The Nobel Peace Prize for 2023: the activist Narges Mohammadi!
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2023 has been awarded to Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. She is being recognized for her relentless efforts in fighting against the oppression of women in Iran and for her tireless advocacy for human rights and freedom for all. Mohammadi is a prominent figure in the Iranian women’s rights and human rights movements. She has actively supported the protests that began last year following the tragic death of Mahsa Amini.
Mohammadi’s unwavering commitment to human rights in Iran has come at a significant personal cost. The political and religious regime ruling Iran has arrested her on 13 occasions, resulting in five criminal convictions and a cumulative prison sentence of 31 years. She has also endured corporal punishments, including 154 lashes, as part of these convictions. Currently, she remains imprisoned, unjustly charged with fabricated offenses.
The Nobel Committee chose Mohammadi for her dedication to defending human rights in Iran and as a representative of the recent protests symbolized by the slogan “Women – Life – Freedom.”
Who is Narges Mohammadi
Narges Mohammadi, born in 1972 in Zanjan, a city approximately 300 kilometers northwest of Tehran, Iran’s capital, holds a degree in Physics. However, she has been actively involved in underground women’s rights movements since her university years. In 2003, she joined the Center for Human Rights Defenders. The NGO was founded by another Nobel Peace laureate, Shirin Ebadi. She rapidly rose to the position of vice president.
Her advocacy primarily focuses on championing the rights of prisoners and political detainees, alongside campaigns to abolish the death penalty. Throughout her career, Mohammadi has faced numerous arrests and spent a substantial portion of the last 15 years behind bars. Even while incarcerated, she initiated various campaigns against the use of torture and sexual abuse, particularly against female inmates.
In September 2022, protests surged in Iran. These protests were sparked by the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from Iranian Kurdistan. Mahsa had been detained by religious police for not wearing the required Islamic veil or hijab, as mandated by Iranian law. Her suspected death due to police violence ignited widespread protests. This posed a significant challenge to Iran’s theocratic regime established since the 1979 Khomeini revolution.
The years in prison
Throughout her imprisonment, Mohammadi provided unwavering support and moral guidance to the protesters. Despite being held in Evin prison, notorious for its political detainee population, she managed to convey articles and messages of solidarity to those at the forefront.
The regime’s response to the protests intensified, resulting in over 500 fatalities and the detention of approximately 20,000 individuals. Evin prison, where Mohammadi was held, became overcrowded with participants from the previous year’s protests. Many of them endured torture, particularly women who suffered the most. In late 2022, Mohammadi courageously wrote a letter to the BBC from her prison cell, exposing the systematic use of rape and sexual violence as tools of torture against incarcerated women at Evin.