Iran releases rights activist Narges Mohammadi from prison
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Iran releases rights activist Narges Mohammadi from prison

Iran released rights activist Narges Mohammadi, a campaigner against the death penalty, from prison on Thursday. She is an independent journalist and the former vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center.

The judiciary sentenced Mohammadi to prison in 2016 for, among other charges, finding a campaign group that was deemed to be an “illegal splinter group.”

The UN called for her release in July after she began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. She reportedly recovered in August. The judiciary stated in March that it had temporarily released about 85,000 inmates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including people held on security charges who claim to be political prisoners.  In late May, many were returned to prison.

Mohammadi made a speech in 2014 criticizing Evin Prison’s treatment of prisoners, which went viral on social media. She was then arrested and sentenced to 10 years for “founding and running an illegal organization’ for her work with Legam, advocating against the death penalty,” five years in prison for “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security,” and one year in prison for “spreading propaganda against the system.” The appeals court upheld the sentence.

The judiciary did not give a reason for Mohammadi’s reduced sentence after her release.