Accessibility links

Breaking News

Jailed Rights Activist Says Video Showing Her At Prison Clinic Was Staged

Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, undated photo.

In her diaries from Women's Prison in Zanjan, rights activist Narges Mohammadi who had COVID-19 symptoms says she had been given injections to prepare her for a staged video showing her on the state-run television.

On July 16 a notorious news bulletin of the state-run television known as 8:30 aired footage from the clinic at Zanjan Prison which had been filmed secretly as proof that Narges Mohammadi was getting medical attention.

The short video which looked heavily edited showed a doctor taking Mohammadi's temperature and asking her how she is to which she responds: "I'm good, thanks".

"To prepare me for the [staged] video they gave me an injection and put me on a drip so I could stand on my feet, Ms. Mohammadi says in her latest diary entry from prison. She also says that she coughed so much during her visit to the clinic that the video secretly made of her visit could not be shown in full. The video had to be edited to the extent that even the prison warden's remarks could not be shown, Ms. Mohammadi says.

"We are extremely concerned for Ms. Mohammadi’s well-being, U.N. human rights experts said in a statement on July 22. 'We previously raised concerns that she and other individuals in Iranian prisons are at great risk if they contract COVID-19 and we called for their immediate release,” the experts said.

“For those with underlying health conditions, such as Ms. Mohammadi, it may have life-or-death consequences. The Iranian authorities must act now before it is too late," they added.

The U.N. rights experts also deplored the publication of the video which "represents a violation of Ms. Mohammadi's privacy rights and has no value as the content cannot be verified in any way".

Mohammadi who was infected with coronavirus in prison on July 5 said that after showing COVID-19 symptoms prison authorities quarantined her with eleven other patients and that she and her cellmates were deprived of the most basic medical care for COVID patients.

"We don't even have sanitizing gels. They only give us Ibuprofen. We are frail [from the illness]," she wrote on July 5.

The rights activist, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for "anti-government propaganda" and membership in a banned group opposed to death penalty, in her latest post has said that her health is better now but she is so frail she still can't walk across the prison yard.

Ms. Mohammadi's two teenage children who live abroad have recently released a video asking the Iranian people to help them hear their mother's voice. Prison authorities have not allowed Narges to speak to her children for nearly a year.