Narges Mohammadi, winner of the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize, imprisoned in Tehran, ended the hunger strike that she had started two days earlier on Wednesday, November 8. After three refusals of access to care, the prisoner was finally taken to hospital, refusing to wear the veil. A first victory, believes Chirinne Ardakani, president of the Iran Justice collective and lawyer for the family of Narges Mohammadi, who decided to refer the treatment inflicted by his jailers to the UN.
RFI: What is the latest news you have from Narges Mohammadi?
Chirinne Ardakani as Narges Mohammadi has been fighting for several years against the compulsory veil for all Iranian women. She persists in her fight, including in Evin prison. The reason why she went on hunger strike on November 6 was to protest against the repeated refusals of care that were given to her by the prison administration, which made her transfer conditional on the compulsory wearing of the veil. . On November 8, she was transferred to hospital, surrounded by security forces, without wearing a veil. Narges Mohammadi also ended his hunger strike. It is a victory for her who had undertaken this strike at the risk of her life. She was taking risks with her health, knowing that she had heart surgery in 2021 and has heart problems. This strike ultimately brought the regime to its knees: they were forced to transfer him, without the obligatory veil. This is proof that her perseverance, the mobilization of the seven fellow prisoners who joined her in her hunger strike and international pressure ended up paying off.
The same day, you submitted a complaint against the Iranian authorities to the UN working group on arbitrary detention.
We are seizing these organizations because we hope that it will succeed and that the Iranian authorities will be ostracized from the nations questioned for non-compliance with international law. It is both a so-called urgent action procedure, so that there is rapid intervention by the detention group, but also to push the Iranian authorities to put an end to the inhuman and degrading treatment which is characterized by the refusal care.
The second element for which we are referring the working group is a complaint on the individual case of Narges Mohammadi, for whom we ask to investigate the inhumane conditions of detention from which a certain number of his fellow prisoners in the prison also suffer. . She also recalls this in her white paper on white torture, a report that she published in December 2022 which regularly documents beatings, physical attacks, psychological violence and cases of white torture.
Our third request is to urge the Iranian authorities to immediately release Narges Mohammadi, since this is an absolutely illegal detention and contrary to international law. She did not receive a fair trial and her detention is arbitrary. She is criminalized because of the fights she may have carried out and not at all because of the spurious accusations which are not based on any tangible proof of any participation in any activity against national security. She’s a prisoner of conscience. She is incarcerated in contempt of her freedom of conscience and expression. As it persists in its battles and acquires an international stature, notably with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 6, it benefits from an additional balance of power. This is why she is increasingly considered a state criminal by the Islamic regime. She is being given security treatment comparable to that of a terrorist, due to the growing threat she represents for the Iranian authorities who fear seeing a figure embodying the resistance forces take shape.
Read alsoInterview with Narges Mohammadi, human rights activist, imprisoned in Iran
Are you considering further action against his detention?
My association and more than thirty human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International Or Front Line Defenders, came together to co-sign an appeal to all of civil society to call for the immediate release of Narges Mohammadi. This call, published in The world, will be followed by a certain number of actions, in this case an international petition and mobilizations in all the countries where these organizations have branches. The only watchword today is the immediate and uncompromising release of Narges Mohammadi so that she can, on December 10, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in person in Oslo. His place is not in prison, but alongside his family and in freedom.
Inmates of the Islamic regime are systematically refused access to care if they do not wear the veil. Are you planning a class action against the refusal of access to care?
There is a problem with the admissibility of our appeals. We cannot seize them without having a mandate from the political prisoners. The mandate that was given to us for Narges Mohammadi came to me through her husband, it was he who mandated me to initiate this action. This is not necessarily the case for other political prisoners who have difficulty taking a certain number of steps.
Then, generally speaking, the working group on arbitrary detention can only receive individual cases. This is the case in this case with Narges Mohammadi, for whom we had extremely detailed allegations regarding these refusals of care. In short, to be able to use this mechanism, we must be individually mandated and have sufficiently reliable and documented allegations. This does not mean that we refrain from paying attention to other cases, it means that as it stands, we cannot consider similar referrals for other political prisoners. In any case, for our approach to be effective and to increase the balance of power of human rights activists in relation to this regime, it can only be collective and go beyond the sole case of Narges Mohammadi. We are hopeful that the report of the UN working group, which will be delivered in March 2024, will reveal the reality of the state crimes that have been perpetrated by the Iranian authorities and will allow us, jurists and lawyers , to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.