Senator Mark Kirk (US), Hon. Irwin Cotler (CA), MP Denis MacShane (UK), MP Michael Danby (AU), MP Fiamma Nirenstein (IT) and MP Emanuelis Zingeris (LT), members of the Global Iranian Political Prisoner Advocacy Program, today called for the immediate release of Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian human rights advocate and journalist currently jailed in Zanjan Prison, Iran. Mohammadi has faced continued harassment and persecution since 2003 and, due to harsh prison conditions, has developed a serious illness that causes temporary muscular paralysis.
"We stand in solidarity with Narges Mohammadi and urge the Government of Iran to immediately release her from prison," the members said. "The unjust treatment of Mohammadi is but one example of the Iranian regime's attempt to silence those fighting for citizens' basic human rights in Iran, and the Government must be held accountable."
Narges, a journalist and human rights activist, attended the Imam Khomeini University in Qazvin. Upon graduation, she became a journalist advocating for human rights, women's rights and student activism. In 2003, Narges joined the Centre for Human Rights Defenders in Iran and has led efforts to support transparent elections and end juvenile execution. In 2009, the Iranian regime banned Narges from leaving the country and confiscated her passport, ordering Narges to end her human rights activities or face further consequences. Later that year, Narges was arrested and placed in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin Prison. In 2011, she was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of "assembly and collusion against national security [and] propagating against the regime." Narges was recently moved to Zanjan Prison from Evin Prison for unknown reasons.
The Global Iranian Political Prisoner Advocacy Program, formed by co-chairs Kirk and Cotler in September 2011, works to combat the Iranian Government's widespread and systemic violations of human rights and includes an international consortium of parliamentarians from around the world. Senator Kirk also created the Iranian Dissident Awareness Program (IDAP) so members of the United States Congress from both sides of the aisle can stand with the people of Iran to fight for its persecuted, dissidents and political prisoners. Senator Kirk has added Narges Mohammadi as the newest member of IDAP.