Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately release prominent human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who it said is at imminent risk of receiving 80 lashes following her arrest earlier this week.
The London-based human rights watchdog said on November 18 that Mohammadi was arbitrary arrested in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, two days earlier while attending a memorial for a man killed by Iranian security forces during nationwide protests in November 2019.
“To arrest a human rights defender for calling for truth and justice on the two-year anniversary of the November 2019 protests, where hundreds of men, women and children were killed by Iranian security forces, is a callous act,” Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.
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Mohammadi is the vice president of the Center for Human Rights Defenders in Iran and has worked with the Campaign for Step-by-Step Abolition of the Death Penalty.
Following the November 2019 protests, she vocally supported family members seeking truth and justice for the death of their loved ones.
In May, a Tehran court sentenced the activist to 2 1/2 years in prison, 80 lashes, and two separate fines on charges that include “spreading propaganda against the system.”
Four months later, Mohammadi did not respond to a summons to begin serving her prison sentence, and she was arbitrarily arrested on November 16 by Intelligence Ministry agents who brutally beat her, according to her husband.
The following day, Mohammadi told her family she was in Tehran’s Evin prison and that she was to serve a 2 1/2-year prison sentence.
In 2016, Mohammadi was sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges that Amnesty International said were solely related to her freedom of expression and assembly.
After she was released from prison in October 2020, the Iranian authorities repeatedly subjected her to “harassment, torture, and other ill-treatment,” according to Amnesty International.
The group says it has documented 324 cases of men, women, and children killed by Iran’s security forces during their crackdown on protests that erupted across Iran between November 15-19, 2019, after the government announced a significant rise in the price of fuel.
However, it says it believes the real death toll is higher.