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Mother’s Protest to speak to her children over phone: Iranian Human Rights Defender Narges Mohammadi on hunger strike

Narges was first imprisoned in April 2012 and was released three months later on medical grounds

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Narges Mohamadi. Image source: themediaexpress.com
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  • Narges Mohammadi, a human rights activist won 2009 Alexander Langer Award for her human rights activities and City of Paris medal for her peaceful activism
  • An unfair trial in April 2016 convicted Narges Mohammadi with the charges of “founding an illegal group”, “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, and “spreading propaganda against the system”
  • She has been on hunger strike since June 27, in protest at the prison authorities’ refusal to let her speak with her nine-year-old children

Narges Mohammadi, the Iranian human rights defender has been on hunger strike since June 27 in protest at the prison authorities’ refusal to let her speak with her nine-year-old children. Despite suffering from several medical conditions, she continues on with her protest endangering her health and life.

An unfair trial in April 2016 convicted Narges Mohammadi with the charges of “founding an illegal group”, “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, and “spreading propaganda against the system”. She received a 16-year prison sentence after she was convicted when she was already serving a six-year prison sentence from a previous case. Even the UN high commissioner for human rights joined the  chorus of international disapproval as Tehran revolutionary court sentenced her, reported the Guardian.

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Mohammadi and her two kids.Image Source: Twitter
Mohammadi and her two kids.Image Source: Twitter

Narges was first imprisoned in April 2012 and was released three months later on medical grounds to receive treatment for a health condition that caused partial paralysis. Again, she was arrested, in May 2015 to serve the remainder of the six-year term when and was taken to Tehran’s Evin Prison. In October 2015, she suffered several seizures and was hospitalized.

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“I have always said that, in a land where [each of] being a woman, being a mother and being a human rights defender is difficult on their own, being all three is an unforgivable crime… and here I am, in my own homeland, convicted and imprisoned for the crime of being a human rights defender, a feminist and an opponent of the death penalty,”she says in her letter dated 27 June 2016.

Image Source: Twitter
Image Source: Twitter

As there was nobody to look after her children after her arrest in May 2015, they moved abroad with their father. And now, she is not able to speak to them as the authorities have denied her the telephone. Since her arrest in May, she has been allowed only one phone call with them.

“I am left wondering how to tell Ali and Kiana, who have only heard Narges’s voice once over the past year, that their mother has got another 10 years in prison,” says Mohammadi’s husband, Taghi Rahmani to Amnesty.

In a letter she wrote from inside Evin Prison on 27 June announcing her hunger strike, she says,” Despite my reluctance and poor physical condition, there is no way left for me other than to stage a hunger strike to make my cry that ‘I am a mother’ and ‘I miss my children’ be heard… I have no request other than to be able to have contact with my children on the telephone. If my request is too great, unreasonable, immoral, unlawful and against national security, then tell me. If a mother who is considered a criminal in the eyes of the authorities must be denied the right to speak to her children, then announce it, otherwise let this mother hear the voices of her children.

According to theguardian.com reports, she suffers from a pulmonary embolism and a neurological disorder that has resulted in her experiencing seizures and temporary partial paralysis. When specialized care which she doesn’t receive in prison is required, she puts her life at risk through this hunger strike in a desperate attempt to listen to the voice of her kids.

Narges Mohammadi is a human rights activist who had won the Alexander Langer Award in 2009 for her human rights activities, especially her efforts to end the death penalty for juvenile offenders in Iran and recently, she received the City of Paris medal for her peaceful activism.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of Newsgram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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Risk of Autism in Kids Associated with Mother’s Pesticide Levels

In addition, the odds of children having autism with intellectual disability were increased more than twofold with maternal DDE levels above this threshold

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Mothers' pesticide levels linked to autism risk in kids. Pixabay

Elevated pesticide levels in pregnant women are associated with an increased risk of autism among their children, says a study.

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with largely unknown causes. It is characterised by problems with communication, difficulty relating to people and events, and repetitive body movements or behaviours.

“These findings provide the first biomarker-based evidence that maternal exposure to insecticides is associated with autism among offspring,” the researchers said.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry, examined whether elevated maternal levels of persistent organic pollutants are associated with autism among children.

Persistent organic pollutants are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment around the world.

The researchers, including Professor Alan Brown from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US, analysed levels of DDE, a breakdown product of the pesticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane).

These findings provide the first biomarker-based evidence that maternal exposure to insecticides is associated with autism among offspring
These findings provide the first biomarker-based evidence that maternal exposure to insecticides is associated with autism among offspring. Pixabay

Although DDT and other persistent organic pollutants were widely banned in many countries decades ago, they persist in the food chain, resulting in continuous exposure among populations.

These chemicals transfer across the placenta, resulting in potential prenatal exposure among nearly all children.

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The researchers evaluated levels of DDE in maternal serum samples drawn from more than 750 children with autism and matched control participants from a national birth cohort study, the Finnish Prenatal Study of Autism.

The odds of autism among children were significantly increased in mothers whose DDE levels were elevated (defined as the 75th percentile or greater).

In addition, the odds of children having autism with intellectual disability were increased more than twofold with maternal DDE levels above this threshold, the study said. (IANS)