Imprisoned Iranian activist Nargis Mohammadi wins Nobel Peace Prize

  • Feminist activist jailed for 12 years
  • Norwegian Nobel Committee praises Iranian protesters
  • Tehran calls award ‘biased and politically motivated’
  • Biden praises Mohammadi and calls for immediate release

OSLO (Reuters) – Jailed Iranian women’s rights advocate Nargis Mohammadi won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for denouncing Tehran’s theocratic leaders and supporting anti-government protesters, sparking condemnation from the Islamic Republic. .

The awards committee said the award was intended to honor the man behind Iran’s recent unprecedented demonstrations and call for the release of Mohammadi, 51, who has spent three decades campaigning for women’s rights and the abolition of the death penalty.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, told Reuters: “We want to send this message to women around the world who live in conditions of systemic discrimination: ‘Have courage and keep going. ‘.”

“We want to give this award to encourage Nargis Mohammadi and the thousands of people who are shouting ‘Women, life, freedom’ in Iran,” she added, referring to the main slogan of the protest movement.

Tehran calls the protests Western-led subversion and accuses the Nobel committee of interfering and politicizing human rights issues.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said: “The actions of the Nobel Peace Committee are political moves and are in line with the interventionist and anti-Iran policies of some European governments.”

He added in a statement carried by state media: “We condemn the Nobel Peace Committee’s awarding of a prize to a man who has repeatedly violated laws and criminal acts as biased and politically motivated.”

The New York Times quoted Mohammadi as saying she would never stop fighting for democracy and equality, even if it meant going to jail.

“I will continue to fight against ruthless discrimination, tyranny and gender-based oppression by religious governments until women are liberated,” the newspaper quoted her as saying in a statement, which was released after the Nobel Prize was announced.

Mohammadi is currently serving a roughly 12-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison, one of several periods in which she has been incarcerated, according to the rights group Front Line Defenders.

Charges include spreading propaganda against the state.

She is deputy director of the Center for Human Rights Defenders, a non-governmental organization headed by the exiled 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

“I congratulate Nargis Mohammadi and all Iranian women for receiving this award,” Ebadi told Reuters. “This award will shine a light on the Islamic Republic’s violations of women’s rights… which, unfortunately, have proven incapable of reform.”

“Encourage the fight for Nargus”

Mohammadi is the 19th woman to win the 122-year-old award, and the first since Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia won the award in 2021 The first woman since.

Mohammadi’s husband Taji Rahmani applauded as he watched the news on television at his home in Paris. “This Nobel Prize will give courage to Nargis in his fight for human rights, but more importantly, it is actually a prize for the ‘Women, Life and Freedom’ movement,” he told Reuters.

Her brother Hamidreza Mohammadi said he was “overwhelmed” by the news and said the award would strengthen the work of his sister and other activists.

“She will feel even stronger for human rights in Iran and the efforts of all those who want a better situation in Iran,” he told Reuters in Oslo.

Mohammadi has been arrested more than a dozen times in her life and has been imprisoned in Evin prison three times since 2012. She has not been able to see her husband for 15 years and her children for seven years.

Her prize, worth 11 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million), will be awarded in Oslo on Dec. 10 to mark the death anniversary of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, whose 1895 will Established the award.

Past recipients include Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

Mohammadi’s award came as human rights groups reported that an Iranian girl was hospitalized in a coma after a confrontation on a Tehran subway because she was not wearing a headscarf. Iranian authorities have denied the reports.

US President Joe Biden praised Mohammadi and called for her immediate release, while deploring the reported attack on the hospitalized girl.

“The United States will continue to work to support Iranians advocating for their future, free speech, gender equality, and an end to gender-based violence against women and girls around the world,” Biden said in the statement.

Global condolences

The Nobel committee honored Mohammadi just over a year after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s dress code for women.

That sparked months of nationwide protests that posed the biggest challenge to Shiite clerical rule in years and were met with a deadly security crackdown that left hundreds dead.

In a series of tributes from major institutions around the world, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Nobel Prize was “a tribute to all women who risk their freedom, health and even their lives to fight for their rights”.

Dan Smith, head of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute think tank, said that while the award might help ease pressure on Iranian dissidents, it was unlikely to lead to Mohammadi’s release.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, Nerijus Adomaitis, Terje Solsvik and Tom Little in Oslo, Ilze Filks in Stockholm, Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, Anthony Paone in Paris, Charlotte Van Campenhout in Brussels, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, John Davison, Gabriel Tetrault – France Robert and Cecil Mantovani in Geneva; Authors: Gwladys Fouche, Andrew Cawthorne and Susan Heavey; Editing by William MacLean and Andrew Paradise

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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The man who covers Reuters Norway enjoys flying to Svalbard in the Arctic, oil platforms in the North Sea and speculating on who will win the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in France, she has worked for Reuters since 2010, working at The Guardian, AFP and Al Jazeera English, among others, and speaks four languages.

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