International coalition launches to demand immediate release of Narges Mohammadi

Photo: © Reihane Taravati

Four leading human rights and press freedom organisations have come together to form a new dynamic international campaign united in calling for the immediate release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi.

Iranian journalist, writer, and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2023, has been detained in Iran’s Evin prison since November 2021.

On June 11, following a new court hearing that could further lengthen her prison sentence, The #FreeNarges Campaign waslaunched. With a steering committee comprised of PEN America, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and Front Line Defenders, in collaboration with the Narges Mohammadi Foundation, the Free Narges Coalition urgently calls for her immediate and unconditional release. 

“PEN America is outraged that our 2023 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write honoree Narges Mohammadi continues to face additional legal charges and sentences for her persistent and powerful writing and activism from behind the walls of Evin Prison, and that Iranian authorities continue to criminalise her and others’ peaceful expression in support of basic human rights. We call for her immediate release, as well as for all other jailed writers in Iran, and are proud to join together with other leading organisations and advocates in this campaign to ensure their freedom,” said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, Director of Writers at Risk, PEN America. 


Mohammadi, celebrated globally for her relentless pursuit of human rights, journalism, freedom of expression, and women’s rights, recently marked her 52nd birthday—her 10th birthday spent behind bars. Throughout her lifetime of activism, Mohammadi has been sentenced to a total of 35 years and three months in prison, in addition to facing a harrowing sentence of 154 lashes—a punishment that blatantly violates international human rights laws. She has also endured 135 days in solitary confinement, recognised internationally as a form of torture.

“Narges Mohammadi has emerged as one of the most emblematic figures of our time, having dedicated a lifetime to journalism and the defence of human rights, and persisting in speaking out for the rights of all no matter what the consequences. She has paid a high price for her acts of courage, yet still refuses to be silenced, even behind bars. It is our turn now to speak out for Narges and to shed light on the many violations she has sacrificed her own freedom for. RSF is proud to support the launch of this vital new international campaign, in line with our commitment to securing the release of Narges Mohammadi and all journalists who remain detained in Iran”, said Rebecca Vincent, Director of Campaigns at Reporters Without Borders (RSF)


Mohammadi’s latest period of detention started in November 2021, and she is currently serving multiple prison sentences on charges related to “propaganda against the state” and “collusion against state security.”Adding to the urgency is Mohammadi’s critical health situation. Despite undergoing heart surgery just a year ago, she has been repeatedly denied necessary medical care while in detention, raising grave concerns about her well-being. As a journalist and human rights defender, Mohammadi's voice has been crucial in shedding light on injustice, making her health and freedom a paramount concern for the international community.Mohammadi’s plight sheds light on the gross and systematic human rights violations in Iran, where many are punished for exercising their right to freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms.

“At the same time as women human rights defenders face another wave of gender based persecution in Iran, the walls of the Evin prison have not stopped the voice of Narges Mohammadi from being reverberated in exposing the violation of human rights. She and many other detained women human rights defenders truly embody the ‘woman, life, freedom.’ It is time for the Iranian government to hear those voices and set them free. Front Line Defenders supports the #FreeNarges international campaign, and together with partners remains committed to advocate for the immediate release of Narges Mohammadi and all detained human rights defenders in Iran,” said Olive Moore, Deputy Director at Front Line Defenders

Demands release of all political prisoners

The Free Narges Coalition demands Mohammadi’s immediate and unconditional release as an emblematic figure representing the many other persecuted and silenced voices in Iran, along with that of all political prisoners in Iran, advocating for their right to speak and act freely without fear of persecution.The Free Narges Coalition urges the Iranian government to respect its international obligations, including the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and for those imprisoned for journalism and human rights work to receive necessary medical care.

The coalition calls on members of the public to support this campaign by using the hashtag #FreeNarges, in a crucial show of solidarity with Narges Mohammadi and others facing oppression in Iran. Their release and medical attention are critical, not just for their own health, but as a symbol of global commitment to human rights and dignity.

"In the face of relentless oppression, Narges Mohammadi stands as a beacon of courage and unwavering commitment to justice. Her tireless work in advocating for human rights, women's rights, and the abolition of the death penalty has not only made her a target of a repressive regime but also a symbol of hope and resistance for countless others. The Free Narges Campaign is not just about one woman's freedom; it is a fight for the dignity, rights, and future of all political prisoners in Iran. By standing with Narges, we are standing against injustice and for a brighter, more just world. As Narges always says, we believe victory is not easy, but it is certain."

— The Narges Mohammadi Foundation