Narges Mohammadi, journalist and activist for women’s rights in Iran, won the Nobel Peace Prize today.
The journalist Narges Mohammadi has been fighting for women’s rights in Iran for three decades, an indomitable work that has cost her years in prisons and receiving today the Nobel Peace Prize in prison.
One of the most important human rights activists in the Iran of the ayatollahs, Mohammadi receives the prestigious award in Evin prison, where she is serving a 10-year sentence for “the dissemination of propaganda against the state.”
Mohammadi, 51, has spent the last few decades entering and leaving Iranian prisons for his constant fight against some of the pillars of the Islamic Republic, such as the death penalty, abortion and the mandatory veil.
The imprisonments have not, however, prevented her from continuing his fight behind bars, from where she has written articles, promoted civil disobedience and given his support to the protests unleashed by the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022.
The activist was born in the northern city of Zanjan in 1972 into a middle-class family, the daughter of a cook and farmer.
She studied Physics and worked as an engineer, but she focused her career on journalism and soon began collaborating with civil society groups to work for the rights of women and minorities.
These political concerns led her to join the Center for Human Rights Defenders, a group founded by Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2003, and focused on the abolition of the death penalty.
Her activism has cost her 13 arrests and five sentences for a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes. At this time, the Iranian Judiciary has three more cases open against her.
Her husband, Taghi Rahmani, has spent 14 years behind bars, also for his activism, and lives in exile in Paris, with his twin children, who have not seen their mother for years.
Her bravery has earned Mohammadi numerous recognitions, such as the 2022 Reporters Without Borders Courage Award or the UNESCO Guillermo Cano Prize for Press Freedom last year.
“Narges Mohammadi has been an indomitable voice against the Iranian government’s repression despite being one of its most persecuted targets,” said Kenneth Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch between 1993 and 2022, of her.
The Nobel Prize, based in Oslo, rewards Mohammadi “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.”
The Norwegian committee stated that the award “also recognizes the hundreds of thousands of people who have demonstrated against the theocratic regime’s policies of discrimination and oppression against women.”
The Nobel Prize also recognizes the thousands of people who took to the Iranian streets to ask for more freedoms after the death of Mahsa Amini, after being arrested by the so-called morality police in September 2022.
The protesters called for the end of the Islamic Republic in protests that died out after a strong state repression that caused 500 deaths, thousands arrested and in which seven people were executed.