A jailed Iranian activist who has been imprisoned more than a dozen times while campaigning for women’s rights, democracy and opposition of the death penalty has won the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.
Narges Mohammadi, 51, was given the award “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said Friday on its website.
“This prize is first and foremost a recognition of the very important work of a whole movement in Iran, with its undisputed leader, Narges Mohammadi,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the committee, said in Oslo while announcing Mohammadi as the winner.
“If the Iranian authorities make the right decision, they will release her so she can be present to receive this honor, which is what we primarily hope for,” she added, noting that there is time to plan any potential arrangements for this.
Mohammadi’s most recent incarceration – a 12-year sentence — began when she was detained in 2021 after she attended a memorial for a person killed two years earlier in nationwide protests sparked by an increase in gasoline prices. She’s been held at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, whose inmates include those with Western ties and political prisoners.
Reiss-Andersen said Mohammadi has been imprisoned 13 times and convicted five times. In total, she has been sentenced to 31 years in prison. She 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.
Reiss-Andersen also said giving the award to Mohammadi recognizes the hundreds of thousands of people who have protested against Iranian discrimination and oppression of women.
Prior to her current sentence, Mohammadi was the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran, an organization led by Ebadi.
Iranian state media did not immediately react to the announcement of the award.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.