December 11, 2023


Imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi received the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of her tireless campaigning for ladies’s rights and democracy and in opposition to the demise penalty.

Mohammadi, 51, has saved up her activism regardless of quite a few arrests by Iranian authorities and spending years behind bars.

“This prize is at first a recognition of the crucial work of a complete motion in Iran with its undisputed chief, Narges Mohammadi,” stated Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who introduced the prize in Oslo.

She stated the committee hopes the prize “is an encouragement to proceed the work in whichever type this motion finds to be becoming.” She additionally urged Iran to launch Mohammadi in time for the prize ceremony on Dec. 10.

For almost all of Mohammadi’s life, Iran has been ruled by a Shiite theocracy headed by the nation’s supreme chief. Whereas ladies maintain jobs, educational positions and even authorities appointments, their lives could be tightly managed. Legal guidelines require all ladies to no less than put on a headband, or hijab, to cowl their hair as an indication of piety. Iran and neighboring Afghanistan stay the one international locations that mandate it.

In a press release to The New York Occasions, Mohammadi stated the “international help and recognition of my human rights advocacy makes me extra resolved, extra accountable, extra passionate and extra hopeful.”

“I additionally hope this recognition makes Iranians protesting for change stronger and extra organized,” she added. “Victory is close to.”

Mohammadi has been imprisoned 13 instances and convicted 5 instances, in response to Reiss-Andersen. In whole, she has been sentenced to 31 years in jail. Mohammadi’s most up-to-date incarceration started when she was detained in 2021 after she attended a memorial for an individual killed in nationwide protests sparked by a rise in gasoline costs.

She has been held at Tehran’s infamous Evin Jail, whose inmates embody these with Western ties and political prisoners.

“The ladies of Iran have been an inspiration for the world. Their braveness and willpower within the face of reprisals, intimidation, violence and detention have been outstanding,” stated Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights workplace in Geneva. “We name for her launch and the discharge of all different human rights defenders detained in Iran.”

Mohammadi is the nineteenth lady to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the second Iranian lady, after human rights activist Shirin Ebadi received the award in 2003

It’s the fifth time within the 122-year historical past of the awards that the peace prize has been given to somebody who’s in jail or below home arrest. Final 12 months, the highest human rights advocate in Belarus, Ales Bialiatski, was among the many winners. He stays imprisoned.

Mohammadi was behind bars for the current protests over the demise of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. That sparked some of the intense challenges ever to Iran’s theocracy. Greater than 500 individuals had been killed in a heavy safety crackdown whereas over 22,000 others had been arrested.

From behind bars, she contributed an opinion piece for The New York Occasions.

“What the federal government might not perceive is that the extra of us they lock up, the stronger we turn into,” she wrote.

In a primary response from Tehran, the semi-official Fars information company dismissed Mohammadi as somebody who “persevered in creating stress and unrest and falsely claimed that she was overwhelmed in jail.”

Fars is believed to be near Iran’s hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which solutions solely to Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Abuse in Iranian prisons — one thing Mohammadi has campaigned in opposition to each outdoors of and behind bars — has been broadly reported by the U.N. and human rights teams.

Earlier than being jailed, Mohammadi was vp of the banned Defenders of Human Rights Heart in Iran. Ebadi, who Mohammadi is near, based the middle.

In 2018, Mohammadi, an engineer, was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Prize. Earlier this 12 months, PEN America, which advocates for freedom of speech, gave Mohammadi its PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. The group applauded her win.

The selection “is a tribute to her braveness and that of numerous ladies and women who’ve poured out into the streets of Iran and confronted down one of many world’s most brutal and cussed regimes, risking their lives to demand their rights,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel stated in a press release.