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PEN International strongly condemns the arrest of prominent writer and human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi by the Iranian authorities on 16 November 2021. Mohammadi was arrested and taken to an uknown location while attending a memorial service in the city of Karaj for Ebrahim Ketabdars. Ketabdars was shot and killed by security forces during a demonstrations against the regime in November 2019. Her husband, the prominent journalist and writer Taghi Rahmani said that Mohammadi is currently being held at Evin prison. She was able to inform him in a phone call that was quickly cut off, that she is at risk of being flogged and to serving 30 months in solitary confinement.
In May 2021, in new charges against her, Narges Mohammadi was handed a new sentence of 30 months in prison and 80 lashes, a few months following her release in October 2020 after serving five and a half year-term in prison. The new charges against her included “propaganda against the regime," “defamation” and “rebellious conduct while incarcerated.” Mohammadi belives that her conviction came in retaliation over a complaint she made against the Evin prison director. According to her video statement in February 2021, translated by the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, Mohammadi was assaulted by Evin Prison authorities, including the prison director Gholamresa Siaei, while serving her sentence in December 2019.
International law strictly prohibits torture, including any forms of corporal punishment and prolonged solitary confinement. PEN International stresses that Narges Mohammadi should be immediately released and all charges against her dropped. PEN International calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure Mohammadi’s physical and mental well-being and not subject her to any form of physical or mental suffering.
For more background information on Mohammadi’s case history, click here.
For more information, please contact Mina Thabet, MENA Regional Coordinator, at PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, Unit A, 162-164 Abbey St, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: Mina.Thabet@pen-international.org
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PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations. Founded in London in 1921, PEN International – PEN’s Secretariat – connects an international community of writers. It is a forum where writers meet freely to discuss their work; it is also a voice speaking out for writers silenced in their own countries. Through Centres in over 100 countries, PEN operates on five continents. PEN International is a non-political organisation which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO. PEN International is a registered charity in England and Wales with registration number 1117088