Six months after Iranian writer and activist Narges Mohammadi received the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize in absentia at Oslo City Hall, the movement for her release continues to gain momentum.

Today, a high-level group of independent experts released a joint statement urging the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Narges Mohammadi and all women human rights defenders who remain in jail on charges relating to their defense of human rights. “We are alarmed about the unfair proceedings and lengthy sentences handed to human rights defender, Narges Mohammadi, directly related to her peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and assembly in the pursuit of gender equality in Iran,” the experts said. “Unduly covering charges under the framework of ‘national security’ or ‘propaganda against the state to silence critical voices’ need to stop.”

“It is extremely gratifying to see this high-level public support from a broad range of UN Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups, as well as their unified call for the immediate release of Narges and her fellow cellmates in Evin Prison, who remain behind bars solely for their peaceful expression and activism,” said Karin Karlekar, Director of Writers at Risk at PEN America. 

“We urge all relevant UN Special Mandates to raise these individual cases in reports and sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, to ensure that accountability mechanisms such as the incoming Special Rapporteur on Iran and the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFMI) remain robust and well-resourced, and to continue to engage in both public and private advocacy to ensure the release of all those dissident voices unjustly jailed in Iran.”

Earlier this month, we launched the #FreeNarges Coalition with the Narges Mohammadi Foundation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and Front Line Defenders, dedicated to ensuring the release of Mohammadi and her fellow dissidents behind bars in Iran.

Narges Mohammadi was the 2023 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award honoree. A PEN America open letter calling for the Iranian government to free Mohammadi in time to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony was signed by hundreds of the world’s most prominent writers, artists, human rights activists, and civil society organizations, including fellow Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi, J.M. Coetzee, and Orhan Pamuk; actors, writers, and academics including Emma Thompson, Margaret Atwood, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, George Saunders, Khaled Hosseini, John Green, Mary Karr, Sandra Cisneros, Fariba Adelkhah, Azar Nafisi, Nazanin Boniadi, and Viet Thanh Nguyen; and several dozen civil society organizations, including Freedom House, Frontline Defenders, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Human Rights in Iran, PEN International, and more than 30 PEN Centers from around the world. 

Contact: Dietlind Lerner [email protected]