Kurdish literary and cultural woman activist Zahra (also Zara) Mohammadi presented herself today at the court of Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, to serve a five-year prison sentence.

The court’s Enforcement of Judgements Office arrested the activist and transferred her to the Juvenile Detention Centre in Sanandaj.

Mohammadi had been accused of allegedly “forming groups and societies with the aim of disrupting national security” over her activities, which included teaching the Kurdish language and literature.

A group of Kurdish civilians and activists also appeared outside the court at the same time, protesting against the execution of this unjust sentence, showing their solidarity and support with the activist.

“The person who goes to prison for their thoughts and activities will surely end up further strengthening their beliefs”, said the activist during her speech outside the court.

The Chief Justice of Iran’s northwestern Kurdistan province had rejected Mohammadi’s appeal for retrial under Article 477 of the Iranian Islamic Criminal Code and had upheld her sentence.

The judiciary had asked that she turn herself in to serve the sentence.

On 2 January, the Nozhin Socio-Cultural Association, which is headed by Mohammadi herself, 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 in recent years.

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.

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.