Prominent Iranian physicist, human rights activist, and political prisoner Narges Mohammadi has lambasted the Islamic Republic’s judiciary as a part of “dictatorship structure” ruling Iran.
“Describing the Islamic Republic’s judiciary as an independent body is a deceitful and ridiculous claim,” Ms. Mohammadi wrote in an open letter addressed to the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani.
The 2018 winner of the Sakharov Prize also alleged that some of the judges are so “corrupt and morally unhealthy” that they have transformed the judiciary into a tool for the Islamic Republic’s officials to persecute Iranian citizens, especially dissidents.
Lying, libel, prisoners being killed behind bars, forced confessions, long prison sentences, suppressing human rights, immoral interrogations and even sexual assaults during interrogations have become routine procedure in the Islamic Republic’s judiciary.
Mohammadi, who is herself serving a sixteen-year prison sentence in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, laid out a litany of abuses she says Iran’s prisoners suffer at the hands of the judiciary.
“Lying, libel, prisoners being killed behind bars, forced confessions, long prison sentences, suppressing human rights, immoral interrogations and even sexual assaults during interrogations have become routine procedure in the Islamic Republic’s judiciary,” Mohammadi wrote.
Mohammadi went on to describe a system in which interrogators working for the intelligence services and judiciary exert complete control over the treatment of prisoners.
“The length and conditions of solitary confinement, the harshness of punishments, and the policy of requiring permission for children to talk to their imprisoned parents on the phone are decided by these interrogators who serve judiciary, military and intelligence bodies in the Islamic Republic,” she wrote.
Mohammadi is the mother of twins who live in exile in Paris with their father, national-religious group activist and co-founder of the Center for Human Rights Defenders in Iran, Taqi Rahmani.
Mohammadi received the “Prisoner of Conscience” award from the American Physical Society in October 2017, and the prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2018. She also holds the 2011 Per Anger Prize for defending human rights in Iran. Prior to her arrest she was the Vice President of the Center for Human Rights Defenders, a position she still holds in absentia.
As a defender of human rights who has been tortured by this practice, I consider it my duty to take every opportunity to express my protest against solitary confinement, the suffering victims of which I continue to see in Evin Prison,”
Mohammadi was first arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security, membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and propaganda against the state.”
Upon appeal, her sentence was reduced to six years behind bars, and she was released from Zanjan Prison in 2013 on medical grounds.
Mohammadi was arrested again May 5, 2015, two months after meeting with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief at the time, at the Austrian Embassy in Tehran to discuss the situation of human rights in Iran.
While behind bars, Ms. Mohammadi has been a vociferous advocate of prisoners’ rights. In an open letter to the Islamic Republic’s legislators in October 2017, she called on them to investigate the “illegal” practice of solitary confinement.
“As a defender of human rights who has been tortured by this practice, I consider it my duty to take every opportunity to express my protest against solitary confinement, the suffering victims of which I continue to see in Evin Prison,” she wrote to lawmakers.
Mohammadi is among the signatories of a statement calling for a referendum to decide the future of Iran’s political regime.
“The only way out of the current situation is a peaceful transition from an Islamic Republic toward a secular state based on parliamentary democracy and free people’s votes, which fully respects human rights, eliminates all institutionalized discrimination, particularly against women, ethnic and religious minorities, and all other minorities,” Mohammadi and other political activists wrote in their statement earlier in February.