Human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi, who recently marked her 1,000th day of imprisonment in Iran, has strongly condemned Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani for his “subservience” to the country’s security establishment.
“Your Excellency has repeatedly claimed that the Judiciary is an independent institution,” wrote Mohammadi in an open letter from Tehran’s Evin Prison. “However, such claims do not match reality. They are only deceitful words that make a mockery of justice when a judicial system detains, convicts and punishes people according to the biased and malicious opinions of security-military agencies and denies prisoners their legal rights, such as temporary leave and the use of the telephone to call their young children.”
Mohammadi’s two young children currently live with their father Taghi Rahmani in France. In July 2016 she went on hunger strike to protest the authorities’ refusal to let her speak to them on the phone.
The Iranian Defenders of Human Rights Center published the letter on February 18, 2018.
The physicist turned human rights champion also reminded Larijani that her last two requests for temporary leave —on September 5, 2017, and November 8, 2017—were both denied based on the recommendation of the Intelligence Ministry.
Wrote Mohammadi: “I have endured 1,000 days in prison without leave, been put in solitary confinement on three occasions and illegally transferred to Zanjan Prison, all under the dominant influence of security agencies. The judiciary has a duty to protect rights and defend justice but the security agencies’ control over the prisoners’ most basic rights, such as the granting of temporary leave, is an indication of its lack of autonomy and its subservience and submission to the security agencies.”
Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.
“Killing, imprisoning or denying the rights of a human being is not injustice against one person; it enchains and kills a whole society, for which in time society will attend to and hold Your Excellency responsible as the appointed head of the judiciary for your direct role in all these unlawful and inhumane acts,” she wrote.
Mohammadi, who has been incarcerated since May 15, 2015, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for the charges of “membership in the Defenders of Human Rights Center,” “assembly and collusion against national security,” and one year for “propaganda against the state.”
Mohammadi also wrote in her letter that Iran’s security establishment—which includes the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Intelligence Organization and the Intelligence Ministry—have been isolating Evin Prison’s Woman’s Ward from the rest of the compound, and preventing inspections by outsiders, including by foreign diplomats based in Tehran and members of the Iranian Parliament.
“The judiciary has itself become part of the authoritarian structure as some morally and financially corrupt judges and judicial officials have turned this institution into a tool in the hands of the ruling state agencies instead of providing justice for all citizens, including critics and opponents of the state,” wrote Mohammadi.