PEN International is appalled by the detention of prominent Iranian human rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi, who was summoned to serve a six-year prison term on April 21, 2012. Her health is said to be extremely fragile; fears for her well-being in detention are acute. PEN considers Narges Mohammadi to be detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party, and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, award-winning activist and journalist Nargess Mohammadi, formerly the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, was arrested at her home in the northern city of Zanjan on April 21, 2012, after receiving an intelligence ministry summons. She is believed to have been transferred to the Women’s Ward of Tehran’s Evin prison to serve a six-year prison sentence.

Nargess Mohammadi was sentenced on September 26, 2011, to 11 years in prison by a court in Tehran for “acting against the national security,” “membership of the DHRC,” and “propaganda against the regime” for her reporting on human rights violations, cooperation with Shirin Ebadi, and visiting political prisoners. She remained free on bail, but on March 4, 2012, an appeals court confirmed the conviction, reducing the sentence to six years.

Nargess Mohammadi was first arrested on June 10, 2010, and released on bail on July 1, 2010, following a severe deterioration in her health. After her release she spent a month in the hospital, and is said to be suffering from muscular paralysis which is exacerbated under stress and pressure. There are mounting concerns for her well-being in detention.

Mohammadi is the mother of six-year-old twins, and the wife of prominent journalist and activist Taghi Rahmani, who has spent a total of 17 years in prison. Taghi Rahmani reportedly fled the country in May 2011 under escalating pressure from the authorities, but Mohammadi decided to stay in Iran together with her children. She and her husband are honorary members of Danish PEN.

Other members of the banned DHRC have been the target of continuous persecution by Islamic Republic authorities in recent years. They include lawyer and journalist Nasrin Soutadeh, currently serving a six-year sentence.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the arrest of Nargess Mohammadi, who is reportedly seriously ill;
  • Calling for her immediate and unconditional release on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;
  • Seeking assurances of her well-being in detention, and urging that she has full access to family visits, legal representation, and all necessary medical care while detained.

Send Your Letter To

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street
Islamic Republic of Iran

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: (Via Foreign Ministry) +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: "Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad")

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country if possible.