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EU condemns Iran sentence, lashes for rights campaigner

May 27, 2021

Iranian rights campaigner is given a new sentence of lashes, jail time and fines by Iranian court. Narges Mohammadi said she rejected the sentence, but her lawyer said she was not planning to appeal.

Narges Mohammadi
Narges Mohammadi was released on a prior conviction in 2020; she is now accused of 'propaganda' and 'defamation'Image: Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto/picture-alliance

Iranian human rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi, 49, received a new sentence of 80 lashes, 30 months in prison and two fines according to her lawyer and a reformist paper in the country, a development the EU called "worrying" on Thursday.

The well-known anti-death penalty campaigner is close to Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi, having previously served as the spokeswoman for the Defenders of Human Rights Center before becoming the center's vice-president when Ebadi went into exile.

Mohammadi wrote earlier in the week on the social media platform Instagram that she did not accept the new sentence, which was confirmed by her lawyer, Mahmoud Behzadi-Rad, and the reformist newspaper Etemad in Iran.

"By arresting people like me, they want to set an example," Mohammadi told DW last December shortly after her release. "The message to all civil society activists is: Look, these serious consequences await you if you try to get organized."

What are the charges facing Mohammadi?

Behzadi-Rad told AFP he does not plan an appeal in such "circumstances" but did not elaborate. Mohammadi was previously released from prison in October of 2020 on a suspended sentence

The engineer, physicist and mother of two was previously sentenced to 10 years and served over eight years on charges that included "forming and managing an illegal group" prior to prison.

The new charges against Mohammadi include "propaganda against the system," defamation and rebellious conduct while incarcerated. She had issued a statement against the death penalty and alleged torture and harassment while in prison, which the Etemad newspaper reported.

Narges Mohammadi
Narges MohammadiImage: iranhr

How is the international community reacting to the new sentence?

Reporters Without Borders noted when she was in jail before she had been moved from the notorious Evin prison to a prison in Zanjan in the northwest of Iran, resulting in her lawyer Behzadi-Rad filing a complaint "against her immoral and illegal transfer". Instead of investigating the complaint,the Iranian government pursued a new case against Mohammadi.

"The EU calls on Iran to review Mrs Mohammadi's case in compliance with the applicable international human rights law, and taking into account her deteriorating health condition," the EU said in a statement.

ar/msh (AFP, AP)