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Jailed Iranian women's rights activist wins 2023 Nobel Peace Prize

Iranian opposition human rights activist Narges Mohammadi is shown at the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehranmon June 25, 2007.
AFP via Getty Images
Iranian opposition human rights activist Narges Mohammadi is shown at the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehranmon June 25, 2007.

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Iranian human rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi. The award citation said Mohammadi received the prize for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and for promoting human rights and freedom for all.

The chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, made the announcement in Oslo. Reiss-Andersen began by quoting the slogan of Iranian human rights campaigners, in Farsi and English: "Zan, Zedegi, Azadi. Woman, Life, Freedom."

Reiss-Andersen said that altogether the Iranian regime had arrested Mohammadi 13 times, convicted her five times and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes. Mohammadi remains incarcerated in Iran's notorious Evin prison.

Reiss-Andersen said the slogan "Woman, Life, Freedom" suitably fits Mohammadi's work.

The Nobel Committee's decision to award its peace prize to the 51-year-old Mohammadi comes after more than a year of protests in Iran led largely by women. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have taken part in peaceful protests against the oppression of women — the largest political demonstrations against the Iranian regime since it came to power in 1979. The protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who died last year in the custody of Iranian's morality police.

Mohammadi is vice-president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran and has campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty. During the most recent demonstrations in Iran, she sent a letter from Evin Prison, asking the United Nations to stop the Iranian government from issuing the death penalty to protesters.

In September, she penned an opinion piece for The New York Times. In it, she wrote, "What the government may not understand is that the more of us they lock up, the stronger we become."

Reiss-Andersen called on the Iranian government to release Mohammadi so she can accept her prize in person, at an Oslo ceremony in December.

The Nobel Peace Prize is arguably the most prestigious prize in the world. It is awarded annually by the Norwegian Nobel Committeeto individuals or organizations for their contributions towards the "promotion of peace." More than 350 people and groups were nominated for this year's prize, although nominations are never disclosed by the committee.

Since the creation of the prize in 1901, it has been awarded to 110 individuals and 27 organizations. Last year's winners were human rights activists from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus(despite the fact that nominations for the prize closed before Russia's invasion of Ukraine).

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Fatima Al-Kassab

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