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Iranian Rights Defender, Journalist Sent Back To Prison


Narges Mohammadi was released from prison for treatment on February 22.

Prominent Iranian human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi and photojournalist Alieh Motalebzadeh have been sent back to prison after briefly allowing them out for medical reasons, family members and activists said.

Mohammadi's husband, Taghi Rahmani, told Radio Farda that Ministry of Intelligence agents had raided the family's home to arrest Mohammadi and Motalebzadeh, who is vice president of the Association for the Defense of the Press Freedom of Iran, and return them to jail.

The arrests came after Mohammadi told Radio Farda that she would have to return to prison despite concern about her health. Mohammadi suffers from a heart condition.

Mohammadi previously called her refusal to return to prison "civil disobedience," but told Radio Farda that her bail had been threatened and that her house would be confiscated.

The two women were transferred to the Qarchak women's prison, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, a U.S.-based news outlet that covers news in Iran. Conditions at the prison are routinely condemned by activists.

Before being arrested, Mohammadi told The Washington Post that human rights should be a "priority" in the West's negotiations with the Islamic republic.

She also argued that economic sanctions against the country had backfired, saying they had "weakened Iranians economically more than they weakened the Iranian regime."

Mohammadi was arrested in November 2021 after she attended the memorial of a man killed by Iranian security forces during nationwide protests in November 2019.

In late January, a court sentenced her to another eight years and two months in prison, as well as 74 lashes.

Human Rights Watch condemned the new prison sentence and called on Tehran to release her.

The sentence also included a two-year ban on membership in political parties and "activities in social and digital platforms," as well as a two-year internal exile in Iran.

Rahmani said his wife's trial lasted no longer than five minutes and the judge specifically mentioned her recent nomination by two Norwegian parliament members for the Nobel Peace Prize and her efforts to shed light on Iran's use of prolonged solitary confinement against political prisoners.

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