The five-year prison sentence of the Kurdish language teacher Zahra (also Zara) Mohammadi has been upheld. Authorities have asked that she turns herself in to serve her sentence.

The ruling came after the Chief Justice of Iran’s northwestern Kurdistan province rejected Mohammadi’s lawyers’ appeal for her retrial under Article 477 of the Iranian Islamic Criminal Code.

On 2 January, the Nozhin Socio-Cultural Association, which is headed by Ms Mohammadi, published a post on their Instagram account and wrote: “After many efforts to overturn Zahra Mohammadi’s unjust sentence in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, and with appeals for the application of Article 477, unfortunately, the sentence was once again imposed by the Chief Justice of Kurdistan province and sent to the Enforcement of Judgments Office of Kurdistan province.”

Mohammadi is the director of the Nozhin Socio-Cultural Association. Her activities include teaching the Kurdish language and literature.

Security forces arrested Mohammadi in Sanandaj on 23 May 2019. She was interrogated for about six months for her activities and was pressured to make forced confessions.

On 2 December 2019, she was released on a bail of 700 million Iranian Tomans – nearly 28,000 USD.

On 16 February 2020, Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj – presided over by Judge Saeidi – sentenced Mohammadi to 10 years in prison on charges of “forming groups and societies with the aim of disrupting national security”.

However, in October 2020, Branch 4 of the Court of Appeals of Sanandaj dropped the sentence to five years.

Mohammadi’s lawyers appealed against the verdict, requesting a retrial through the application of Article 477 of the Iranian Islamic Criminal Code.

The Nozhin Socio-Cultural Association, with the official permission of the Ministry of Interior, has been holding Kurdish language classes in various cities in Kurdistan for the past few years.

This civic organisation has also been active in other cultural fields, as well as in organising campaigns for helping flood victims, helping people during the Corona pandemic etc.