Incarcerated Iranian Woman's Rights Activist Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Narges Mohammadi is currently serving multiple prison sentence amounting to 12 years, and was a leading figure in protests afters Mahsa Amini's death

Incarcerated Iranian Woman's Rights Activist Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded incarcerated Iranian women rights activist Narges Mohammadi with the coveted Peace Prize, recognising her campaign for women's rights and democracy even when faced with the death penalty.

Having spent years in prison over several spells spent behind bars, Mohammadi was commended for remaining fast on her ideals and keeping up her advocacy.

After the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last year, which sparked protests across Iran and then the world demanding greater rights for women, Mohammadi was one of the leading lights for the protests.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in her award presentation speech, noted that the prize was a recognition of the movement which swept Iran last year and challenged the Iranian leadership. The movement's undisputed leader, Reiss-Andersen said, was Narges Mohammadi.

Mohammadi is currently in prison, serving a 12 year sentence for "criminal acts", including the spread of propaganda against the state. She has not met her husband for 15 years and her children for seven due to repeated incarceration.

The committee went on to issue a clarion call for Mohammadi's release.

Iran, meanwhile, called the protests Western-led subversion and accused the Nobel committee of meddling and politicising the issue of human rights.

Mohammadi's Peace Prize award comes 20 years after Shirin Ebadi was awarded the prize in 2003 for leading a non-governmental organisation in Iran that worked for women's rights. Ebadi currently lives in exile.

Mohammadi is the 19th woman to be handed the prize in 122-year-old history of the award. In 2021, Maria Ressa of the Philippines was handed the award together with Russia's Dmitry Muratov. 

Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for her activism in favour of education for girls in Swat and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, congratulated Mohammadi, calling her a "courageous defender of Iranian women".

"I hope this award further invigorates her campaign and elevates the voices of all Iranian women protesting against a repressive regime."

She recalled the weekend incident that left a teenage girl in a coma upon the public return of Iran's morality police. 

"Narges' Nobel Prize makes me optimistic that the world will not stand for these injustices. We will uplift heroic voices like Narges, who defend women's and girls' rights. Together we will celebrate the resilience and strength of women and girls in Iran and worldwide."