, by Fiona Gregorini, Pia Zehrt

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

“Femme, vie, liberté”, typographie du slogan principal des manifestants de Shahrivar 1401 (septembre 2022) en Iran ©Farzan44, Wikimedia Commons

Every year, the European parliament presents the Sakharov prize, dedicated to the freedom of thought. With last year’s winner being Ukraine, the honor has now been awarded to the Iranian civil society.

A prize for the freedom of women

The Sakharov prize of 2023 has been dedicated to the iranian civil movement زن، زندگی، آزادی (“Woman, life, freedom” in farsi), which was created as a hommage to Jina Mahsa Saleh Nikbakh, an Iranian woman belonging to the Kurdish minority of the country. At 22 years old, she became the target of the Iranian laws, which strictly apply the wearing of a headscarf for women. Arrested by the police in Tehran on September 13th, 2022, she died three days later at Tehran’s hospital due to the physical violences she had to endure during her detention. Her death provoked massive demonstrations under the slogan “Woman, life, freedom”, led by women all over Iran to protest against the imposition of the hijab and other discriminatory laws. Since then, other women have been arrested and murdered by the Iranian authorities for taking part in the movement - many of which were students, journalists, activists or defenders of women’s rights.

A missing family

The prize ceremony took place during the last plenary session of the year in Strasbourg, France, on the 12th of December. Having been accorded a time of 30 minutes in the presence of the institution’s president, Roberta Metsola, and european deputies. Masha’s family (her parents and brother) were supposed to be present to accept the prize in her honor, but although their visas were approved by the French authorities, they were refused permission to leave Iran and have had their passports confiscated. Saleh Nikbakht, the family’s lawyer, who lives in Paris, accepted the prize on their behalf and held the speech prepared by the family. Two Iranian defenders of women’s rights who left Iran in 2023, Afsoon Najafi and Mersedeh Shahinkar, were also present in order to transmit their message at the press conference and the plenary session organized at the hemicycle in Strasburg.

The European parliament has often condemned the disastrous state of human rights under the regime of the Mollahs. Sanctions against those responsible for the critical situation have been discussed in 2022 by European deputies, both for the involvement in the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini and the violent repression of the civil movement. Ever since then, European deputies have been nothing but supportive of the peaceful demonstrations. Further, last november, a resolution supported by 516 MEPs called for an immediate end to Iran’s attack on women, especially castigating the discriminatory law imposing the wearing of a headscarf. The deputies equally demand the liberation of falsely imprisoned activists and human rights defenders.

This prize dedicated to the movement زن، زندگی، آزادی encourages women to continue the daily fight for their freedom, while having the undoubtable support of the European Union.

Your comments

Warning, your message will only be displayed after it has been checked and approved.

Who are you?

To show your avatar with your message, register it first on (free et painless) and don’t forget to indicate your Email addresse here.

Enter your comment here

This form accepts SPIP shortcuts {{bold}} {italic} -*list [text->url] <quote> <code> and HTML code <q> <del> <ins>. To create paragraphs, just leave empty lines.

Follow the comments: RSS 2.0 | Atom