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Narges Mohammadi, the «voice of the voiceless» in Iran

Behrouz Mehri Agence France-Presse Narges Mohammadi, photographed here on June 25, 2007, tirelessly continues his fight, including behind the bars of the prison of 'Evin in Tehran, where she was reincarcerated more than a year ago.

Stuart Williams – Agence France-Presse and Cécile Feuillatre – Agence France-Presse in Paris


  • Middle East

Narges Mohammadi, who has just received the Nobel Peace Prize, dedicated his life to defending human rights in Iran, at the cost of years of imprisonment and a heartbreaking separation from his family.

She fights against the compulsory wearing of the veil or the death penalty, denounces sexual violence in detention, and tirelessly continues her fight, including behind the bars of Evin prison in Tehran, where she was reincarcerated more recently. of a year.

The 51-year-old activist “is the most determined person I know,” her husband Taghi Rahmani, a refugee in France since 2012 with their two twins, told AFP. 'now aged 17.

Arrested multiple times since 1998, Narges Mohammadi has been sentenced to several prison terms and must be tried soon on new charges. For the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) association, she is the victim of “real legal harassment”.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to this woman is highly symbolic, at a time when the “Woman Life Freedom” movement has been shaking Iran for more than a year. The protest, born after the death of a young Iranian Kurd, Mahsa Amini, who died in detention after her arrest by the moral police for a poorly worn veil, was bloodily repressed. But for Ms. Mohammadi, the change is “irreversible.”

“The movement has accelerated the process of democracy, freedom and equality,” she recently responded to written questions from AFP, and he “weakened the foundations of despotic religious government.”

“Voices of the voiceless”

Guess or chance? Two months before the start of the demonstrations on September 16, 2022, Narges Mohammadi had published on his Instagram account, managed by his family, a text against the obligation to wear the hijab.

“In this authoritarian regime , women's voices are banned, women's hair is banned […] I, Narges Mohammadi […] declare that I will not accept the obligatory hijab,” it read. Two months later, videos showing women burning their hijabs in Iran go viral.

Born in 1972 in Zanjan, in the northwest of Iran, Narges Mohammadi studied physics before becoming an engineer. At the same time, she launched into journalism with reformist newspapers.

In the 2000s, she joined the Center for Human Rights Defenders (of which she is today the vice-president) , founded by Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2003. She fights in particular for the abolition of the death penalty.

“Narges had the possibility of leaving the country, but she always refused […] she became the voice of the voiceless. Even in prison, she does not forget her duties and informs about the situation of prisoners,” says Reza Moini, an Iranian human rights activist based in Paris who knows her well.

In a book entitled < i>White torture, she denounces the conditions of detention of prisoners, particularly their placement in solitary confinement, abuse of which she says she herself was a victim. She is currently detained in the women's section, with around fifty prisoners, according to her husband Taghi Rahmani.

“Indescribable pain”

“She has three fights in her life: respect for human rights, her feminist commitment, and justice for all the crimes that have been committed,” insists Mr. Rahmani.

Narges Mohammadi was imprisoned between May 2015 and October 2020 for having “formed and led an illegal group”, calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

She has since been again sentenced to lashes and years in prison for “propaganda against the system”, “rebellion”, or even “attacking national security”…

Considered as a “ Prisoner of opinion” by Amnesty International, this elegant woman with curly black hair has barely been able to watch her children, Kiana and Ali, grow up, who have not seen their mother since 2015.

“C “It’s an unbearable and indescribable pain,” she said in September in her responses to AFP.

“In 24 years of marriage, we have had 5 or 6 years of life together! », calculates her husband.

But “she has never resigned herself, we cannot break her. They have tried but so far they have not succeeded, they have only strengthened his resolve,” he says. “Narges is also someone who is very lively, very optimistic,” he emphasizes.

Also read:

  • Iran toughens sanctions against women who refuse to wear the veil
  • In Afghanistan and Iran, the “apartheid of the 21st century”
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116