Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has hailed the news that Narges Mohammadi — an Iranian journalist RSF has been defending for years — has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her “fight against the oppression of women in Iran,” her courage and determination.
Persecuted by the Iranian authorities since the late 1990s for her work, and imprisoned again since November 2021, she must be freed at once, RSF declared in a statement.
“Speak to save Iran” is the title of one of the letters published by Mohammadi from Evin prison, near Tehran, where she has been serving a sentence of 10 years and 9 months in prison since 16 November 2021.
She has also been sentenced to hundreds of lashes. The maker of a documentary entitled White Torture and the author of a book of the same name, Mohammadi has never stopped denouncing the sexual violence inflicted on women prisoners in Iran.
It is this fight against the oppression of women that the Nobel Committee has just saluted by awarding the Peace Prize to this 51-year-old journalist and human rights activist, the former vice-president of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, the Iranian human rights organisation that was created by Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer who was herself awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
It is because of this fight that Mohammadi has been hounded by the Iranian authorities, who continue to persecute her in prison.
She has been denied visits and telephone calls since 12 April 2022, cutting her off from the world.
White Torture: The infamy of solitary confinement in Iran with Narges Mohammadi.
At the same time, the authorities in Evin prison have brought new charges to keep her in detention.
On August 4, her jail term was increased by a year after the publication of another of her letters about violence against fellow women detainees.
Mohammadi was awarded the RSF Prize for Courage on 12 December 2023. At the award ceremony in Paris, her two children, whom she has not seen for eight years, read one of the letters she wrote to them from prison.
“In this country, amid all the suffering, all the fears and all the hopes, and when, after years of imprisonment, I am behind bars again and I can no longer even hear the voices of my children, it is with a heart full of passion, hope and vitality, full of confidence in the achievement of freedom and justice in my country that I will spend time in prison,” she wrote.
She ended the letter with a call to keep alive “the hope of victory”.
RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said:
“It is with immense emotion that I learn that the Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded to the journalist and human rights defender Narges Mohammadi.
At Reporters Without Borders (RSF), we have been fighting for her for years, alongside her husband and her two children, and with Shirin Ebadi. The Nobel Peace Prize will obviously be decisive in obtaining her release.”
On June 7, RSF referred the unacceptable conditions in which Mohammadi is being detained to all of the relevant UN human rights bodies.
During an oral update to the UN Human Rights Council on July 5, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran expressed concern over the “continued detention of human rights defenders and lawyers defending the protesters, and at least 17 journalists”.
It is thanks to Mohammadi’s journalistic courage that the world knows what is happening in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prisons, where 20 journalists are currently detained.
Pacific Media Watch collaborates with Reporters Without Borders.
Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz