Prominent Iranian human rights activist is detained

AP , Wednesday 6 May 2015

Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi (left) speaks with fellow activist Narges Mohammadi (Photo:AP)

One of Iran's most prominent human rights activists, Narges Mohammadi, has been arrested by state security forces and detained in Tehran's Evin Prison, her husband said Wednesday.

Mohammadi is a close associate of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Her activism has included promoting women's rights and campaigning to end the death penalty.

Her husband, Taghi Rahmani, told The Associated Press that about 10 people showed up at Mohammadi's house early Tuesday morning to detain her — a show of force he called "very provocative."

Authorities later called her 8-year-old twins to inform them she was behind bars, said Rahmani, who lives in exile in France.

"Narges is a human rights activist. ... She hasn't done anything wrong," he said.

Mohammadi was a vice president of Ebadi's now-banned Defenders of Human Rights Center. Ebadi herself left Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which touched off unprecedented protests and harsh crackdowns by authorities.

Rahmani said his wife suffers from a health condition, made worse by confinement in small spaces, that causes temporary muscular paralysis.

Mohammadi previously was imprisoned in April 2012 to begin serving a six-year sentence following a 2010 conviction related to anti-government crimes. She was released on medical grounds in July 2012.

Last week, she told the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that an Iranian court had charged her with a number of national security crimes related to her activism.

The group said she is accused of propaganda against the state, assembly and collusion against national security, and establishing an illegal group, the "Step by Step to Stop Death Penalty" campaign.

It is unclear if Mohammadi faces new charges or is being held based on her earlier sentence. Rahmani said no court date has been set.

Iranian officials in Tehran had no comment.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam of the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights condemned Mohammadi's detention.

"Her arrest shows the low tolerance of the Iranian authorities for peaceful civil activism," he said.

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