Iranian Rights Defender, Journalist Receive Death Threats In Prison, Lawyer Says

A prominent Iranian human rights advocate, Narges Mohammadi, and photojournalist Alieh Motalebzadeh have received death threats while in prison amid a worsening situation for political prisoners on the whole, a lawyer for one of the two women said.

Mostafa Nili, Mohammadi's lawyer, told Emtedad in an interview on May 31 that a prisoner convicted of murder in Qarchak prison had sent threatening messages to both women saying, "I will kill you and I will become famous for this."

Pointing out that this prisoner had no "previous problems or conflicts" with Mohammadi and Motalebzadeh, Nili said that the threatening of political prisoners by ordinary prisoners without "any history of controversy" seemed "suspicious."

The lawyer said the attempt to provoke clashes with those in the regular prisoner population had been accompanied by an increase in "obscenities and threats" from others in front of the political prison ward in recent days.

Nili referred to the "deteriorating security of political prisoners in Gharchak prison" and said their situation "has become dangerous."

Prison authorities have yet to respond to his queries about the issues political prisoners are facing at the institution, he added.

The two women were briefly released from prison for medical attention before being forced to return in April.

A journalist and an engineer, Mohammadi was arrested in November 2021 after she attended the memorial of a man killed by Iranian security forces during nationwide protests in November 2019.

In late January, a court sentenced her to another eight years and two months in prison, as well as 74 lashes.

Motalebzadeh was transferred from the Evin prison to Qarchak in January in what was seen as punishment for holding a ceremony to commemorate the death of human rights defender Baktash Abtin, who died from COVID-19 complications.