Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned in her country, will observe a new hunger strike on Sunday, a highly symbolic day during which her Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded, in her absence, to her children in Oslo.
A fierce opponent of the compulsory wearing of the hijab for women and the death penalty in Iran, Ms. Mohammadi will stop eating “in solidarity with the Bahai religious minority”, her brother and her husband indicated at a conference of press 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 husband of the 51-year-old activist, Taghi Rahmani, then clarified that this gesture of solidarity was aimed at the Bahai minority, two of whose leading figures are also observing a hunger strike.
“She said ‘I’m going to start my hunger strike the day the prize is awarded to me and maybe the world will hear more about it,'” he explained during the press conference.
The largest religious minority in Iran, the Bahai community is the target of discrimination in many sectors of society, its representatives believe.
In fragile health, Ms. Mohammadi had already been on hunger strike for a few days at the beginning of November to obtain the right to be transferred to hospital without covering her head.
‘Always in our hearts’
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 arrested and convicted many times in recent decades.
She is one of the main faces of the “Women, Life, Freedom” uprising in Iran.
The movement, which saw women remove the veil, cut their hair and demonstrate in the streets, was sparked by the death last year of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, Mahsa Amini, after her arrest in Tehran for non-compliance with the strict Islamic dress code.
The protest was severely repressed.
The parents and brother of Mahsa Amini who were to receive, on Sunday during a parallel ceremony in France, the Sakharov Prize awarded to the young woman posthumously, were prohibited from leaving Iranian territory, announced to AFP on Saturday their lawyer in France.
Detained since 2021 in Evin prison in Tehran, Ms. 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 no longer seen their mother for almost nine years.
Both don’t know if they will see her alive again: the boy believes it, not his sister.
“As far as seeing her alive again one day, personally, I’m quite pessimistic,” Kiana confided during the press conference. “The ‘Women, Life, Liberty’ cause, freedom in general and democracy are worth sacrificing for,” she stressed.
“Maybe I’ll see her again in 30 or 40 years,” she added. “But it doesn’t matter because she will always be in our hearts.”
Ali, on the contrary, said he was “very, very optimistic” even if this will probably not happen “in two, five or ten years”.
“I believe in our victory,” he said, before quoting his mother once again: “victory is not easy but it is certain.”
On Sunday, during the Nobel ceremony, in the presence of the Norwegian royal family, the twins will read a speech that their mother managed to transmit to her family from prison.
09/12/2023 15:54:29 – Oslo (AFP) – © 2023 AFP
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