Iran sentences activist to 30 months in jail and flogging

EU says the sentencing is 'a worrying development'

Iranian activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi does not intend to appeal her latest conviction after she was sentenced to jail, fines and flogging. AP
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Iranian rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi, released from jail in October, was handed a new sentence of 80 lashes and 30 months in jail, her lawyer said.

Mohammadi, 49, a campaigner against the death penalty, was spokeswoman for the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran – founded by lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi – when she was arrested in May 2015.

At that time, the mother of two was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "forming and managing an illegal group", among other charges, but was released last year after her sentence was reduced.

But on Tuesday the reformist newspaper Etemad reported that she was tried and found guilty of "propaganda against the system", as well as "defamation" and "rebellion against the prison authority".

Etemad said she was charged with having "issued a statement against the death penalty", of having accused prison officials of "torture and harassment", and of organising a sit-in protest while in prison.

She was sentenced "to 80 lashes, 30 months in prison and two fines", it reported.

Her lawyer, Mahmoud Behzadi-Rad, confirmed the report to AFP,  and said that Mohammadi did not intend to appeal against her conviction given the circumstances, but provided no details.

According to international press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders, during her detention Mohammadi was moved from Tehran's Evin prison to a prison in Zanjan, in north-west Iran.

Mohammadi "lodged a complaint against her immoral and illegal transfer", Mr Behzadi-Rad said.

Etemad reported that she also claimed she was "beaten and harassed" in Evin prison.

"Instead of examining her complaint, justice officials opened another case against my client," Mr Behzadi-Rad said.

The EU called the sentencing "a worrying development".

"Mohammadi has devoted her life to the cause of human rights," an EU representative said.

"The EU calls on Iran to review Ms Mohammadi's case in compliance with the applicable international human rights law, and taking into account her deteriorating health condition."