Rights activist sentenced to 80 lashes and 30 months in prison in Iran for criticizing the death penalty

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A prominent Iranian rights activist has been sentenced to 80 lashes and 30 months in prison after criticizing the death penalty and accusing prison officials of ‘torture and intimidation’.

Narges Mohammadi, 49, a journalist, was sentenced after being found guilty of ‘propaganda against the system’ of the Islamic republic for condemning Iran’s use of the death penalty.

The mother of two was also found guilty of ‘rebellion against the prison authority’ after accusing prison guards of torture.

Her lawyer, Mahmoud Behzadi-Rad, said that given the ‘circumstances’, Mohammadi does not intend to appeal without providing further details.

Narges Mohammadi, 49, a journalist, sentenced after found guilty of ‘propaganda against the system’ of the Islamic republic for condemning Iran’s use of the death penalty

Meanwhile, the EU said the conviction is “ a worrying development ” and urged Iran to review Mohammadi’s case.

Mohammadi, an anti-death penalty campaigner, was arrested in May 2015 while serving as a spokeswoman for Iran’s Defenders of Human Rights Center, founded by lawyer and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.

She was then sentenced to 10 years in prison for, among other things, ‘forming and running an illegal group’, but was released last year after her sentence was reduced.

But on Tuesday, the reformist newspaper Etemad reported that Mohammadi had been tried and found guilty of ‘propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s system’, as well as ‘defemation’ and ‘rebellion against the prison authority’.

She was accused of “making a statement against the death penalty,” accusing prison officials of “torture and intimidation,” and of staging a sit-in protest in the prison.

Mohammadi was sentenced to 80 lashes, a further 30 months in prison and two fines.

The mother of two was also found guilty of 'rebellion against the prison authority' after accusing prison guards of torture.  Pictured: Mohammadi, center, next to Iranian Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, left, attending a 2007 women's rights rally in Tehran, Iran

The mother of two was also found guilty of ‘rebellion against the prison authority’ after accusing prison guards of torture. Pictured: Mohammadi, center, next to Iranian Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, left, attending a 2007 women’s rights rally in Tehran, Iran

While serving her first sentence, Mohammadi was transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran to a prison in Zanjan, northwestern Iran, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The journalist “had filed a complaint against her immoral and illegal transfer,” her lawyer said.

She had also alleged that she had been “ beaten and harassed ” in Evin prison, Etemad newspaper reports.

“Instead of investigating her complaint, law officials have opened a new case against my client,” Behzadi-Rad said.

“Mohammadi has dedicated her life to the cause of his rights,” an EU spokesman said in a statement, adding that the conviction is “a worrying development.”

“The EU calls on Iran to review Ms Mohammadi’s case in accordance with applicable international human rights law and taking into account her deteriorating health status.”

In 2019, a prominent Iranian lawyer was sentenced to 148 lashes for 38 years after defending women who publicly removed their headscarves.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer imprisoned in Iran, was given the maximum sentence for all of her seven convictions.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer imprisoned in Iran, received maximum sentence for all of her seven convictions in 2019

Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer imprisoned in Iran, received maximum sentence for all of her seven convictions in 2019

She represented protesters against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarves for women, many of whom filmed themselves taking off the garment and posing on social media.

Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists, was arrested in June 2018 and charged with espionage, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader, her lawyer said.

Iran, along with other countries in the Middle East, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, dominated a list of the world’s best executioners with more than 400 executed in 2020, Amnesty International revealed last month.

The four countries accounted for 88 percent of the at least 483 people executed.

Iran has executed at least 246 people, including three people who were under 18 when they committed the crime last year, Amnesty said.

The watchdog added that the death penalty in Iran was “ increasingly used as a weapon of political repression against dissidents, protesters and members of minority ethnic groups. ”

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