Iran: Iran: Narges Mohammadi on hunger strike and needs to be allowed to get in touch with her family

20.07.16

Update: Narges Mohammadi has been given the right to speak to her children as of 16 July so she has reportedly stopped her hunger strike.

2016-07-12

Detained Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi has been on wet hunger strike for over two weeks since 27 June 2016, to protest the refusal of the authorities to make it possible for her to speak to her children.

In the Women’s Ward in Evin prison, in Tehran, visitation is only allowed once a week but there is no phone for the inmates to be able to have phone calls with their children or families. Since her children and husband are abroad, Mohammadi’s only request is to be able to be in touch with them more often by phone.

The threat that arises from her wet hunger strike is due to 15 medications that she needs to take daily for her health. She routinely visits the hospital as she suffers from pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in her lung) and nervous paralysis, according to her husband, Taghi Rahmani, a human rights activist exiled in France. She reportedly suffered several seizures in August and October 2015 while in prison but did not receive adequate medical treatment back then.

Mohammadi, who is the former vice-president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center and President of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Peace in Iran, received a 10-year sentence on 17 May 2016,  for “membership in the Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty” (known by the acronym LEGAM). LEGAM is a group campaigning against the death penalty in Iran that Mohammadi founded and which has been closed since her arrest. In addition to her 10-year sentence, she received five years for alleged “collusion and assembly against national security” and one year for “spreading propaganda against the system.” See: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1263

“I am asking for nothing other than being allowed to talk to my children on the phone. If this demand is too great, irrational, immoral, unlawful, or against national security, please let me know,” said Mohammadi in an open letter published by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Adding further inhumane obstacles to her detention is not acceptable. A phone call from a mother to her children in France should not be a “security threat” to the government.

Mohammadi has been shown a lot of international support and was awarded the Per Anger Prize in 2011 by the Swedish government for her human rights work, and the “City of Paris” medal in May 2016 for her human rights writing.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) joins other international human rights organisations in calling for the Iranian authorities to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Narges Mohammadi from prison;
  2. Failing that, allow her to have routine calls with her family and children;
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Narges Mohammadi while she remains in prison, including ensuring she receives proper medical treatment; and
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

Photo credit: Defenders of Human Rights Center