Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi, jailed in his country, is holding a new hunger strike on Sunday, a highly symbolic day when his Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to his children in Oslo.
Ms Mohammadi, a staunch opponent of the mandatory hijab for women and the death penalty in Iran, would stop eating “in solidarity with the Baha’i religious minority”, her brother and her husband indicated at a press conference in the Norwegian capital. Saturday ahead of the Nobel ceremony.
“He is not with us today, he is in jail and will be on hunger strike in support of religious minorities,” his younger brother Hamidreza Mohammadi said in a brief opening statement. Taghi Rahmani, the 51-year-old husband of the activist, made it clear that the gesture of solidarity was aimed at the Baha’i minority, including two prominent jailed figures, Mahvash Sabed and Fariba Kamalabadi, who started the hunger strike.
“I’m going to start my hunger strike on the day I receive the prize, maybe the world will hear more about it,” he said, explaining at a press conference. The Baha’i community, the largest religious minority in Iran, believes its representatives are the target of discrimination in many sectors of society. In frail health, the head Ms Mohammadi had already been on hunger strike for a few days in early November to demand the right to be transferred to the hospital without cover.
“Always in My Heart”
Awarded the Nobel Prize in October “for her struggle against the oppression of women in Iran and her struggle to promote human rights and freedom for all,” the activist has been arrested and convicted several times in recent decades. She was one of the main faces of the “Women, Life, Freedom” uprising in Iran.
The movement, which has seen women remove their veils, cut their hair and protest in the streets, was sparked last year by the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish Mahza Amini after being arrested in Tehran. Strict Islamic dress code. The protest was severely suppressed.
The parents and brother of Mahsa Amini, who was to receive the young woman’s posthumous Sakharov Prize during a joint ceremony in France on Sunday, have been banned from leaving Iranian territory, their lawyer in France told AFP on Saturday.
Ms Mohammadi, who has been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since 2021, will be represented at the Oslo ceremony by her 17-year-old twins, Ali and Gianna. Neither of them knew if they would see her alive again: the boy believed that, not his sister.
“Women, life, freedom”, freedom and democracy in general are worth sacrificing and giving one’s life for, because in the end these three things have no meaning. Price,” Gianna said during a press conference. “Personally, I’m very pessimistic about her ever being alive again,” he said. “Maybe I’ll see her in 30 or 40 years, if not, I’ll see her again someday. I don’t think so, but it doesn’t matter because my mother will always be with me in my heart and my family.”
Ali, by contrast, said that while it might not happen “in two, five or ten years,” he was “very optimistic.” “I believe in our success,” he said before quoting his mother: “Success is not easy, but it is certain.” On Sunday, during the Nobel ceremony, in front of the Norwegian royal family, the twins will read a message their mother was able to send to her family from prison.
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