Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi on Friday for her campaign for women’s rights and democracy in the country.

Mohammadi, who has spent years in custody in Iran, was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2016.

“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,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who announced the prize in Oslo. 

“Narges Mohammadi is a woman, a human rights advocate, and a freedom fighter,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement. “In awarding her this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour her courageous fight for human rights, freedom, and democracy in Iran.” 

Mohammadi has led protests against the Iranian government since the 1990s and recently became a leading figure in protests against the government, despite being in jail, following the killing of a young woman last year.

Recent protests began after Mahsa Amini was killed while in the custody of the country’s morality police last September. Her death sparked a wave of activists, led by Mohammadi and others, nationwide — the largest demonstrations against the Iranian government since its theocratic regime came to power in 1979.

More than 500 protesters were killed, thousands injured and at least 20,000 arrested.

“This year’s Peace Prize also recognises the hundreds of thousands of people who, in the preceding year, have demonstrated against the theocratic regime’s policies of discrimination and oppression targeting women,” the Nobel committee added on Friday.

In a statement to The New York Times, Mohammadi said the “global support and recognition of my human rights advocacy makes me more resolved, more responsible, more passionate and more hopeful.”

“I also hope this recognition makes Iranians protesting for change stronger and more organized,” she added. “Victory is near.”

She is the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, a nonprofit headed by 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, the only other Iranian to win the prize.

The Peace Prize is awarded separately from other Nobel Prizes. It is selected by an independent panel handpicked by the Norwegian Parliament, while the other prizes are awarded in Sweden.

Other notable Nobel winners this year include the pair of American scientists whose work enabled mRNA vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccine, and a group of physicists who made breakthroughs in studying electrons.

Tags Iran Iran protests Mahsa Amini narges mohammadi Nobel Peace Prize Nobel prize Norway oslo