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MEPs award Sakharov Prize to Iranian woman
Sakharov Prize ceremony in Strasbourg Pic: European Union (EP 2023)

12 Dec 2023 / eu Print

MEPs award Sakharov Prize to Iranian woman

The European Parliament has awarded its 2023 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Jina Mahsa Amini and the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement in Iran.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, was arrested by police in Tehran on 13 September 2022 for allegedly ignoring Iran’s strict veiling laws.

She died in hospital three days later after physical abuse suffered while in custody. Her death sparked massive protests across the country. Under the slogan ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, women have been protesting since her death against the hijab rules and other discriminatory laws.

Family banned from travelling

The recipients were represented at today’s (12 December) ceremony by Saleh Nikbakht, an academic and lawyer representing Jina Mahsa Amini’s family, and Afsoon Najafi and Mersedeh Shahinkar, Iranian campaigners for women's rights defenders who left the country in 2023.

The Parliament’s president Roberta Metsola said that the award “serves as a tribute to all the brave and defiant women, men and young people in Iran, who, despite coming under increasing pressure, are continuing the fight for their rights and push for change”.

Amini’s parents and brother had been due to attend the ceremony in Strasbourg, but were stopped at Tehran Airport and had their passports confiscated. They are now subject to a travel ban. On Saturday, Metsola called on Iran to reverse its decision.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland