Imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Friday for fighting against the oppression of women in her country.
Mohammadi has been imprisoned several times in Iran, most recently after watershed Amini protests
Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi awarded Nobel Peace Prize
Featured VideoNarges Mohammadi, imprisoned Iranian human rights activist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize ‘for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.’
Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned Iranian activist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Friday.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize to Narges Mohammadi for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all,” the committee said in its citation. Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announced the prize.
Mohammadi, 51, is one of Iran’s leading human rights activists, who has campaigned for women’s rights and the abolition of the death penalty.
She is currently serving multiple sentences in Tehran’s Evin Prison amounting to about 12 years imprisonment, according to the Front Line Defenders rights organization, one of the many periods she has been detained behind bars. Charges include spreading propaganda against the state.
Her most recent arrest came in the wake of nationwide protests over the the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old who died after she was detained by the country’s morality police.
“This year’s peace prize also recognizes the hundreds of thousands of people who, in the preceding year, have demonstrated against the theocratic regime’s policies of discrimination and oppression targeting women,” said Reiss-Andersen. “Only by embracing equal rights for all can the world achieve the fraternity between nations that Alfred Nobel sought to promote.”
For nearly all of Mohammadi’s life, Iran has been governed by a Shia theocracy headed by the country’s supreme leader. While women hold jobs, academic positions and even government appointments, their lives can be tightly controlled. Laws require all women to at least wear a headscarf, or hijab, to cover their hair as a sign of piety. Iran and neighbouring Afghanistan remain the only countries that mandate it.
Tehran calls the protests Western-led subversion.
Mohammadi’s win came as rights groups say that an Iranian teenage girl was recently hospitalized in a coma after a confrontation on the Tehran metro for not wearing a hijab.
WATCH l Masih Alinejad says Mohammadi has always challenged ‘oppressors’:
Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi is ‘unbreakable’
Featured VideoMasih Alinejad, an Iranian women’s rights activist and journalist, says imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi is a dedicated activist who uses her voice to challenge the powerful and fight for women. ‘She is wounded but unbreakable, unbowed — and this is what the Iranian women are.’
Iranian authorities deny the reports.
Taghi Ramahi, Mohammadi’s husband, told Reuters by phone from their home in Paris that “this Nobel Prize will embolden Narges’s fight for human rights, but more importantly, this is in fact a prize for the woman, life and freedom [movement].”
‘A very high cost’
Mohammadi, an engineer by trade, began her activism in the 1990s. She is the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a non-governmental organization led by Shirin Ebadi, who fled Iran several years after being honoured as the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Mohammadi is the 19th woman to win the 122-year-old prize and the first one since Maria Ressa of the Philippines won the award in 2021 jointly with Russia’s Dmitry Muratov.
Ales Bialiatski, Belarus’s top human rights advocate and one of the winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this year.
“Being a freedom fighter comes at a very high cost … it has cost them everything,” Reiss-Andersen said, referring to Mohammadi and Bialiatski.
WATCH l Shirin Ebadi proud of Iranian women in current fight (from Nov. 17, 2022):
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi reacts to the ongoing protests
Featured VideoIranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi says the killing of Mahsa Amini was like “a match that lit up a barrel of gunpowder” and “ignited this accumulation of people’s outrage”.
The Nobel prizes are presented to the laureates on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death.
Reiss-Andersen said it was unclear how that ceremony would proceed, given Mohammadi’s imprisonment.
“If the Iranian authorities make the right decision, they will release her so that she can be present to receive this honour, which is what we primarily hope for,” she said.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the award highlighted the courage and determination of Iranian women.
“We’ve seen their courage and determination in the face of reprisals, intimidation, violence and detention,” said OHCHR spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell.
“They’ve been harassed for what they do or don’t wear. There are increasingly stringent legal, social and economic measures against them. This really is something that highlights the courage and determination of the women of Iran and how they are an inspiration to the world.”
Narges’ Nobel Prize makes me optimistic that the world will not stand for these injustices. We will uplift heroic voices like Narges who defend women’s and girls’ rights. Together we will celebrate the resilience and strength of women and girls, in Iran and worldwide.
Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who in his will dictated that his estate should be used to fund “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.” The first awards were given out in 1901.
The Nobel prize in economics will be announced on Monday.
With files from CBC News and the Associated Press