Iran blocks jailed Grand Prize winner from attending father’s funeral: family

The family had said it was Mohammadi’s “obvious right” to attend his father’s funeral.

Paris:

Iranian authorities have blocked jailed Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nargess Mohammadi from attending the burial ceremony of her father, who died earlier this week, his family said on Thursday.

Karim Mohammadi, who had not seen his daughter for almost two years, died on Tuesday at the age of 90. He was buried on Thursday in the city of Zanjan, northwest of Tehran.

“It is heartbreaking that Narges Mohammadi was not given the opportunity to attend the ceremony and bid farewell to her father,” his family said in a statement.

The family had previously said it was Mohammadi’s “obvious right” to attend his father’s funeral.

Mohammadi, 51, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year in recognition of his campaigning for human rights in Iran, where he has spent most of the past two decades in and out of prison.

She has now been jailed since November 2021 and has not seen her Paris-based husband and twin children for several years. Last year, he was deprived of the right to even make telephone calls to relatives inside Iran from prison and this has not yet been restored.

The family said the restrictions mean they have not seen their father for 22 months and have not spoken to him on the phone for the last three months. Even on the day he died, “he was not allowed to call his family to offer condolences.”

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran quoted her father as saying days before his death: “The longing to hear my daughter’s voice from the oppressor’s prison is unbearable.”

Mohammadi has faced additional sentences while behind bars, with the latest additional sentence of more than a year in prison for spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic while in prison.

According to her family, her sentence now includes 12 years and three months’ imprisonment, 154 lashes, two years’ exile, and various social and political restrictions.

But despite being in jail, there has been no reduction in Mohammadi’s campaign.

He has expressed dismay at the rise in executions in Iran, supporting the protests that began in September 2022 following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating Iran’s strict women’s dress code.

A staunch opponent of the mandatory head covering for women in the Islamic Republic, Mohammadi has also flouted rules about wearing headscarves inside prison.

“The Iranian people have turned the page on this regime,” he told France’s Le Monde daily in an interview published Thursday. “I think people will get back on the streets as soon as they get the chance.”

His comments came a day before Iran’s elections for parliament and the key assembly of experts on Friday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)