Tag Archives: Iran

Iran: Shirin Ebadi: ‘Outside of Iran I knew I’d be more useful. I could speak’

April 25, 2017

The Nobel peace prize-winning human rights lawyer Shirn Ebadi.

Of all the places one might encounter Shirin Ebadi, Tallahassee should not be one. I was to meet her in the state capital of what is officially known as America’s sunshine state, but is more widely regarded as America’s weirdest state. Ebadi was in Florida for PeaceJam, which connects Nobel peace prize laureates with youth. But I found it hard to imagine the greatest Iranian human rights icon spending Persian New Year week at a teen camp on the Florida panhandle. “I go everywhere, I live on planes,” she tells me on the phone and indeed days later I’m scheduled to meet her closer to my home in New York City.

On the phone I hold my breath every time we speak – her informal, easy Persian contrasts with mine, layered with too much cloying etiquette, the kind you prepare for some relative of your dreams. Persian is my first language – I use it to speak to my family and Iranian friends, but recently I feel anxious. I consider the prospect of translating Persian for those trapped in legalese at airports during the “Muslim ban”, and I don’t trust my tongue.

Trouble came soon enough: in 1999 she was charged with “disturbing public opinion”, for which she spent 25 days in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, where she had visited her clients many times. More convictions quickly followed and she was threatened with more imprisonment and a bar on practicing law for five years but due to international pressure her sentence was reduced to a fine.

When the Nobel came in 2003, Ebadi was shocked. “I had no idea I was a candidate. When I found out, I was very surprised. The [prize] money helped me so I could get a good apartment, get some computers in there, and our work really progressed.” She set up an office for what would become a major human rights organisation, the Center for Defenders of Human Rights (CDHR) which supported the families of political prisoners.


Iran: Iranian spends birthday in jail for campaign against death penalty

April 21, 2017

Today, human rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi celebrates her 45th birthday in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. Her crime is campaigning against the death penalty.

She faces another nine years in jail, and has already been held on various charges since May 2015.

“Mohammadi has not committed any crime,” Roya Boroumand, a human rights activist, told Middle East Eye.

“She simply refused to be silent on human rights abuses and has tried, along with others, to bring an end to the abuse of death penalty in Iran.”

The heavy sentence “underline Iran’s authorities fear of truth-telling”, added Boroumand, the co-founder of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.

Mohammadi was convicted in 2016 of “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, “spreading propaganda against the system” and “founding a group composed of more than two people with the purpose of disrupting national security”, according to Amnesty.


(N.B. Narges Mohammadi is also a lawyer)

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(FreeNarges Facebook)

Iran: Political Prisoner Narges Mohammadi Offered Furlough in Exchange for Silence

April 12, 2017

Mohammadi: Imprisonment Makes Me More “Determined”

Imprisoned human rights defender Narges Mohammadi has been offered temporary release if she promises to be silent about her unjust sentence, her husband told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“The authorities have told Narges that they would grant her furlough on the condition that she not talk to or meet anyone,” said Taghi Rahmani, who lives with the couple’s two children in Paris. “No interviews, no phone calls, no visits.”

“They wanted her to give a written commitment, but how can you allow a prisoner to leave prison and then create another prison for her?” he added.

“How could Narges avoid other people coming to greet the family on the Iranian New Year? How could she not talk to them? What kind of temporary leave is that? Narges didn’t accept those conditions,” he said.

Rahmani told CHRI Mohammadi wants to appeal against her sentence at the Supreme Court.

“Lawyers representing Narges have asked the Supreme Court to review her 16-year prison sentence and she herself has put in a request to the Article-90 Committee to investigate its legality,” he said.


Iran: Supporters Mark One-Year Anniversary of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s Imprisonment in Iran

April 3, 2017

Iranian-British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe never thought she would be detained by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization when she and her 22-month-old daughter arrived at Tehran’s international airport, on their way back home to the UK on April 3, 2016.

One year later, the 38-year-old employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation is in Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward in Tehran serving a five-year sentence for unspecified “national security charges.”

On the anniversary of the forced separation, her husband Richard Ratcliffe asked supporters to describe their ideal “one day of freedom” on a Facebook page for the Free Nazanin Ratcliffe campaign, which has received nearly 900,000 supportive signatures.

Fellow Prisoners Imagine One Day of Freedom

Some of Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s fellow inmates also contributed to the “One Day of Freedom” event.

“The biggest pain for a mother is to be away from her children,” wrote prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, serving a 16-year sentence for her peaceful activism. “It’s nearly two years now that I haven’t seen my 10-year-old twins.”
Fariba Kamalbadi, a former leader of Iran’s persecuted Baha’i community serving a 20-year prison sentence for her religious beliefs, said: “I always wished to spend my whole first night next to my family members and watch them sleep, to make up for the time passed away so quickly when they came for a visit while I was in prison.”



http://www.nordbayern.de/region/erlangen/amnesty-erlangen-freiheit-fur-narges-mohammadi-1.5877832 (DEUTSCH)

(N.B. Narges Mohammadi is also a lawyer)

Nouvelle condamnation pour Narguesse Mohammadi en Iran
Avec la fin de sa première peine de six ans de prison en Iran le 15 mars 2017, Narguesse Mohammadi a commencé à purger sa deuxième peine le même jour.Mme Mohammadi avait été condamnée à six ans en 2010 pour propagande contre l’État, ainsi que d’association et collusion contre la sécurité nationale.
Narguesse Mohammadi avait obtenu une autorisation de sortie médicale en 2012 en raison d’une grave maladie. En avril 2015, elle avait été arrêtée dans un raid de la police à son domicile et emmenée à Evine pour continuer d’y purger sa peine de six ans. C’est au cours de cette période, qu’elle a écopée d’une autre peine de 16 ans, dont dix années incompressibles.Cette fois aussi, elle est accusée d’association et de collusion contre la sécurité nationale en raison de ses activités continues avec la Ligue de défense des droits humains et des groupes de droits des femmes, d’avoir organisé des rassemblements sur les droits des citoyens, contre la pollution et pour le 8 mars, de propagande contre l’État et de soutien à la campagne contre la peine de mort.La commission des femmes du Conseil national de la Résistance iranienne a publié un communiqué le 19 mai 2016, exigeant l’annulation de la peine injuste contre Narguesse Mohammadi et sa libération immédiate.

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(CNRI Femmes Facebook)


Iran: Continued targeting of prominent human rights defenders by authorities must stop

April 1, 2017

Human rights defenders in Iran continue to be targeted by authorities as a result of their human rights work. Prominent human rights defenders face arrest, detention and even on their release continue to be subjected to travel bans and on-going harassment.

Dr. Abdolfattah Soltani, is a prominent human rights lawyer and co-founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre. He is in detention in the notorious Evin prison where the appalling conditions exacerbate his pre-existing ill health. In 2012, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison and an additional 20-year ban from practising as a lawyer based on charges including “spreading propaganda against the system” and “founding an illegal group”. He has suffered from various medical conditions, including heart problems, while in prison and the prosecution authorities have repeatedly refused to authorise medical leave or transfer to hospital in contravention of his doctor’s recommendations. Furthermore he was told that he was allowed some days prison leave to celebrate Nawruz with his family, however, the conditions attached by the Public Prosecutor’s Office were so restrictive that he could not accept them. The conditions included, not having any contact with people such as activists, not to give any interview with media, and also he should come back exactly after one week to prison.

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh continues to be banned from travelling. She was released in September 2013 having spent over three years in prison. Her original sentence comprised an 11-year prison sentence, a ban from practising law and a 20-year travel ban. Her prosecution and continued harassment by authorities relate directly to her work as a lawyer in representing human rights defenders and young prisoners sentenced to death.

Human rights defender, lawyer and writer Emadeddin Baghi also continues to be subjected to a travel ban. He is founder of the Society for the Defence of Prisoners’ Rights and laureate of the 2009 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. He has advocated for the peaceful improvement of human rights since the 1980s. He has spent several years in prison including in December 2009, when he was arrested during a wave of arrests and spent five months in solitary confinement. Although now released, a travel ban remains in place against him and his basic right of freedom of movement continues to be denied.


http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1540 (ARABIC)

Iran: Take #NowruzAction this spring! (Imprisoned human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani)

March 21, 2017

The Iranian holiday Nowruz (نوروز  or “new day”) is an ancient holiday that takes place on the first day of spring to celebrate the new year. Each Nowruz, Scholars at Risk partners with Amnesty International for their #NowruzAction Campaign, an effort to remember prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in Iran.

This year, SAR will write to Iranian prisoners of conscience Hamid Babaei and Abdolfattah Soltani to share Nowruz cheer and raise awareness about their cases. We ask that you join us by writing a brief, non-political Nowruz greeting on a spring-themed card to be sent to these courageous scholars. Nowruz is a time of renewal and letters should be sent with the intent of giving these scholars a sense of acknowledgement and hope. You may send a greeting in either English or Farsi (Persian) but please do not mention Scholars at Risk, Amnesty International, specifics of the recipient’s case, or the political situation, human rights or U.S.-Iran relations.

Abdolfattah Soltani, Iran

Abdolfattah Soltani is a prominent human rights lawyer and co-founder, along with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. Mr. Soltani has been arrested on multiple occasions, most recently on September 10, 2011 on charges of “spreading propaganda against the regime” and “endangering national security,” for which he is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence. SAR is concerned about the disregard of international standards of due process and fair trial in the case of Mr. Soltani as well as his lack of access to medical treatment, legal representation, and family visitation.

You can send Nowruz greetings to Abdolfattah Soltani at:



March 13, 2017

Until We Are Free: My Personal Fight for Human Rights in Iran is a biographical account of Shirin Ebadi, a 2003 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.  A native Iranian Muslim and proud of it, Mrs. Shirin Ebadi documented the cruelty of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  In her book, Ebadi provides moving descriptions and clear evidence of the repressive nature of the Iranian regime.  What emerges is a clear picture of a Stalinist-like regime absent the Soviet Gulags. The regime’s Intelligence Ministry shuts down all criticism of the regime, by arrests, torture and murder. There is no free press in the Islamic Republic of Iran, no free speech, and every facet of free life is controlled and repressed by the Ayatollahs, through their praetorian guards — the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and the Basij Resistance Force, a voluntary paramilitary organization operating under the IRGC.  It is an auxiliary force with multiple duties, including internal security, law enforcement, special religious and political events, and morals policing.

Removed from her judgeship by the Islamic Republic, Ebadi became a civil rights lawyer but soon found her attempts to defend the innocent and voiceless people being blocked by the regime’s extensive apparatus and corrupt officials.  Ebadi writes: “On several occasions I had trouble simply trying to review a file at the court-house.  The clerk, upon realizing that I wasn’t going to ‘tip’ him for retrieving the file, would say ‘Sorry the file is missing.  Come back tomorrow.’  I would go back the next day, and he would say, ‘Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to reach for your file…” Justice in the Ayatollahs Iran, Ebadi concluded, is “bought, not fought for or deliberated.”