PRESS RELEASE -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Plight of Iran's Most Famous Political Prisoner to be Spotlighted
in U.N. Testimony as Journalist Husband Heads to Geneva Summit
Political prisoner Narges Mohammadi, one of Iran's most venerated women's rights activists, is
in dire medical condition. Her case has drawn global attention—and even an appeal from 15 Iranian MPs.
Activists to address human rights in Russia, Turkey, Tibet, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Vietnam, Iran & more
GENEVA, Jan. 26, 2017 - A coalition of 25 non-governmental human rights groups announced today that Taghi Rahmani, the most frequently imprisoned Iranian journalist, and husband of ailing political prisoner Narges Mohammadi, will testify in the U.N. for the opening of the 9th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights & Democracy, on February 21, 2017.
Taghi Rahmani has spent his life in and out of Iranian prisons for daring to criticize the regime. In 2012, amid intensified crackdowns against dissent, Rahmani fled Iran with his two children to seek refuge in Paris.
Rahmani's wife, Narges Mohammadi, made the brave decision to stay behind and continue her work leading the struggle for human rights in Iran. Since 2015, she has been held as a prisoner of conscience of the Iranian regime, despite suffering from a critical and worsening illness.
Taghi Rahmani, the most frequently jailed Iranian journalist, languished in Iranian prisons for over 14 years.
Rahmani will joins some of the world's most courageous champions of human rights: dissidents, activists, victims and relatives of political prisoners from Russia, Turkey, Tibet and Vietnam, who will be testifying on the human rights situation in their countries. A high-profile North Korean defector, and a young Yazidi woman who wrote a book her being raped by ISIS terrorists, will also speak.
Mohamed Nasheed, the veteran human rights activist who was elected president of the Maldives only to be arrested and jailed as a political prisoner, will be one of the keynote speakers. Amal Clooney, his lawyer, has received death threats for defending Nasheed. See selected presenters below.
The acclaimed annual conference is timed to take place in Geneva days before foreign ministers gather to open the 2017 U.N. Human Rights Council session.
"It's a focal point for dissidents worldwide," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, which for the ninth year in a row will be organizing the annual event together with a cross-regional coalition of 25 other human rights groups.
The global gathering is acclaimed as a one-stop opportunity to hear from and meet front-line human rights advocates, many of whom have personally suffered imprisonment and torture.
"The speakers’ compelling and vivid testimonies will aim to stir the conscience of the U.N. to address critical human rights situations around the world," said Neuer.
Subjects on the program this year include discrimination against women, jailing of journalists, prison camps, Internet freedom, religious intolerance, and the persecution of human rights defenders.
Admission to this year’s February 21, 2017 summit is free and open to the public, but registration is mandatory. For accreditation, program and schedule information, visit www.genevasummit.org. The conference will also be available via live webcast.