Iranian Physicist and Engineer Released from Prison
October 9, 2020
On October 7, Iranian physicist and engineer Narges Mohammadi was released from Zanjan Prison in northwestern Iran, after serving more than 5 years of a 10-year sentence on spurious national security charges. According to Iranian media, an official in the judiciary reported that Ms. Mohammadi’s case was included in a recently passed law allowing for the reduction of certain prison sentences.
Ms. Mohammadi is well-known for her efforts to promote and protect the rights of women, prisoners of conscience, minority communities, and other vulnerable groups. She has also been deeply involved in efforts to promote free and fair elections and abolish the death penalty in her country. In May 2015, she was taken into custody to serve a six-year sentence related to her human rights work, which she had begun serving in April 2012 but from which she was released on bail due to severe ill health. Ms. Mohammadi’s rearrest in May 2015 followed her resumption of human rights activities after release from prison, including a 2014 meeting with then High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton concerning civil society and human rights in Iran.
At the time of Ms. Mohammadi's rearrest in May 2015, she was facing additional national security related charges for her human rights activities. In May 2016, while imprisoned, she was convicted by a Revolutionary Court of these new charges and received prison sentences of 10 years, 5 years, and 1 year, to be served concurrently.
During her incarceration in Evin Prison and, more recently, in Zanjan Prison, reliable reports indicate that Ms. Mohammadi’s conditions of confinement were highly problematic. We understand that she was repeatedly placed in solitary confinement. Furthermore, although she has a neurological disorder that results in seizures and other serious health problems, she was often denied adequate medical care. In recent months, U.N. human rights experts had called on the Iranian government to release Ms. Mohammadi after she became seriously ill, displaying symptoms of COVID-19.