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Narges Mohammadi is the 2017 Prisoner of Conscience Case

 

Ulysses was banned in America for a short time and so it is fitting that we cast a light on continuing repression of literary expression and honest journalism throughout the world.

 

We have petitioned in the past on behalf of writers such as Vaclav Havel, Xu Wenli, Aung San Suu Ky, Daniel Pearl, Anna Politkovskaya, and Rael Badwawi, who is still at this writing in a Saudi Arabian prison sentenced to 10 years for merely writing words of dissent. Last year, we focused attention on the worsening situation in Turkey where thousands of journalists were dismissed from their positions and many more since imprisoned for their opposition to continuing repression by President Recep Erdogan.

 

Ms. Narges Mohammadi

 

We ask you you to make yourselves aware of the case of this Iranian writer, activist and mother of two children, who has written against the death penalty in that country. Last September, an appeals court upheld the prison sentence handed down to Iranian journalist Narges Mohammadi, independent journalist and former vice-president and spokesperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran last May.  She had been 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 organization’ for her work with Legam, advocating against the death penalty. Amnesty International and PEN International are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Narges Mohammadi, who is in poor health, as she is imprisoned for her peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression.

 

Philip Luther, Amnesty's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, condemned the decision to uphold her sentence following an appeal in September. “By insisting that this harsh and appalling sentence is imposed for her peaceful human rights work, the authorities have laid bare their intent to silence human rights defenders at all costs. Narges Mohammadi’s conviction and sentence must be quashed and the authorities must order her immediate and unconditional release. We urge the EU to make these calls, too, and put the heightened repression of human rights defenders in Iran at the heart of their dialogue.”