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Business News/ News / World/  Who is Narges Mohammadi? 10 things to know about jailed Iranian Nobel Peace Prize 2023 winner

Who is Narges Mohammadi? 10 things to know about jailed Iranian Nobel Peace Prize 2023 winner

Mohammadi has been imprisoned 13 times, convicted 5 times, with a cumulative sentence of 31 years

A handout photo provided by the Narges Mohammadi Foundation on October 2, 2023 shows an undated, unlocated photo of Iranian rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi. (AFP)Premium
A handout photo provided by the Narges Mohammadi Foundation on October 2, 2023 shows an undated, unlocated photo of Iranian rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi. (AFP)

Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for her extensive efforts to promote human rights and freedom for all. The 51-year-old is the deputy director of the Defenders of Human Rights Center and currently remains lodged in Tehran's Evin Prison. She has been imprisoned 13 times and convicted five times – a cumulative prison sentence of 31 years.

Mohammadi’s most recent incarceration began after she attended a memorial for Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old's death in police custody had sparked a massive wave of outrage and widespread demonstrations against Iran's regime last year. 

ALSO READ: Jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2023

“In September 2022, Mahsa Jina Amini was killed in Iranian morality police’s custody, triggering political demonstrations against Iran’s regime. The motto adopted by the demonstrators – “Woman – Life – Freedom" – suitably expresses the dedication and work of Narges Mohammadi," the Nobel Committee wrote.

Here are 10 factoids about the newly awarded activist:

1. She holds a degree in physics and started her career as an engineer. Mohammadi emerged as an advocate for equality and women’s rights during her academic years, writing for the student newspaper. She was also arrested at two meetings of a political student group. The activist lost her engineering post in 2009 following a jail sentence. 

2. Narges Mohammadi worked as a journalist for several reformist publications and campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty, women’s rights and the right to protest. 

3. Over the years she has written many articles arguing for social reforms in Iran and published an essay collection, The Reforms, the Strategy, and the Tactics. Her book 'White Torture: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners' also won an award for reportage at the International Film Festival and Human Rights’ Forum.

ALSO READ: Nobel Peace Prize top contenders: Who's leading the pack?

4. Mohammadi was arrested for the first time in 2011 and sentenced to many years of imprisonment for her efforts to assist incarcerated activists and their families.

5. She married fellow activist and scribe Taghi Rahmani in 1999 – just before the latter was arrested for the first time. The duo share twin children who currently live in France. Rahmani relocated after 14 years of prison sentences in Iran while Mohammadi remained to continue her work.

6. Mohammadi is the 19th woman to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize and the second Iranian woman to win the award – after human rights activist Shirin Ebadi in 2003. It is also the fifth time in the 122-year history of the awards that the peace prize has been given to someone who is in prison or under house arrest.

7. The Iranian writer joined the Ebadi-led Defenders of Human Rights Center in 2003 and eventually became the organisation's vice president. The group is a member of the International Federation for Human Rights. it was awarded the 2003 Human Rights Award of the French National Commission of Human Rights.

ALSO READ: Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov

8. Mohammadi has received various awards over the years -- from the Alexander Langer Award in 2009 to the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and the Olof Palme Prize earlier in 2023. Ebadi also dedicated her 2010 Felix Ermacora Human Rights Award to Mohammadi.

9. “Her brave struggle has come with tremendous personal costs. Altogether, 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," the Nobel team said.

10. The award has also given fresh impetus to calls for Mohammadi's release from prison. "We and other partners of the UN human rights system have repeatedly called for her release," the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights told Reuters on Friday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 06 Oct 2023, 04:15 PM IST
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