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Tehran Prison Denies Meeting To Nobel Laureate Over Hijab Refusal


Narges Mohammadi’s lawyer reports that Tehran’s Evin Prison authorities denied her a meeting on Tuesday because she refused to wear the hijab.

Mostafa Nili, in a tweet, explained that he was informed at the prisoners’ visiting hall, after a considerable wait to see his client, that prison authorities had decided not to allow Mohammadi to meet him, ultimately forcing him to leave.

Mohammadi, a prominent human rights activist and physicist who was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, is well-known for her vocal criticism of the Islamic Republic, particularly its compulsory hijab laws and various human rights violations, including the death penalty.

In a phone call quoted on an Instagram account authorized by Mohammadi, she stated that a prison guard had assaulted, threatened, and verbally abused her for not wearing the hijab. This incident took place in the prison clinic in September, in the presence of some prison authorities, resulting in bruises as she was dragged to the prison courtyard. She added that she protested against the maltreatment of another prisoner by shouting that prison guards had no right to threaten inmates and even climbed on a car while chanting “Down with the Islamic Republic.”

Evin prison in Tehran

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which recognized Mohammadi for her “fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all,” has called for her release.

In a letter addressed to the European Parliament, Mohammadi reiterated her view that the Islamic Republic is a religious dictatorship and anti-women, urging for “maximum pressure” on the regime to ensure its compliance with human rights and to support Iranian women in their struggle.

Over the past few months, Mohammadi, 51, has penned several letters from Evin Prison, where she has been serving a twelve-year sentence since November 2021 for charges including “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” She has consistently denied these charges, which were brought against her after she issued a statement against the death penalty.

As the co-founder and chairperson of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, Mohammadi has been detained and imprisoned multiple times over the past two decades.

Officials of the Islamic Republic, including Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani, have condemned Mohammadi’s Nobel Peace Prize as a “politically motivated move” and accused Western governments, including Norway, of pursuing “anti-Iranian and interventionist policies.”

Ultra-hardline media outlets, such as the IRGC-affiliated Javan newspaper, have labeled her a “separatist, pro-sanctions Iranian.”

Mohammadi has, on various occasions, opposed Western economic sanctions on Iran, arguing that these, combined with the government’s economic inefficiency, have led to the impoverishment of the Iranian people and weakened their power. However, she has defended sanctions and travel restrictions imposed on Islamic Republic officials for human rights violations.

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