Narges Mohammadi Foundation via Agence France-Presse Narges Mohammadi has been repeatedly convicted and imprisoned over the past 25 years for her commitment against the compulsory wearing of the veil by women and against the death penalty.
The 2023 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi, currently imprisoned in Iran, a decision strongly denounced by the Islamic Republic, where bareheaded women fight for their rights despite violent repression.
The 51-year-old activist and journalist is being recognized “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her struggle to promote human rights and freedom for all,” said Norwegian Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen.
Vice-president of the Center for Human Rights Defenders, founded by Shirin Ebadi – also a Nobel Prize winner in 2003 – Narges Mohammadi has been repeatedly convicted and imprisoned in the last 25 years for her commitment against the compulsory wearing of the veil by women and against the death penalty. When his distinction was announced, the UN requested his release.
“We note that the Nobel committee awarded the peace prize to a person convicted of repeated violations of laws and who committed criminal acts,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a press release.
He denounced a “political and interventionist act, involving certain European governments.”
Iran experienced a massive protest movement last year, sparked by the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in Tehran for failing to comply with the strict Islamic dress code.
< p>A 16-year-old girl, Armita Garawand, is currently in a coma, according to the NGO defending the rights of Iranian Kurds Hengaw, after having been “attacked” by members of the moral police, responsible for enforce the obligation to wear the veil.
“A slap in the face to the regime”
“The movement accelerated the process of democracy, freedom and equality”, now “irreversible”, Narges Mohammadi wrote to Agence France-Presse last month from his cell.
She- same and three fellow inmates burned their veils in the courtyard of Evin prison in Tehran to mark the anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death on September 16.
Iran is located in 143rd place — out of 146 countries — in the World Economic Forum's ranking on gender equality.
The Woman, Life, Freedom uprising — a slogan with which Ms. Reiss-Andersen began her announcement on Friday, in Farsi and then in English — was violently repressed there.
According to the NGO Iran Human Rights, 551 protesters — 434 men, 49 women and 68 children — were killed by security forces, and thousands more arrested.
“This award is a slap in the face to the regime of Ali Khamenei [the supreme leader of the country], who declared war on his own people,” said Masih Alinejad, another famous opponent of compulsory wearing of the hijab.
If the protest is now more diffuse, it continues in different forms, posing to the Iranian authorities one of the greatest challenges since the 1979 revolution.
The Nobel “also rewards the hundreds of thousands of people who, over the past year, have demonstrated against the policies of the theocratic regime regarding discrimination and oppression against women,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen.
“A historic moment”
The winner's family hailed “a historic moment for the fight for freedom in Iran”, and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, “a tribute to all these women who fight for their rights”.
“I am very, very proud of her, very happy,” said her son, Ali, 17, who has not been able to see his mother for eight years, adding that the award was “a reward for the Iranian people”, during a press conference in Paris.
I am very, very proud of her, very happy
— Ali Rahmani, son of the winner
A “very strong choice for a freedom fighter,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, while Washington praised the “courage” of the winner.
Tehran n had not reacted officially at the end of the day. Local agency Tasnim reported the information, describing Narges Mohammedi as a person detained for her “anti-Iranian” and subversive actions.
According to the Nobel committee, Narges Mohammadi, 19th woman to win price, was arrested 13 times and sentenced five times to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes.
Incarcerated again in 2021, she has not seen her children — who live in France with her husband — for eight years.
The Nobel Peace Prize — a diploma and a gold medal with 11 million crowns (nearly 1.4 million Canadian dollars) — will be delivered on December 10 in the Norwegian capital. This is the fifth time it has been attributed to imprisoned activists.