Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (29 September) on the sentence announced yesterday against Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi in appeal proceedings:
I am appalled by the news that the 16‑year prison sentence against Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has been upheld in the appeal proceedings.
Narges Mohammadi has been working peacefully and tirelessly for many years to improve the human rights situation in Iran and in particular to bring about the gradual abolition of the death penalty. On 10 December 2016 she is to receive the Human Rights Award of the City of Weimar in recognition of her work. This work has become her downfall.
No one should be arrested or sentenced because of their political or civil commitment or for expressing their opinion.
I call on the Iranian judiciary to ensure that Narges Mohammadi receives justice and to quash the verdict immediately. In view of her extremely poor health, she should be released from prison at once.
Iran must finally meet its obligations under international law and respect its citizens’ rights.
Narges Mohammadi, deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, was again arrested on 5 May 2015, apparently because of her commitment to abolishing the death penalty. In April 2016, she was sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison, in part for setting up the “Legam” group, which sought the gradual abolition of the death penalty. The sentence was upheld by the 36th chamber of the Tehran Revolutionary Court in September 2016. Her health is very poor. She is to receive the Human Rights Award of the City of Weimar in December 2016.