Industrial design engineer Sharifeh Mohammadi, condemned to death over her labor activism


Zahra Mousavi, the daughter of detained Green Movement leader and 2009 Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been fired from her lectureship in the Faculty of Art at Tehran’s Al-Zahra University.

Mousavi posted on Instagram that she was dismissed on June 15: “The security institutions played the main role.” Her salary had already been suspended because of her parents, Mousavi and academic, artist, and activist Zahra Rahnavard, who have been under strict house arrest since February 2011.

Zahra Mousavi’s dismissal letter, signed by the university president, cited a report from the university’s security forces. The deputy of security at Al-Zahra, Sadegh Farhadi, referred to Mousavi’s support for students who were prevented from attending classes for violating rules on compulsory hijab.

Mir Hossein Mousavi led the challenge to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His candidacy and the Green Movement mobilized unprecedented enthusiasm for a Presidential election.

When the regime reportedly intervened to block Mousavi’s first-round lead, proclaiming victory for Ahmadinejad with “63%” of the vote, more than a million Iranians took to the streets. The mass protests continued for months until they were suppressed by detentions, intimidation, cutoff of communications, and the killings of score of protesters.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, JULY 9: A Revolutionary Court in Iran has sentenced Sharifeh Mohammadi, an industrial design engineer and independent labor activist, to death.

Mohammadi was condemned for “armed rebellion against the state”. Prosecutors cited alleged associations with organizations in which she is not a member.

Mohammadi, the mother of a 12-year-old son, was condemned last Thursday in Rasht in northern Iran. She was arrested last December and held incommunicado for months, with her family denied any information about her status or location. Mohammadi’s aunt, Vida Mohammadi, said her niece has been tortured.

Mohammadi’s husband, Siros Fathi, was arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents on June 11, after he requested information about his wife’s case. He was released on bail later in the month.

Hadi Ghaemi of the Center for Human Rights in Iran summarized:

Another woman has been sentenced to death just as Iran’s new President was voted in, indicating that the Islamic Republic has no intention of pausing its state-sanctioned killing machine, which continues to be used to punish and silence peaceful dissent.

Sharifeh’s case highlights what Iran’s labor activists and indeed any independent member of civil society have been facing for decades: lethal repression for demanding basic rights.