The chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, announced the prize on Friday in Oslo, Norway.
Narges Mohammadi, a women’s rights activist was arrested by authorities in November last year after she attended a memorial for a victim of violent 2019 protests. Mohammadi has a long history of imprisonment, harsh sentences and international calls for reviews of her case.
Before being jailed, Mohammadi was vice president of the banned Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. Mohammadi has been close to Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, who founded the center.
Mohammadi, who is also an engineer, was awarded the 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize. In 2022, Mohammadi was tried in five minutes and sentenced to eight years in prison and 70 lashes.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides the annual award, urged Iran to release Mohammadi, one of the nation’s leading activists who has campaigned for both women’s rights and the abolition of the death penalty.
“We’ve seen their courage and determination in the face of reprisals, intimidation, violence and detention,” spokesperson for The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Elizabeth Throssell said in reference to Iranian women. “They’ve been harassed for what they do or don’t wear. There are increasingly stringent legal, social and economic measures against them. This really is something that highlights the courage and determination of the women of Iran and how they are an inspiration to the world.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Mohammadi’s win “shows women’s power for freedom”, adding her “fearless voice cannot be locked up, the future of Iran is its women”, in a post on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).
Mohammadi was honoured “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo.
The Nobel Prizes carry a cash award of 11 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million). Winners also receive an 18-carat gold medal and diploma at the award ceremonies in December.
Last year’s prize was won by human rights activists from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, in what was seen as a strong rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart and ally.
With inputs from AP, AFP and Reuters