PEN SA Calls for the Release of Iranian Journalist Narges Mohammadi

18 Oct 2016
PEN SA Calls for the Release of Iranian Journalist Narges Mohammadi

In September 2016, an appeals court upheld the prison sentence handed down to Iranian journalist Narges Mohammadi by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran in May this year. Mohammadi had been sentenced to five years in prison for ‘gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security’, one year in prison for ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and 10 years for ‘founding and running an illegal organisation’ for her work with Legam, advocating against the death penalty. Under provisions within Iran’s 2013 penal code, a person sentenced to several jail terms is required to serve that with the most severe penalty; as such, she will serve 10 years in prison in relation to this verdict. Mohammadi is already serving a further six-year prison sentence for similar ‘offences’. Read more about the case and find out what you can do to help on PEN International’s website.

PEN South Africa has sent a letter to Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei calling for Narges Mohammadi’s release:

To His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

PEN South Africa calls for the release of journalist Narges Mohammadi. Mohammadi has been sentenced by a Revolutionary court in Tehran to 15 years in prison of which she will serve 10. This sentence is additional to the six years she is currently serving in Prison Evin. These charges have been brought against Mohammadi for her work as a journalist and activist where she advocated for the abolition of the death penalty.

We are deeply concerned that Mohammadi has been incarcerated for exercising her rights to freedom of expression. This right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and should be respected by states the world over. Iran is state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees freedom of expression to all human beings. We also urge you to immediately provide Mohammadi with the necessary medical attention for her condition and access to telephonic communication with her children.

The harsh sentences handed to Mohammadi reveal a disturbing pattern of state pressure on journalists, artists and activists, particularly those who hold views contrary to state practices. We urge the government of Iran to uphold human rights and honour their duty to protect Freedom of Expression as a tenet of civil liberty.

We reiterate our call for the unconditional and immediate release of Mohammadi and urge you ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld in Iran.

We thank you for your consideration.

Margie Orford
President PEN South Africa

Mandla Langa
Executive Vice-President

Raymond Louw
Vice President