Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi wins 2023 Nobel Peace Prize

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(LONDON) — Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is responsible for selecting the Nobel Peace Prize recipients each year, decided to award this year’s prize to Mohammadi, 51, “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.”

“Her brave struggle has come with tremendous personal costs,” the committee said in a statement on Friday.

Along with the notoriety, Mohammadi will receive a cash award of 11 million Swedish krona, or about $998,850.

Since her first arrest in 2011, Mohammadi has been imprisoned 13 times and convicted five times. In total, she has been sentenced to 31 years behind bars and 154 lashes. She has been held at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.

Although she was in jail for the recent demonstrations over last year’s death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Iranian police custody, Mohammadi still “assumed leadership” and “helped to ensure that the protests have not ebbed out,” according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

“From prison she expressed support for the demonstrators and organised solidarity actions among her fellow inmates. The prison authorities responded by imposing even stricter conditions,” the committee said. “Mohammadi was prohibited from receiving calls and visitors. She nevertheless managed to smuggle out an article which the New York Times published on the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini’s killing. The message was: ‘The more of us they lock up, the stronger we become."”

Amini’s death “triggered the largest political demonstrations against Iran’s theocratic regime since it came to power in 1979,” according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians took part in peaceful protests against the regime, which in turn launched a heavy security crackdown that saw more than 500 people killed and over 20,000 others 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 committee added.

Out of the 615 times the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to people and organizations, women have been the recipients just 61 times. Mohammadi is the 19th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the second Iranian woman, after human rights activist Shirin Ebadi won the award in 2003.

Peace was the fifth and final prize category that Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel mentioned in his last will and testament. He left most of his fortune to be dedicated to the series of awards, the Nobel Prizes.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses,” as described in Nobel’s will.

All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is presented in Oslo, Norway.

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