Jailed Iranian Activist Raises Alarm over Increase of Violence against Women Prisoners

In a message written in Tehran’s Evin prison, prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi says she has witnessed over the past few months a sharp increase in the number of women entering the detention facility with visible signs of physical abuse.

The text, published on Mohammadi’s Instagram page on August 17, says that violence against women inmates is “systematic” and is aimed at instilling terror in them. 

The activist cited the case of a 70-year-old woman who was beaten so badly on the night of her arrest that she had black eyes and bruises on her body for 25 days. 

Another woman sustained rib injuries after being assaulted by male officers, and a third had a broken leg that was treated properly.

Mohammadi called on international human rights organizations, women’s and feminist groups, journalists and writers to take action to prevent further violence against women in Iran. 

She appealed to Javaid Rehman, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, to investigate the reported incidents of sexual assault on women detainees.

The activist also warned the Islamic Republic that an escalation of violence and repression “would not diminish the resolute determination of the people to move away from an authoritarian religious system.”

Mohammadi has been targeted by the Iranian government for decades for her writing and activism. She was most recently arrested in 2022 and subsequently sentenced to 10 years 9 months in prison on multiple fabricated charges.

While serving her sentence in Evin prison, Mohammadi consistently used her voice to advocate for fellow political prisoners and highlight horrific conditions inside prisons.

In retribution for that, she was given an additional one-year prison sentence earlier this month.

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