Dear Chief Justice
Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Jauresgasse 9
1030 Wien

Iranian authorities, including prosecution and prison officials, are subjecting 51-year-old Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned human rights defender and 2023 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, to torture and other ill-treatment. They have deliberately denied or, in some instances, severely delayed her access to adequate healthcare, including for serious heart and lung conditions, placing her health at great risk.

The denial of medical care is being used to punish her for refusing to comply with abusive compulsory veiling during transfer for medical care outside prison. On 6 November 2023 she went on hunger strike in protest at the prosecution authorities’ refusal to transfer her for urgent medical tests at a hospital outside prison for over two months. On 8 November, amidst a global outcry, the authorities transferred her to hospital without the compulsory headscarf but returned her to Tehran’s Evin prison the same day and before the test results were reviewed by doctors.

On 11 November 2023, she learned that doctors had found fluid around her heart, up to 80% blockage of two arteries requiring an immediate angioplasty and swelling in her oesophagus. Despite this, on 15 November 2023, prosecution officials again blocked her transfer to hospital and conditioned it on her complying with compulsory veiling. She was taken to hospital on 16 November 2023 for an angioplasty without compulsory veiling and returned to prison the same day against medical advice. Serious concerns remain over her access to adequate healthcare she needs, including follow-up treatment and monitoring of her heart condition, as prison and prosecution officials have the authority to decide on transfers to hospital and ignore medical advice, per Iran’s Prison Regulations.

Since May 2021, Iranian authorities have unjustly convicted and sentenced Narges Mohammadi to a total of 12 years and 11 months in prison, 154 lashes, and other sanctions in four separate cases stemming from her human rights activism, including advocating for families seeking truth and justice for loved ones unlawfully killed by security forces during nationwide protests; publicly shedding light on sexual violence against women in prison; and supporting the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising. On 12 November 2023, Narges Mohammadi was summoned to the prosecutor’s office in relation to a new case, but prison officials refused her transfer unless she complied with discriminatory compulsory veiling laws, which she refused.

I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release Narges Mohammadi as she is a prisoner of conscience detained solely for her peaceful human rights activism, quash her unjust convictions and sentences, and drop any new charges against her related to the peaceful exercise of her rights. Pending her release, provide her with adequate specialized healthcare, including for treatment unavailable in prison, and protect her from further torture and other ill-treatment. A prompt, independent, effective and impartial investigation into her allegations of torture and other ill-treatment must be conducted, with those suspected of criminal responsibility brought to justice in fair trials. All compulsory veiling laws must also be abolished.

Yours sincerely