Five-Minute Trial Resulted in Narges Mohammadi’s Eight-Year Prison Sentence
EU Calls for Rights Defender’s Release
In a letter from Iran’s notoriously harsh Gharchak Prison, translated into English below by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), renowned rights defender Narges Mohammadi decried her 8.2-year prison sentence after a “five-minute trial” and “without the presence of my lawyer.”
In calling for her release, the European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service, condemned the sentence—issued a little over a year after Mohammadi completed a five-year sentence—as “against the universal principles of human rights and the rule of law.”
Following is CHRI’s translation of Mohammadi’s entire letter from Gharchak Prison, dated January 24, 2022.
During 64 days in solitary confinement in [Tehran’s Evin Prison] Ward 209 [controlled by the Intelligence Ministry], a new case was opened against me and I was quickly tried and convicted. This behavior was completely unlawful, illegitimate, inhuman and immoral.
Twelve hours after I was put in solitary confinement in Ward 209, I was handed a letter about the enforcement of the sentence against me: 80 lashes and 30 months in prison, as ordered by a magistrate official, Mr. Nasirpour.
On December 24, without any prior notice, I was taken to the same branch to present my final defense. Of course, I didn’t present any defense and requested the presence of my lawyer.
Also, the moment I was arrested on November 16, I submitted a written request, in the presence of Assistant Prosecutor Alireza Hosseini, to contact and see my lawyer, but it was rejected.
Finally, without access to a lawyer, banned from receiving visitors, and prevented from making phone calls for 40 days at that point, my case quickly proceeded and on January 12, while I had been abandoned in my cell and hadn’t been interrogated–according to the Intelligence Ministry’s statement, I was taken to Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court to be tried.
As I sat alone between Intelligence Ministry agents, without having looked at my case file, and without the presence of my lawyer, I was given a five-minute trial. I said that I have no defense to present in this court. When the court issued its ruling two days later, I declared in writing that I have no intention of appealing or surrendering to a sentence that I do not recognize.
According to the sentence in this case, I have been condemned to eight years and two months in prison, 74 lashes, and banned from living in Tehran, membership in political and social organizations, using social media or even having telecommunications [phone calls], and my mobile phone was confiscated. This case has no legal merit. It was a cruel, deceptive scheme to … silence me and completely deny me the right to conduct a defense and dissent.
The biased and baseless nature of the charges become clearer as they were in connection with the crime of being recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize by Amnesty International’s branch in Norway. I was told this not only by the Intelligence Ministry’s representative in Ward 209, who called it a foreign conspiracy against the Islamic Republic of Iran, but shockingly and inexplicably it was also emphasized in the first sentence of the second page of the ruling issued by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court.
I have a question for the heads of the judicial and executive branches: Is my Nobel Peace Prize nomination by Amnesty International’s branch in Norway, for peaceful human rights activities, an act against national security that deserves eight years in prison and 74 lashes…?
In conclusion, I call on peace-seeking and humanitarian organizations of the world, including Amnesty International, as well as the European Parliament, not to discount or dismiss the blatant suppression of peace-seekers inside and outside Iran, which is clearly the policy of the Islamic Republic.
Monday, January 24, 2022
Gharchak Prison, Varamin