Jailed Iranian Rights Defender Needs Surgery, Attorney Says

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Jailed Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi is in urgent need of surgery, her attorney said on April 28.

Mahmoud Behzadi Rad told the official IRNA news agency that doctors concluded after a hospital visit on April 27 that she needs an operation for a serious gynecological problem.

Mohammadi was returned to the notorious Evin prison after her hospital visit. Rad said it is not clear if prosecutors will allow Mohammadi to undergo surgery.

Mohammadi is the former head of Iran's Defenders of Human Rights Center, which was founded by Nobel Peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi in 2001.

She has been imprisoned several times but is currently serving a 16-year sentence primarily for "forming and managing an illegal group," related to a campaign urging the abolition of the death penalty.

Amnesty International has said the criminal case against Mohammadi was in reprisal for a 2014 meeting she had with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Mohammadi has been awarded several prestigious prizes, including the Amercian Physical Society's Andrei Sakharov Prize in 2018 for outstanding leadership in upholding human rights.

According to Iran’s criminal code, prisoners suffering from acute illnesses are eligible for five days of leave if approved by the prosecutor.

Mohammadi and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian citizen imprisoned since 2016, complained in March that they were being denied appropriate medical care.