Nobel Prize winner Narges Mohammadi begins new hunger strike
TEHRAN: Narges Mohammadi a human rights activist, has been behind bars in Tehran since 2021. She will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday in absentia and will be represented by her husband and two kids in Oslo.
Imprisoned Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi was expected to begin a new hunger strike, her family said Saturday.
Mohammadi, who is 51 years old, will be awarded the prize in Norway on Sunday, but she is unable to attend as she is currently locked up in an Iranian prison.
Family: The hunger strike is an act of solidarity with the persecuted Baha’i faith
“She is not here with us today, she is in prison and she will be on a hunger strike in solidarity with a religious minority but we feel her presence here,” Hamidreza Mohammadi, her younger brother, said during a media briefing in Oslo.
Her 51-year-old husband, Taghi Rahmani, said the strike was an act of solidarity with the Baha’i religious minority. Members of the Baha’i faith face persecution and discrimination under Iran’s conservative Islamic government.
A post on Mohammadi’s Instagram account said the human rights activist had already started the three-day hunger strike 24 hours before the ceremony. Her Instagram is administered by her friends.
“On the day of the Nobel Prize ceremony, I want to be the voice of Iranians protesting against injustice and oppression,” Mohammadi said, according to the post.
Mohammadi’s children to accept prize on her behalf
Mohammadi is one of Iran’s most prominent human rights activists.
On Sunday, Mohammadi’s 17-year-old twins Ali and Kiana will accept the Nobel Prize on their mother’s behalf. During the award ceremony, they will recite a speech written by their mother which was smuggled outside of the Tehran prison where she is being kept.
The twins have not seen their mother in nine years. They have resided in France since 2015.
Kiana said Thursday that she is “pessimistic” that she may see her mother again, whereas Ali said he was “very optimistic” regarding a reunion.
Who is Mohammadi and why was she chosen for the Nobel Prize?
Mohammadi, who has been jailed in Tehran’s Evin prison since 2021, has been involved in human rights work over the past two decades. She is the former vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and has advocated against Iran’s forced headscarf policies.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it awarded the Nobel Prize to Mohammadi “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 Norwegian Nobel Committee statement added, noting that she had been arrested 13 times, convicted five times and sentenced to 31 years in prison in total and 154 lashes.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has condemned the award of the prize to Mohammadi “as biased and politically motivated.”
The selection of Narges Mohammadi as the winner comes after mass human rights and feminist protests in Iran following the death of Jina Mahsa Amini. Iranian police had arrested Amini in 2022 for not wearing her headscarf appropriately, with her death in custody sparking the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement.