Nargess Mohammadi Responds to Claims by Judiciary Spokesperson Regarding her Travel Ban and Pending Charges

Sunday 24 May 2009

Change for Equality: According to IRNA—the Islamic Republic of Iran’s News Agency—on Friday May 22, 2009 Alireza Jamshidi the Spokesperson for the Judiciary announced that the charges against Ms. Nargess Mohammadi are: “spreading of propaganda against the state.” In this short interview with IRNA Mr. Alireza Jamshidi confirmed the news regarding the travel ban imposed on Ms. Mohammadi and explained further that she will soon be summoned to court.

The site of Change for Equality interviewed Ms. Nargess Mohammadi in this respect. She explained that: “first of all such claims by the spokesperson of the Judiciary via an official news agency on Friday, which constitutes the weekend and a holiday, surprised me. I am an Iranian citizen and as such believe that I have certain civil rights. I view such claims by government officials as a threat to my civil rights. I am an ordinary citizen as such the judicial system could have issued a summons through which these charges could be relayed to me, rather than expressing these charges by publishing them in a public manner and via the media. I don’t accept these charges and don’t believe that I have engaged in any act that would constitute the spreading of propaganda against the state. I cannot comment on these charges until they have been clarified for myself and for my lawyers. I am only a human rights activist and only work to promote human rights in Iran. I was planning to go to Guatemala on the 8th of May to attend a conference organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, at which 150 women’s rights activists from 25 countries were scheduled to participate. The conference intended to examine the role of women in promoting democracy and I was scheduled to speak on the role of Iranian women in promoting democracy in Iran. I was stopped at the airport in an illegal manner and prevented from travel, despite the fact that I did not have a travel ban imposed on me by the passport control office. So given these facts, I did not have a legal problem when I was stopped at the airport and still don’t. Still I have yet to receive a summons in relation to this case and as far as I am concerned I still don’t have any official charges pending against me. As such, the travel ban imposed upon me was both illegal and unethical.”

“I should mention that I heard the news about the reason for my travel ban on the Radio while I was putting down my children for a nap, on a holiday mind you. This act means that citizens in this country not only do not enjoy freedoms, but that they cannot enjoy any security when in the midst of their family. For me, this is an indication of lack of ethical behavior by officials and all I can say is that I am disappointed.”

Nargess Mohammadi is the Deputy Chair of the Defenders of Human Rights Center and heads the implementation task force for the National Peace Council. She was on her way to Guatemala to attend a conference convened by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, when along with Sorraya Azizpanah she was banned from travel at Imam Khomeini International Airport.


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