An appeals court has sentenced Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi, to five years behind bars.
The appeals court was held in October 2020 presided over by Mostafa Tayari, and the verdict has been officially notified to her in recent days.
Zahra Mohmmmadi is the director of the Nojin Cultural Association, whose activities include teaching the Kurdish language and literature and other civil society activities. She has been teaching Kurdish voluntarily in the villages of Sanandaj for 10 years.
She was arrested on May 23, 2019, for her peaceful activities empowering members of Iran’s marginalized Kurdish community, including through teaching the Kurdish language.
The Intelligence Department of Sanandaj raided her residence and transferred her to Sanandaj prison and her family were informed of her whereabouts after eight days when she was under intense interrogation to make forced confessions against herself.
Mohammadi was held in incommunicado detention and subjected to interrogations for over two months without access to a lawyer.
She was put under greater pressure through being denied contact with her family to sign documents and agree to work for the ministry of intelligence.
The Kurdish activist was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July 2020. The verdict, issued by the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court, was announced to her husband in a text message on July 12, 2020.
On July 21, 2020, social media activists conducted a Tweet storm to protest her 10-year prison sentence.
Prior to her May 23, 2019 arrest, Zahra Mohammadi had been subjected to several lengthy interrogations by the ministry of intelligence. The last took place on 8 March 2019, when she was interrogated for eight hours without the presence of a lawyer.
Ethnic minorities in Iran, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen, face discrimination in access to education, employment and adequate housing. Continued economic neglect of regions with large minority populations has exacerbated poverty and marginalization. The Persian language is the sole medium of instruction in primary and secondary education in Iran.