Jailed Iranian rights activist Narges Mohammadi wins Nobel Peace Prize

Iranian human rights activist and the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) Narges Mohammadi poses in this undated handout picture. — Reuters/File
Iranian human rights activist and the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) Narges Mohammadi poses in this undated handout picture. — Reuters/File

Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian rights campaigner, was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2023 on Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize to Narges Mohammadi for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all,” the committee said in its citation.

Mohammadi is one of Iran’s leading human rights activists, who has campaigned for women’s rights and the abolition of the death penalty, Reuters reported.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the president of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, began her speech by repeating in Farsi the phrases for “woman, life, freedom” — one of the chants of the nonviolent demonstrations against the Iranian government — honouring Mohammadi as a “freedom fighter”.

Mohammadi was honoured “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all,” she said.

“Freedom. [Mohammadi] fights for freedom of expression and the right to independence and against rules requiring women to remain out of sight and cover up their bodies,” she added.

According to the civil rights group Front Line Defenders, she has spent many years incarcerated and is currently serving numerous sentences totaling around 12 years in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Propaganda against the state is one of the charges.

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 is the 19th woman to win the 122-year-old prize and the first one since Maria Ressa of the Philippines won the award in 2021 jointly with Russia’s Dmitry Muratov.

Over 350 people and groups were nominated for the prestigious prize given for the “promotion of peace”, Al Jazeera reported.

The Nobel Peace Prize has seen a record 351 candidates nominated this year, the second-highest number ever, with 259 individuals and 92 organisations. This marks the eighth consecutive year with over 300 nominees.

The Nobel Peace Prize, worth 11 million Swedish crowns, or around $1 million, will be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the award in his 1895 will.

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