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Imprisoned Human Rights Defender Awarded Sakharov Prize


Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, undated.

American Physical Society, APS has awarded Prisoner of Conscience and deputy president of the Center for Human Rights Defenders, Narges Mohammadi its prestigious Sakharov Prize 2018.

An Indian researcher, Ravi Kuchimanchi has also been awarded the same prize “for his continued research in physics while simultaneously advocating for global policies that reflect science; for leading sustainable development, human rights, and social justice efforts; and for creating a vibrant international volunteer movement that learns from, works with, and empowers communities in India.”

Ms. Mohammadi is currently behind bars doing serving a long sentence in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Praising Mohammadi, APS has averred that she was awarded the prize “for her leadership in campaigning for peace, justice, and the abolition of the death penalty and for her unwavering efforts to promote the human rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, despite persecution that has forced her to suspend her scientific pursuits and endure lengthy incarceration.”

Mohammadi, who has also won the 2011 Per Anger Prize for defending human rights in Iran, 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, center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported.

Mohammadi was arrested again on 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, CHRI said in a statement.

In September 2016, Branch 26 of the Tehran Appeals Court upheld a 16-year prison sentence for “membership in the [now banned] Defenders of Human Rights Center,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” and one year for “propaganda against the state.”

Defenders of Human Rights Center is an entity founded by the first Iranian and Muslim woman Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi.

Ebadi, after her life was threatened, was forced to leave Iran and live in Exile.

Mohammadi will be eligible for release after serving 10 years in prison, CHRI has noted.

Prominent human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human rights Watch (HRW) and CHRI have repeatedly called for Mohammadi’s immediate release.

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