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Narges Mohammadi is an Iranian writer, journalist, human rights defender, and Honorary Member of the Danish, Belgian, Norwegian, and Swedish PEN centres. 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. In 2013 Mohammadi received the Oxfam Novib / PEN Award. She was arrested on serval occasions over the past years and spent prolonged periods in arbitrary imprisonment.
In May 2021, 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 years in prison. The new charges against her included “propaganda against the regime,” “defamation,” and “rebellious conduct while incarcerated.”
In January 2022, Iranian authorities brought further charges against her, including “assembly and collusion to act against national security” and “acting against national security and disrupting public order.” Following a summary trial in the absence of legal counsel, Mohammadi was sentenced to an additional eight years and two months in prison, and 74 lashes. The sentence also imposes further punishments, including internal exile, a ban on giving statements to the media, using social media platforms, or participating in political groups.
Narges Mohammadi was released on medical furlough following heart surgery in February 2022. On 12 April 2022, PEN international learned that she had been arrested once again.
Extract from White Torture: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners
I am writing his preface in the final hours of my home leave. Very soon I will be forced to return to prison.
On 16 November 2021, I was arrested for the twelfth time and sentenced to solitary confinement for the fourth time in my life. I spent sixty-four days in confinement in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, run by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. This time I was found guilty because of the book you are holding in your hands – White Torture. They accused me of blackening the name of Iran around the world. Now they were determined to prove that my campaign to end solitary confinement had failed. Once again they would subject me to this torture and demonstrate to activists all over the globe that the government reigns supreme.
I was illegally sentenced to eight years and two months in prison, and seventy-four lashes by the primary court, which was subsequently commuted to six years in prison, with the same number of lashes. As a result, I am serving two separate sentences: a prior one of thirty months in prison and eighty lashes, as well as this recent one. When taken together with an earlier sentence, I now face over thirty years in prison.
But nothing will stop me from continuing my struggle against solitary confinement. Having been granted temporary release due to my poor health following a heart attack in Qarchek Prison and cardiac surgery, I declare once more that this is a cruel and inhumane punishment. I will not rest until it is abolished.
They will put me behind bars again. But I will not stop campaigning until human rights and justice prevail in my country.