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Iranian Lawyer Tried For Membership In Ebadi Rights Group

Narges Mohammadi
Narges Mohammadi
Another colleague of Shirin Ebadi has gone on trial for being a member of a rights group set up by the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Lawyer Narges Mohammadi is the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), which is headed by Ebadi.

In an interview with Radio Farda on June 28, Mohammadi said three charges were raised against her at a court hearing -- her second -- on June 27. They are: "being a member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center;" "spreading propaganda against the regime;" and "assembly and collusion with intent to commit crimes against national security."

Mohammadi added that she has already denied the charges. She also said that the court session was closed and without a jury.

Mohammadi was arrested by security forces in June 2010, and released on bail three weeks later.

Mohammadi said she was arrested on a charge of membership of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, even though the center is a legal institution under Iranian law.

The fact that the center failed to obtain a permit to engage in activities does not mean that it is illegal, because an institution can also be unofficial, Mohammadi said.

She pointed out that there are institutions subordinate to the Iranian government that are politically active, for instance during elections, but have not even requested registration.

She questioned why such institutions are not similarly considered illegal and no action is taken against them.

Since the disputed June 2009 presidential election, several cofounders and members of the Defenders of Human Rights Center have been imprisoned, including lawyers Mohammed Ali Dadkhah and Abdolfatah Soltani, and journalist Abdolreza Tajik.

Mohammadi was the winner in 2009 of the International Alexander Langer Award for those demonstrating outstanding civil, cultural, or social commitment.

Read more in Persian here