Iran releases human rights activist Narges Mohammadi after sentence cut

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Iranian human rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi has been released from prison after her sentence was reduced, her husband and the judiciary said on Thursday.

“Narges was released from Zanjan prison at 3 am (1130 GMT). Wishing freedom for all prisoners,” her husband Taghi Rahmani announced on Twitter.

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Mohammadi, 48, is a campaigner against the death penalty and was the spokeswoman for the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran -- founded by Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi -- when she was arrested in May 2015.

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The mother-of-two was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison for “forming and managing an illegal group.”

According to international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), she was transferred in late December from Tehran’s Evin prison, where she had been held since 2015, to a prison in Zanjan, northwest of the capital.

The activist, reportedly suffering from a neurological disease that causes muscular paralysis and a lung condition, requested temporary release from prison in June for medical treatment.

Her release comes days after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Iran to “immediately release” political prisoners who have been excluded from a push to empty prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Since March, more than 100,000 detainees in Iran have been granted furlough or sentence remissions to help limit the spread of Covid-19.

The disease has killed 27,658 people in Iran and infected 483,844, according to health ministry figures.

Iran is ranked 173 out of 180 countries in the 2020 edition of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.

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