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Pressure Increases On Prominent Rights Defender In Iran Prison

Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, undated. FILE PHOTO

The Islamic Republic intelligence agents have tightened restrictions on a prominent Iranian human rights advocate as she begins her sixth year in prison.

In a letter from jail, Ms. Narges Mohammadi tells the public that she is not even allowed to receive books behind bars.

Mohammadi, who was transferred to a remote prison in the town of Zanjan last year despite her serious illness, says she is serving her sentence alongside inmates who were victims of "poverty, corruption, tyranny and the rule of patriarchal law."

The "gift" I received for my sixth year in jail, Ms. Mohammadi asserts, is companionship with the victims whose fate "thrust pain into my bones ... to find out what a devastating end is in the waiting for a starving child who had stolen a box of cheese puff, and a prostitute who sold her body to avoid sleeping on the street at night.”

The gift, Mohammadi has added, also made her understand that "denying women the right to divorce takes them to the gallows and the stoning pit."

The Islamic Revolutionary Court has sentenced Narges Mohammadi, 48, to sixteen years in prison on charges of "propaganda activities against the regime", "campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty" and "conspiracy to commit crimes against the security of the country."

In a recent letter to her mother, Mohammadi complained that the Judiciary had refused to give her leave amid the outbreak of deadly novel coronavirus.

Earlier, Amnesty International (AI) had warned, "After years of imprisonment, Narges’ health is failing. She suffers from a blood clot in her lungs and a neurological disorder that means she is at risk if she contracts COVID-19."

People in Iran’s prisons are at extreme risk of contracting COVID-19, due to the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, AI noted.

Winner of the prestigious American Physical Society's 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize for outstanding leadership and achievements by a scientist in upholding human, Mohammadi was transferred to a provincial jail last year where her life has repeatedly been threatened by another inmate under the eyes of the prison authorities.