Nobel Peace Prize awarded to jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi for ‘fight against oppression of women’

Imprisoned Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has won the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.

Announcing the decision, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said Mohammadi was honoured for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran.

While behind bars, she was awarded the prestigious prize on Friday for her efforts “to promote human rights and freedom for all”, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

“Her brave struggle has come with tremendous personal costs. Altogether, the regime has arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said in Oslo during the announcement.

The 51 year old 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 the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a non-governmental organisation led by Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Mohammadi told journalists after the win she would never stop striving for democracy and equality even if that meant staying in prison.

“I will continue to fight against the relentless discrimination, tyranny and gender-based oppression by the oppressive religious government until the liberation of women,”  she said .

Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, after the announcement said  it was “a very important prize, one that is celebrating the achievements of human rights defenders, specifically women’s rights defenders in Iran, which has been a very troubled country”.

“This is a prize that is also focusing on the sacrifices of young people in Iran. It is a way of underlining their sacrifices and the challenges human rights defenders are operating under in Iran,” he said.

Mohammadi’s award comes after a wave of protests swept Iran following the death in custody a year ago of a young Iranian Kurd, Mahsa Amini, arrested for violating Iran’s strict dress rules for women.

She is currently serving multiple sentences in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison amounting to about 12 years imprisonment, according to the Front Line Defenders rights organisation, one of the many periods she has been detained behind bars. Charges include spreading propaganda against the state

Mohammadi is the 19th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the second Iranian woman, after human rights activist Shirin Eadi in 2003.

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