Iran: Narges Mohammadi to start hunger strike at Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony

Imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi will go on hunger strike again on Sunday, a highly symbolic day on which her Nobel Peace Prize will be handed over to her children in Oslo in her absence.

Ali, Taghi and Kiana Rahmani, the children and husband of Narges Mohammadi, who will receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on December 10, 2023. AP - Frederik Ringnes

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A staunch opponent of compulsory hijab for women and the death penalty in Iran, Narges Mohammadi will stop eating "in solidarity with the religious minority" in the Baha'i, his brother and husband said at a press conference in the Norwegian capital on Saturday on the eve of the Nobel ceremony. "She is not here with us today, she is in prison and she will be on hunger strike in solidarity with a religious minority," her younger brother, Hamidreza Mohammadi, said in a brief opening statement.

The 51-year-old activist's husband, Taghi Rahmani, later clarified that the gesture of solidarity was aimed at the Baha'i minority, two of whose leaders are also on hunger strike. "She said 'I'm going to start my hunger strike the day I get the award and maybe the world will hear more about it,'" he told a news conference.

Read alsoExclusive interview with Narges Mohammadi, human rights activist, imprisoned in Iran (July 2023)

The Baha'i community is the largest religious minority in Iran and is the target of discrimination in many parts of society, according to its representatives.

Narges Mohammadi, who is in poor health, had already gone on hunger strike for a few days in early November to obtain the right to be transferred to hospital without covering her head.

Awarded the Nobel Prize in October for "her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight for the promotion of human rights and freedom for all", the activist has been repeatedly arrested and sentenced in recent decades. She is one of the main faces of the "Woman, Life, Freedom" uprising in Iran. The movement, which has seen women drop headscarves, cut their hair and protest in the streets, was sparked by the death last year of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested in Tehran for violating the strict Islamic dress code. The protests were severely repressed.

Detained since 2021 in Evin Prison

The parents and brother of Mahsa Amini who were to receive, Sunday at a parallel ceremony in France, the Sakharov Prize awarded to the young woman posthumously, have been banned from leaving Iranian territory, announced Saturday to AFP their lawyer in France.

Detained since 2021 in Tehran's Evin prison, Narges Mohammadi will be represented at the Oslo ceremony by her 17-year-old twin children, Ali and Kiana, exiled in France since 2015 and who have not seen their mother for nearly nine years. They don't know if they'll ever see her alive again: the boy believes it, but his sister doesn't.


As for seeing her alive again one day, personally, I'm pretty pessimistic Kiana said at the press conference. "The 'Woman, Life, Freedom' cause, freedom in general and democracy are worth sacrificing for them," she said. "Maybe I'll see her again in 30 or 40 years," she added. "But that's okay, because she'll always be in our hearts." Ali, on the other hand, said he was "very, very optimistic" even though it will probably not happen "in two, five or ten years". "I believe in our victory," he said, before quoting his mother again: "Victory is not easy, but it is certain."

Read alsoIn Iran, "Narges Mohammadi is treated with security comparable to that of a terrorist"

On Sunday, at the Nobel ceremony, in the presence of the Norwegian royal family, the twins will read a speech that their mother managed to pass on to her family from prison.


With AFP)

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