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Amnesty slams ailing Iranian rights activist's 16-year jail term

28 settembre 2016 | 19.02
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Evin Prison

Campaign group Amnesty International on Wednesday deplored the 16-year prison sentence against critically ill Iranian human rights lawyer Narges Mohammadi, which has been upheld on appeal.

"This verdict is yet another cruel and devastating blow to human rights in Iran, which demonstrates the authorities’ utter contempt for justice, said Amnesty's international research and advocacy director Philip Luther.

He urged Iran's authorities to immediately free 44-year-old Mohammadi and quash the convictions handed to her May by a Tehran revolutionary court for 'founding an illegal group', 'gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security' and 'spreading propaganda against the system'.

"We urge the European Union to make these calls too and put the heightened repression of human rights defenders at the heart of their dialogue," Luther said.

'Evidence' used to convict Mohammadi included her March 2014 meeting with the European Union's then-foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton, according to Amnesty.

Mohammadi has several serious, chronic illnesses requiring specialised medical care which she cannot receive in prison including a blood clot in her lung. She also has a neurological disorder that has caused seizures and temporary partial paralysis, which has been exacerbated by her imprisonment, Amnesty stated.

She has been incarcerated in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since May 2015 and in June this year went on hunger strike when she was prevented from speaking by phone to her nine-year-old twins. After an intense social media campaign, the restrictions were eased and Mohammadi halted her hunger strike.

Mohammadi's children had to move abroad to live with their father in France as there was no one to look after them in Iran, and have only spoken to Mohammadi once in the past year, Amnesty said.

One of Iran's most prominent woman's rights activists, Mohammadi has been in and out of jail over the past 15 years and has had several confrontations with Iran's hard-line dominated judiciary. She is a supporter of the anti-death penalty campaign Legam and and vice-president of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders in Iran.

Mohammadi's imprisonment comes as Iran's government is trying to rebuild political and business ties with western countries following the lifting of some economic sanctions against Iran in the wake of January's landmark nuclear deal.

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