PARIS, France — Prize-winning Iranian human rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi, presently jailed in Tehran’s Evin jail as protests grip the nation, has not seen her 16-year-old twins for seven years.
She has not seen her husband Taghi Rahmani, himself a veteran of Iranian jails and now dwelling in exile in Paris, for the previous decade.
In a brand new restriction in obvious response to the protests, the authorities have stripped Mohammadi, 50, of her jail phone playing cards for the subsequent two months.
She had already been blocked by authorities from telephoning her youngsters, Ali and Kiana, in France for the previous seven months: the newest restriction signifies that now she can not even communicate to her household inside Iran.
“The system of prisons in Iran is torturing households,” Rahmani informed AFP, in an interview within the French capital.
“It’s not only a torture for the prisoner, however for your complete household. The youngsters haven’t heard Narges’ voice for the final seven months.”
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The toughening of her jail circumstances come as Iran presses a crackdown in opposition to 5 weeks of protests which have shaken its management over the dying of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the infamous morality police.
Mohammadi had already been banned by the Iranian authorities from talking to Rahmani, an influential opposition determine broadly adopted on social media, in jail calls.
“In the event that they heard her talking to me, they’d reduce the cellphone,” he mentioned.
“They’re torturing our kids, as they haven’t seen Narges since 2015. I’ve not seen her since 2010.”
‘Prisoner of conscience’
In one other blow to any hopes the household have of reunification, Mohammadi was handed one other 15-month jail sentence this month, on prices of inciting protests. She is now serving a time period of at the very least eight years in jail.
Her sentences have additionally include extra punishments, reminiscent of an order for 70 lashes and, within the newest conviction, clearing up the municipal rubbish as soon as she is lastly launched.
“She doesn’t take part in any of these case hearings. The decide is just not unbiased, and she or he has mentioned she won’t take part,” mentioned Rahmani.
Explaining the phone card ban, he mentioned: “The authorities are not looking for prisoners spreading data to the surface world.”
A former colleague of Nobel Peace Prize-winning campaigner Shirin Ebadi, Mohammadi has campaigned in opposition to the dying penalty and for justice for protesters killed in a crackdown on November 2019 demonstrations.
She has received quite a few worldwide prizes in recognition for her work, together with, in 2011, the annual Per Anger Prize issued by the Swedish authorities. She has been tipped as a attainable candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mohammadi’s activism has disadvantaged her of her freedom for a lot of the previous decade, after receiving a string of convictions by the authorities on nationwide safety prices.
She was launched from jail in October 2020, after which arrested in November 2021 outdoors Tehran, whereas attending a memorial for a person killed throughout the November 2019 protests.
Mohammadi, who suffers from a coronary heart situation, was given a short break from jail in April for medical causes, however was then transferred again to Qarchak jail outdoors Tehran after which despatched to Evin.
“Narges is now in Evin, which is now full of people that have been arrested within the protests. The circumstances in Evin and Iranian prisons generally are very poor,” mentioned Rahmani.
Amnesty Worldwide describes Mohammadi as a “prisoner of conscience” who has been arbitrarily detained and subjected to torture by the deliberate denial of healthcare for her coronary heart situation.
‘One in every of us at all times inside’
Rahmani described the state of affairs in Evin as “infected” with tensions, saying that actions by prisoners in assist of the protests led to a crackdown by the authorities on the night time of the October 15 hearth that ripped by way of the jail.
Prisoners from the ladies’s part and political detainees “have been elevating their voices in assist of the protests daily within the courtyard.”
After the fireplace broke out, some prisoners have been transferred to different jails like Gohardasht the place safety forces obtained them with so-called “welcome tunnels” by standing in rows and beating them as they got here out of buses, he alleged, citing particulars from contained in the jail.
Rahmani mentioned there wanted to be a global mission to research the state of affairs in Iranian prisons, however the Islamic republic “would by no means settle for that.”
In the meantime, he and his household proceed to rely the private value of their resistance to the regime.
“One in every of us has at all times been inside (jail) whereas the opposite has been out. Life continues, however it’s tough. I hope when the kids develop up they perceive why now we have taken sides.
“Narges doesn’t keep silent. This isn’t acceptable for the Iranian authorities.”
However he acknowledged that the federal government response to the protests had already toughened her circumstances.
“The strain will get more durable now.”