Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Narges Mohammadi

Posted by on Oct 18, 2023 in Stuff You Should Know, World

Iranian human rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammadi (NAR-guhs moh-HAM-mah-dee) has won the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize. Narges Mohammadi is the nineteenth woman to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Over the last 30 years, Mohammadi has focused her work on promoting human rights and fighting laws and customs oppressive to the women of Iran.  

Mohammadi is currently serving a sentence of more than 10 years in Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. She was accused of acting against Iran’s national security and spreading propaganda against the Iranian government. Iran’s government is a theocracy—a system where religious leaders control the government. Evin Prison is a common location of imprisonment for political opponents of Iran’s government. 

In all, Mohammadi has been arrested by Iran 13 times, convicted 5 times, and sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison. She has also been sentenced to 154 lashes, a frequent punishment in Iran’s legal system.  

Who is Narges Mohammadi? 

Narges Mohammadi was born and raised in Iran. While earning her degree in physics, she began writing articles supporting women’s rights. She joined the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) in 2003 and has served as its vice president. The DHRC provides free legal defense for Iranians accused of political crimes. The organization also provides support for the families of those receiving legal defense. She was arrested in 2011 in part because of her membership in the group and her efforts to help jailed activists.  

Mohammadi also fights against the death penalty and solitary confinement both of which are used often in Iran. Since January of 2022, Iranian officials have executed more than 860 people. Mohammadi has been in solitary confinement four times herself and has suffered torture while jailed.  

Mohammadi’s latest imprisonment, which began in 2022, comes after writing a book, White Torture. Her book is based on interviews of 12 Iranian women who were jailed and in solitary confinement.  

Mohammadi’s husband Taghi Rahmani is also an Iranian activist and has been jailed for those actions. He currently lives in France, in exile from Iran, with their 16-year-old twins.   

“Woman, Life, Freedom” 

In 2022, many Iranians protested the death of a 22-year-old woman who died while in custody of a policing organization known as the morality police. They patrol the behaviors of Iranian citizens to ensure they are following Islamic Law. The woman who died in their custody was accused of not wearing a hijab, a headscarf women are required to wear by Iranian law. The slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” has become the rallying cry for demonstrators in Iran who wish to resist the restrictions Iranian law puts on women. 

Mohammadi supported those demonstrations from behind bars, leading fellow prisoners in chants. From jail, she sent an article to the New York Times and gave an interview discussing torture and assaults. She was sentenced to another year in prison for her actions.  

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chair, stated that the phrase “Woman, Life, Freedom” appropriately describes Narges Mohammadi’s work. The committee also honors the Iranian demonstrators with this prize.  

What is a Nobel Prize? 

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemical engineer, entrepreneur, and businessperson in the 1800s. He also was interested in literature and peace-related issues. In his will, he left his fortune to be awarded as prizes for people who made great discoveries and worked for the good of humankind. The Nobel Foundation was established and began awarding prizes in 1901.  

Each year six Nobel Prizes are awarded in the categories of physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry, economic science, literature, and peace work. The prize is considered to be the most respected and important award in each field. The winners are called laureates. Each winner receives a Nobel Prize diploma and a medal. They also receive a sum of prize money. For 2023, the amount is about $989,000. 

Dig Deeper Nobel Peace Prize candidates must be nominated by others for their work. Research another recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. How are the achievements of your selected recipient similar to or different from those of Narges Mohammadi?