Narges Mohammadi to go on hunger strike again. Who is this Nobel laureate? | World News - Hindustan Times
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Iran's Narges Mohammadi to go on hunger strike again. Who is this Nobel laureate?

By | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar
Dec 10, 2023 08:54 AM IST

Narges Mohammadi will go on a new hunger strike from her Iranian prison cell as the Nobel Prize is awarded to her in Oslo on Sunday, in her absence.

Narges Mohammadi, winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, will start a new hunger strike from her prison cell in Iran as the prize is awarded to her in Oslo on Sunday, in her absence, news agency AFP reported, citing her family.

A handout photo provided by the Narges Mohammadi Foundation on October 2, 2023 shows an undated, unlocated photo of Iranian rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi. (AFP)
A handout photo provided by the Narges Mohammadi Foundation on October 2, 2023 shows an undated, unlocated photo of Iranian rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi. (AFP)

Mohammadi's husband said at a press conference in Oslo that she would undertake the hunger strike as a gesture of support for the Baha'i religious minority. She is known for her advocacy against compulsory hijab and the death penalty in Iran.

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Recognised in October for her efforts in combating the oppression of women in Iran, Mohammadi has been detained in Tehran's Evin prison since 2021. While she will not be present at the Oslo ceremony, her 17-year-old twin children, Ali and Kiana, who have been living in France since 2015 without seeing their mother for almost nine years, will represent her.

Iranian journalist Taghi Rahmani (C), husband of this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi (not in picture), and their children Ali Rahmani (L) and Kiana Rahmani (R) pose for a picture after signing the guest book at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, on December 9, 2023. (AFP)
Iranian journalist Taghi Rahmani (C), husband of this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi (not in picture), and their children Ali Rahmani (L) and Kiana Rahmani (R) pose for a picture after signing the guest book at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, on December 9, 2023. (AFP)

Who is Narges Mohammadi?

Born in Zanjan, Mohammadi went to the Imam Khomeini International University and earned a Physics degree. While in college, Mohammadi stood out as a supporter of equality and women's rights. After finishing her studies, she worked as an engineer and also wrote articles for different newspapers that sought reforms.

In 2003, she joined the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran, an organisation established by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. Mohammadi was first arrested in 2011 and received a long prison sentence for her work in aiding activists and their families.

In 2013, after being granted bail, Mohammadi focused on advocating against the death penalty. However, she was arrested again in 2015 and given more years of imprisonment.

Having been arrested 13 times and handed five sentences totalling 31 years in prison along with 154 lashes, the Nobel Prize laureate has experienced repeated incarcerations over the last twenty years.

Mohammadi stands as a prominent figure among those leading the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement, marked by widespread protests throughout Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who died while in custody after being detained for allegedly violating Iran's strict dress codes for women. The family of Mahsa Amini, set to receive the Sakharov Prize on her behalf in France, has been prohibited from leaving Iran, as disclosed by their lawyer in France to AFP on Saturday.

Why is Mohammadi going on hunger strike now?

The activist's husband, Taghi Rahmani, said her hunger strike is to support the Baha'i religious minority, highlighting two of its imprisoned leaders, Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi, who have also started refusing food.

“She said that ‘I will start my hunger strike on the day that I am being granted this prize, perhaps then the world will hear more about it,’” Rahmani was quoted by AFP as saying.

Representatives of the Baha'i community in Iran note that they face discrimination across various aspects of society, the AFP report said.

Earlier in November, Mohammadi had already gone on a hunger strike for a few days, seeking the right to be transferred to a hospital without wearing a head covering.

(With inputs from agencies)

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