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Prominent Iranian Activist Given 11-Year Sentence


Narges Mohammadi was awarded the 2009 International Alexander Langer Award for demonstrating "outstanding civil, cultural, or social commitment."

Narges Mohammadi was awarded the 2009 International Alexander Langer Award for demonstrating "outstanding civil, cultural, or social commitment."

The deputy head of Iran's Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), Narges Mohammadi, has been sentenced to 11 years in jail, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Mohammadi told Radio Farda from Tehran on September 27 that she was given five years in jail for "assembly and collusion against national security," five years for "being a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center," and one year for "spreading propaganda against the regime."

Mohammadi, 39, added that she and her lawyers have denied the charges. She said the DHRC is a legally registered institution under Iranian law.

Her sentence by the court was called a "discretionary punishment" since there is no prescribed punishment in Islamic law for her crimes.

The DHRC was founded in 2001 by Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and lawyers Abdolfatah Soltani, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Mohammad Seifzadeh, and Mohammad Sharif.

Mohammadi said her other colleagues at the DHRC are either in prison or have found guilty in court.

Mohammadi was arrested by security forces in June 2010 and released on bail three weeks later. She was awarded the 2009 International Alexander Langer Award for demonstrating "outstanding civil, cultural, or social commitment."

In the 23-page court verdict against Mohammadi, her efforts to protect human rights were repeatedly referred to as "activities to overthrow the regime."

Mohammadi's founding of the National Peace Council, her establishment of the Committee for Free, Sound, and Fair Elections, and her launching of the Stop Child Executions campaign were called by the court "attempts to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran's regime."

According to the verdict, Mohammadi's issuing of statements and reports about human rights violations, her cooperation with Ebadi, and her visiting political prisoners are all deemed as efforts to overthrow the regime.

"Given the defendant's animosity and stubbornness as well as her persistence on the correctness of her antinational security positions, and her poisonous, poetic propaganda, the court sentences her to 11 years of discretionary imprisonment," the verdict read.

Read more in Persian here

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