Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi wins 2023 Nobel Peace Prize

October 6, 2023 - 5:39 PM
Iranian human rights activist and the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) Narges Mohammadi poses in this undated handout picture. (Mohammadi family archive photos/Handout)
  • Mohammadi serving about 12 years’ jail
  • Prize likely to anger Iranian government
  • Campaigner for women and against death penalty

—Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian women’s rights advocate serving 12 years in jail, won the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a decision likely to anger Tehran.

The award-making committee urged Iran to release Mohammadi, one of the nation’s leading activists who has campaigned for both women’s rights and the abolition of the death penalty.

Hailing Mohammadi as a “freedom fighter”, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee started her speech by saying, in Farsi, the words for “woman, life, freedom” – one of the slogans of protests against the Iranian government.

“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,” Berit Reiss-Andersen said in the citation.

The award also recognized the hundreds of thousands of people who have demonstrated against Iranian discrimination and oppression of women, Reiss-Andersen said.

“Only by embracing equal rights for all can the world achieve the fraternity between nations that (prize founder) Alfred Nobel sought to promote,” she said.

Release call

Mohammadi is currently serving multiple sentences in Tehran’s Evin Prison amounting to about 12 years imprisonment, according to the Front Line Defenders rights organization, one of the many periods she has been detained behind bars.

Charges include spreading propaganda against the state.

She is the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a non-governmental organization 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.

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

“This prize is first and foremost a recognition of the very important work of a whole movement in Iran, with its undisputed leader, Narges Mohammadi,” Reiss-Andersen said.

“If the Iranian authorities make the right decision, they will release her so that she can be present to receive this honor (in December), which is what we primarily hope for.”

– Reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Andrew Cawthorne