Imprisoned Rights Activist Narges Mohammadi May Have COVID-19 Virus, Husband Says
Multiple Prisoners Showing Signs of Virus, No One Tested
“Narges Mohammadi is being denied every basic right because she takes a stand”
Imprisoned human rights activist Narges Mohammadi and other cellmates have displayed symptoms of the coronavirus during the past week in Zanjan Prison, 210 miles west of Tehran, but have not been tested.
“For the past six days, Narges and several other prisoners have suffered numbness, pain in their bones and fatigue and now, since yesterday (July 6), they have lost their sense of smell,” Mohammadi’s husband Taghi Rahmani told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“The Women’s Ward in Zanjan Prison has 30 inmates, of whom 15 had this condition. Eight of them were released on furlough but Narges and six other prisoners remain in this dire situation and are not being tested for the coronavirus,” he said.
Rahmani continued: “On Monday [July 6], one of these prisoners was taken for a coronavirus test but when she returned she said she had not been tested. This is very disturbing. All of these seven people have dangerous signs and need immediate testing and treatment. All of them should be released on furlough.”
Since 2015 Mohammadi has been serving a 16-year sentence for her peaceful human rights activism. She will be eligible for release after serving 10 years.
The recipient of the 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize from the American Physical Society, Narges Mohammadi was transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran to Zanjan in December 2019 after holding a peaceful protest inside the Women’s Ward with other inmates to condemn the killing of protesters during the protests that swept through the country in November 2019.
“Mohammadi’s family and her lawyer have made several attempts [to get her furloughed] but the authorities have not done anything to meet our requests,” Rahmani told CHRI.
He added: “Since she was moved to Zanjan Prison, she has been denied many things. She has not spoken to her children in 10 months. The kids have not heard their mother’s voice in 10 months. Narges and the children are both being punished.”
Rahmani lives in exile in France with their young son and daughter.
“Narges wants to be returned to Evin Prison. Zanjan has never been her place of residence. But nobody is paying any attention. There’s no medicine or medical care. No testing. Unfortunately, the judiciary wants to teach her a lesson and force her not to take any stands. Not to be herself. Narges Mohammadi is being denied every basic right because she takes a stand.”
In an open letter after her transfer to Zanjan, Mohammadi said she had been violently tossed into an ambulance by a large group of women and men led by Evin Prison Director Gholamreza Ziaei.
Since Ziaei’s appointment in July 2019 political prisoners have complained of harsher rules and regulations at the prison. He was previously the head of Kahrizak Detention Center during the summer of 2009, when several protesters died under torture in his custody.
Read this article in Persian.