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Detained Physicist Is Denied Contact With Children

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual citizen who has been detained in Iran since April 2016 (left) and Narges Mohammadi a distinguished Iranian human rights defender.

Prominent Iranian physicist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi is not allowed to speak with her children by phone, her husband, Taqi Rahmani, disclosed in a tweet on January 13.

Rahmani, who lives in exile in Paris with the couple’s two children, said, "For the second consecutive week, the children could not hear their mother's voice."

Mohammadi has been deprived of "her natural right" to talk to her children as punishment for her protest of conditions at Tehran's notorious prison, Evin, where she is behind bars, Rahmani said.

The punishment "amounts to torture," he said, which is forbidden by Iranian and international laws.

The winner of the prestigious American Physical Society’s 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize for outstanding leadership and achievements in upholding human rights, Mohammadi and her co-inmate, 39-year-old Iranian-British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, have announced a three-day hunger strike in January.

Mohammadi, 46, was initially arrested in 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for protesting the death penalty and human rights activism.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was working for the Thomson Reuters Foundation when she was arrested at in Tehran in 2016 and later sentenced to five years in prison for spying, a charge she has repeatedly denied.

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe told AFP that his wife’s medical care is blocked by prison authorities..

Mohammadi also suffers from lung disease, gynaecological problems, and gallbladder issues. Prison doctors have repeatedly said she should receive outside treatment.

"In protest to this illegal, inhuman, and unlawful behavior, and to express our concerns for our health and survival at this denial of specialist treatment…we will go on hunger strike from January 14 to 16," the two said in a joint statement. "We are urging immediate action to be taken."

Mohammadi had previously said, “I have no hope in my country’s judiciary; all I ask of Tehran’s prosecutor-general is to provide me with the right conditions so that I can receive the necessary treatment and see specialized doctors."
The prosecutor-general and other officials of the judiciary have not yet responded to the call.