Armita Geravand, 17, and a still of her being carried unconscious in a Tehran metro station, October 1, 2023
UPDATE, NOV 20:
Prominent film actor Hanieh Tavassoli, has been sentenced to six months in prison for support of the “Woman. Life. Protests”.
Tavassoli’s lawyer Maryam Kian Ersi posted on social media that the sentence is suspended for three years.
Tavassoli, 44, was arrested at her home in mid-September and released on bail the following day. Her “crime” was speaking out against the regime’s crackdown on dissent and expression of solidarity with victims of human rights abuses.
The actor also expressed sympathy for the family of Armita Geravand, who died on October 29 after a four-week coma. Geravand was accosted in a Tehran metro station on October 1 by a “hijab enrforcer”.
The formal charge was “publishing content contrary to reality with the intention of disturbing the public mind”.
Journalist Saeideh Shafiei has begun serving her 3 1/2-year sentence at Tehran’s Evin Prison.Sentences for Shafiei and fellow journalist Nasim Sultan Beigi, for “propaganda activities against the system” and ” gathering and collusion against national security”, were upheld by the Court of Appeal for Tehran Province on September 18. Shafiei was ordered on November 13 to report to Evin.
UPDATE, NOV 19:
Rapper Toomaj Salehi, imprisoned for his support of the “Woman. Life. Freedom” protests, has been released on bail after his sentence was quashed.
Salehi was freed on Saturday after Iran’s Supreme Court found “flaws in the original sentence” and returned the case to the lower court.
In July the rapper was condemned to six years and three months in prison on a charge of “corruption on Earth”. He was acquitted of “insulting the founder of the Islamic Revolution and leadership and communicating with hostile governments”.
Salehi was arrested in October 2022, weeks after nationwide protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini — detained and reportedly beaten by “morality police” — in custody. He spent much of his pretrial detention in solitary confinement.
Salehi has been prominent for his lyrics over corruption, widespread poverty, state executions, and the killing of protesters. His songs depict the widening gap between ordinary Iranians and the country’s leadership, accusing authorities of “suffocating” the people without regard for their well-being.
UPDATE 1622 GMT:
Graduates at a university on Iran’s Kish Island defy compulsory hijab.
Tens of female students of Pardis University of #Kish refused to follow compulsory Hijab laws of #Iran's Islamic Regime during their graduation ceremony. This has angared authorities of the regime. Now, they want to prosecute these students over not covering their hair. pic.twitter.com/BIuLGUPVBr
— Babak Taghvaee – The Crisis Watch (@BabakTaghvaee1) November 17, 2023
UPDATE, NOV 18:
Iranian authorities have condemned to prison another woman for refusal to wear hijab.
Hamideh Zarei, a university student denied trial attendance due to her refusal to wear the mandatory hijab, received a one-year prison sentence on the fabricated charge of "propaganda against the state." pic.twitter.com/Or6qvMahQH
— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) November 18, 2023
UPDATE, NOV 14:
Iran’s authorities have filed new charges against journalist Zeinab Rahimi over her coverage of the case of 17-year-old Armita Garavand, who died at the end of October after she was accosted by “hijab police” in a Tehran underground station and fell into a four-week coma.
Rahimi is free on bail as she awaits a verdict. Charges have not been specified, but she was previously summoned on allegations of “spreading lies and violating public decency”.
Rahimi is the fifth journalist to face legal action after commenting on Gervand’s coma and death.
Iranian officials have been systematically arresting and imprisoning media personnel. In the latest cases, economic journalist Saeedeh Shafiei has been summoned to serve a 3 1/2-year prison sentence, imposed in July, for “gathering information and collusion against the system”.
UPDATE, NOV 9:
Iranian authorities have finally permitted urgent medical care for Nobel Peace Prize laureate and political prisoner Narges Mohammadi, three days into her hunger strike.
Two activists close to Mohammadi said in separate posts on social media on Wednesday November 8 that she was taken to hospital. She is being examined by doctors about her “unfavorable” state of health.
Mohammadi’s husband Taghi Rahmani said earlier this week that authorities in Evin Prison had refused to transfer the laureate despite the “50 percent occlusion of two heart vessels” and an order from the prison doctor to “immediately send” her to hospital.
UPDATE, NOV 7:
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi began a hunger strike on Monday to challenge restrictions on medical care for her and fellow prisoners, and to protest compulsory hijab for women.
Mohammadi’s family said her message from Tehran’s Evin Prison on Monday informed them that she started the hunger strike several hours earlier. She is only consuming water, sugar, and salt and refusing to take medicine.
For weeks, Mohammadi and her lawyer for weeks have sought her transfer to a specialist hospital for heart and lung care. She suffers from blockages in three veins and lung pressure, but authorities have denied her medical attention because of her refusal to wear hijab.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awarded Mohammadi the Peace Prize last month, said it was “deeply concerned” about her health. Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the committee, said:
The requirement that female inmates must wear a hijab in order to be hospitalized is inhumane and morally unacceptable.
Narges Mohammadi’s initiation of a hunger strike demonstrates the seriousness of the situation. The Norwegian Nobel Committee urges the Iranian authorities to provide Narges Mohammadi, and other female inmates, with whatever medical assistance they may need.
Another prominent political prisoner, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, is also reportedly being denied medical care.
Sotoudeh was beaten and detained again on October 29, as she attended the funeral of Armita Geravand, the 16-year-old girl who died four weeks after she was accosted by a “hjiab enforcer” in a Tehran underground station.
UPDATE, OCT 8:
Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi has joined the call by activists and legal scholars for the UN to include gender apartheid in the definition of crimes against humanity.
Mohammadi sent a message of support from Tehran’s Evin Prison, where she has spent much of her life since 2011.
The UN will debate the draft treaty on crimes against humanity next week.
Mohammadi’s fellow Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi is one of the activists involved in the campaign. Ebadi is the exiled head of the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, and Mohammadi is the deputy head.
Other campaigners include Hillary Clinton; South African justice Richard Goldstone; author Gloria Steinem; the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay; former International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Dr Fatou Bensouda; and Nobel laureates Malala Yousafzai and Nadia Murad.
The letter to the UN explains:
The failure to codify gender apartheid perpetuates an accountability vacuum that leaves many victims and survivors without remedy or reparation….
The crime of gender apartheid is unique in animus and intent. It is distinct from other international crimes, including gender persecution, due to its dystopian ambition to maintain an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination, where the under class is subjugated for the dominant group’s benefit and survival, dehumanised, and cut off from the resources and access needed to overcome their choreographed oppression. The Taliban’s ever deepening and institutionalised oppression of Afghan women and girls is a case in point.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, OCT 6: Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, a political prisoner in Iran for most of the period since 2011, has won the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.
Mohammadi, deputy head of the Center for Human Rights Defenders, responded in a statement from Tehran’s Evin Prison:
I will never stop striving for the realization of democracy, freedom and equality.
Surely, the Nobel Peace Prize will make me more resilient, determined, hopeful, and enthusiastic on this path, and it will accelerate my pace.
Mohammadi was seized in 2011, as the regime continued its effort to quash the mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes. Her family has been forced to leave Iran.
Despite the punishments, Mohammadi has continued her campaigns for women’s rights, the abolition of the death penalty, and the improvement of prison conditions. Amid the nationwide protests since September 2022 for “Woman. Life. Freedom”, she has warned of further demonstrations if the Iranian regime does not acknowledge rights, justice, and equality.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its citation, “[We have] decided to award the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize to Narges Mohammadi for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all….Her courageous fight has come at a great personal cost.”
Mohammadi has been active from within prison, warning of nationwide protests by publishing letters about the state of prisons and detention centres and violence against prisoners and detainees.
Last December she wrote Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran about “assaults against women during detention and in detention centers” as “part of the repression program” of the Iranian regime.
On September 16, the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody — the event sparking the nationwide rallies — Mohammadi posted a message about “the day of recording the oppression of the religious authoritarian regime against the women of Iran”.
In an audio recording brought out of Evin, Mohammadi is heard leading chants of “Woman. Life. Freedom”.
She wrote, “I have never seen as many new admissions to the women’s ward there as in the last five months. What the government may not understand is that the more of us they lock up, the stronger we become.”
Because of the messages, she has been banned from speaking directly to her husband and children for the past 18 months.
“A Prize for Woman. Life. Freedom”
Mohammadi’s husband Taghi Rahmani, speaking from exile with the couple’s children in Paris, noted, “This Nobel Prize will embolden Narges’s fight for human rights, but more importantly, this is in fact a prize for the Woman. Life. Freedom [movement].”
Rights activists reinforced the tributes and the significance for the quest for rights and personal freedoms. Actress Nazanin Boniadi said:
The importance of the Nobel Institute recognizing a brave Iranian woman like Narges Mohammadi in this moment doesn’t escape me. A new generation of Iranians draw inspiration for her longstanding courage and human rights advocacy.
I hope this moment serves as a reminder that the world is with the people of Iran, as they risk everything for freedom.
The Iran regime’s response came through Fars, the outlet linked to the Revolutionary Guards. It said the political prisoner had “received her prize from the Westerners” after making “headlines multiple times due to her acts against the national security”.
The outlet sneered, “Mohammadi did not use her days off and her treatment opportunities in the past few days [and] instead decided to create unrest and falsely claimed she had been beaten in prison.”