UN condemns additional 10-year sentence for Iranian human rights activist

Narges Mohammadi has described suffering experienced by prisoners at a Tehran prison as 'beyond tolerance'

Narges Mohammadi, sentence, human, rights, activist, tehran, iran, UN, OHCHR

Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi. Image: Vahid Salemi / AP/Press Association Images

The UN has condemned an additional ten-year prison sentence imposed on an Iranian human rights activist.

Narges Mohammadi (44) was found guilty of "establishing and running the illegal splinter group Legam" - a group that campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty in Iran. 

The Guardian reports the sentence comes on top of the six-year sentence Ms Mohammadi is currently serving after being found guilty of a number of offences in 2011, including membership of Iran’s Defenders of Human Rights Centre.

She is currently being held at Tehran’s Evin Prison. Women's rights group AWID has previously suggested there are fears for Ms Mohammadi's health.

In a statement, Ravina Shamdasani - a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) - said: “We are appalled by the sentencing of a prominent Iranian anti-death penalty campaigner […] in charges that stem from her courageous human rights work. Her sentencing is illustrative of an increasingly low tolerance for human rights advocacy in Iran".

In a letter published by Pen International, Ms Mohammadi described the pain and suffering experienced by herself and 25 other female political prisoners in Evin as 'beyond tolerance'.

She says: "Opposite other prisons in Iran, there is no access to telephone in Evin Prison.  Except for a weekly visit, we have no contact to the outside. All visits takes place behind double glass and only connected through a phone. We are allowed to have a visit from our family members only once a month.

"But it is the solitary confinement, which is beyond any kind of acceptable imprisonment. We – 25 women – have [been] detained in total more than 12 years in solitary confinement. Political prisoners who are considered dangerous terrorists are held in solitary confinement indefinitely".

She adds that periods of dentention in solitary confinement can be anywhere for a day to several years.

The sentence imposed on Ms Mohammadi has drawn widespread condemnation from human rights groups around the world, including Amnesty International.