi, 39, the deputy head of Iran’s Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), a rights organisation presided over by the Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, was picked up last year by security officials who raided her house without a warrant for her arrest. She was taken to Tehran’s Evin prison where she was kept in solitary confinement but was released after a month and taken to hospital. It emerged on Tuesday that a court in Tehran has now convicted her on three charges: acting against the national security, membership of the DHRC and propaganda against the regime.

“I’m not involved in politics, I’m only a human rights activist,” Mohammadi said by phone from Tehran. “I was informed of the 11-year sentence through my lawyers, who were given an unprecedented 23-page judgment issued by the court in which they repeatedly likened my human rights activities to attempts to topple the regime.” In March the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a US-based non-governmental organisation, reported that security forces had stolen Mohammadi’s medical records from the hospital. Her husband, Taghi Rahmani, a political activist, has spent a third of his life in jail.

Amnesty International reacted with outrage to Mohammadi’s conviction. “The verdict claims that Narges Mohammadi is a liar and has tarnished the image of Iran,” said Drewery Dyke, Amnesty’s researcher on Iran. “However, this latest verdict regrettably does exactly that by showing what Iran’s judiciary thinks of the government’s so-called commitment to uphold human rights in the country, and indeed exactly how it deals with those advocating international human rights standards.”

for more info see inter alia:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/28/iranian-activist-narges-mohammadi-jailed?newsfeed=true

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/leading-iran-rights-activist-sentenced-11-years-2011-09-28