When the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the winner of the peace prize, Narges Mohammadi, she recited a slogan associated with the women’s rights movement in Iran.
“Women, life, freedom,” Berit Reiss-Andersen said on Friday.
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Mohammadi is a prominent Iranian human rights activist and physicist who has been fighting against the oppression of women in Iran.
Here is what we know about the Nobel Peace Prize winner:
Who is Narges Mohammadi?
Mohammadi’s focus is on the fight for women’s rights in the region. The 51-year-old is also a writer and deputy director of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC).
She also works on broader human rights issues, such as campaigning against the death penalty and corruption.
“She has worked for human rights for everyone in Iran, so this is going to be a huge boost to the human rights defenders centre and one that is putting her work in Iran on the map,” Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute, told Al Jazeera.
Why did she win the peace prize?
Mohammadi won the prize “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all”, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
She has worked on Iranian women’s fight against oppression for the past 30 years.
She has contributed to the grassroots movement in Iran by empowering women through education and advocacy. Her work has included organising protests and sit-ins and writing essays.
Is Mohammadi in jail?
Mohammadi is currently serving a 12-year sentence in Evin Prison in Tehran for charges that include spreading propaganda against the state.
This is not Mohammadi’s first sentence.
She was first arrested in 2011 and held in Evin.
She was again arrested in 2015, days after she was charged in court with crimes against national security, propaganda against the state and forming an illegal group called Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty, Mohammadi told the US-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
She was held in Zanjan Central Prison and released in 2020 after her sentence was reduced.
“The regime has arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes,” Reiss-Andersen said at the announcement ceremony in Oslo, Norway.
Mohammadi on Mahsa Amini
In September 2022, Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested in Tehran by the morality police for alleged non-compliance with Iran’s dress code. She was taken to a re-education centre where she collapsed. She was then taken to a hospital where she died a few days later.
Mohammadi said the day of Amini’s death has become a day that symbolises “the oppression of the theocratic authoritarian regime against Iranian women” in a message sent from prison, according to Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.
After protests against Amini’s death broke out in Iran, Mohammadi has continued to report her experience of abuse as a woman in Evin Prison.
“What the government may not understand is that the more of us they lock up, the stronger we become,” she wrote for The New York Times.
Her work with Shirin Ebadi
Mohammadi is the second Iranian woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize after Shirin Ebadi won the award in 2003 for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights.
Ebadi is an Iranian human rights activist and lawyer. In 1975, she was the first female judge to be appointed in the Iranian judiciary. She is also the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel prize. She has campaigned for the reform of Iran’s family law, including matters of divorce, inheritance and child protection.
Mohammadi has worked closely with Ebadi and is the deputy director of DHRC, which was founded by Ebadi.
Health and family
Mohammadi’s work has come at the cost of her health. She reportedly suffers from a lung condition and a neurological disorder that causes muscular paralysis.
She has not been able to meet her husband and two children due to her imprisonment.
“This Nobel Prize will embolden Narges’s fight for human rights, but more importantly, this is in fact a prize for the women, life and freedom [movement],” said Mohammadi’s husband and activist Taghi Ramahi.