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Iran: Serious concern for the health of imprisoned journalist Narges Mohammadi

Tuesday 4 June 2019 - 6:00pm

Narges Mohammadi, drawing by Maxine Young

4 June 2019

Update #3 to RAN 08/16

PEN International is deeply concerned for the health and wellbeing of prominent journalist and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi who is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for her human rights activities in Evin prison, where she has developed a serious infection as a result of the conditions of her detention. In May 2019, following a sharp deterioration in her health, the prison authorities transferred Mohammadi to a hospital where she underwent an emergency hysterectomy. However, after surgery Mohammadi was immediately transferred back to Evin prison where she is denied necessary medication including antibiotics. Consequently, Mohammadi’s surgery wounds have become infected, and the infection has entered her bloodstream. She urgently requires medical care and medicines including antibiotics.

Narges Mohammadi was first arrested in June 2010 before being released on bail pending trial. On 26 September 2011 she was sentenced to five years in prison for ‘gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security’, one year in prison for ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and 10 years for ‘founding and running an illegal organisation’ for her work with Legam, advocating against the death penalty. She remained free on bail and the sentence was reduced to six years on appeal in April 2012, when she was summoned to serve out her sentence. Mohammadi’s health has sharply declined as a result of her imprisonment. She recently published an open letter where she powerfully describes the prison conditions which have led to her severe health problems.

PEN International reiterates its calls on the Iranian authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of Narges Mohammadi, and demands that she is granted full access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency.

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Please send appeals:

  • Expressing serious concern for the health of Narges Mohammadi, urging the authorities to permit her access to all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Narges Mohammadi and all those detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression;
  • Demanding a full investigation into reports that Mohammadi is being ill-treated and denied adequate medical care in prison.

Send appeals to:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

Grand Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader Islamic Republic Street

End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Email:

Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English-language account), @Khamenei_ar

(Arabic-language), @Khamenei_es (Spanish-language account).

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani c/o Public Relations Office

Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi – Vali Asr Street Tehran,

Islamic Republic of Iran

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Hassan Rouhani Pasteur Street,

Pasteur Square Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran


Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian)

And copy to the Embassy of Iran in your country. You can find embassy addresses here.

** Please keep us informed of any action you take in regard to Narges Mohammadi’s case, including any responses you receive from the authorities.


Narges Mohammadi is an Iranian journalist and human rights defender, and Honorary Member of Danish, Belgian, Norwegian and Swedish PEN. She is the former Vice-President and spokesperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), which advocates for human rights reform and represents political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in legal proceedings.

Mohammadi suffers from a neurological disorder that can result in seizures, temporary partial paralysis, and pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in her lung. She suffered several seizures in August and October 2015 and more recently in 2019. According to reports, Mohammadi was taken to hospital on each occasion and on at least one instance she was returned to prison against medical advice. In a subsequent incident, she was handcuffed to the bed for the first few days of her hospital stay.

Narges Mohammadi is married to the prominent journalist Taghi Rahmani, who has spent a total of 17 years in prison and fled Iran in May 2011 under escalating pressure. He now lives in exile with the couple’s twins, now aged thirteen. Mohammadi chose to remain in the country and writes of the pain of separation from her children.

For previous actions by PEN International on the case click here and here.

Narges Mohammadi was one of awardees of the 2013 PEN/Oxfam Novib Free Expression Award.

The situation for freedom of expression and opinion in Iran continues to deteriorate. Many writers and activists have been arrested or forced to flee the country. PEN continues to call on the Iranian authorities to protect the rights of all persons to freely express their views, whether as citizens, journalists, or writers, as protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At its 84th Congress held in September 2018, the Assembly of Delegates of PEN International passed a Resolution on Iran noting with concern that the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to violate its obligations under international human rights law, mainly through restricting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

For further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: