11th Dec 2023

Jina Amini and Iranian women win 2023 Sakharov Prize 

  • The award will be given posthumously, after Jina Amini died in police custody in Iran (Photo: Wikimedia)
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Jina Mahsa Amini and the women's movement in Iran have won this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Parliament announced on Thursday (19 October), with the winner receiving widespread acclaim.

"These brave women, men & young people have inspired the world through their fight for equality, liberty and dignity," said EU parliament president Roberta Metsola.

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Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman, died in a hospital in Tehran after being arrested for ignoring Iran's veiling laws in September 2022.

Her death sparked widespread protests in the country under the slogan "Woman, Life, Freedom" — but also beyond.

"Her fight for freedom and gender rights in Iran is still alive, and her example will continue to inspire many other women around the world," said Socialists & Democrats group leader Spanish MEP Iratxe García Pérez.

"[Even] if she gets the prize posthumously, it is not only for her but it is indeed for all women and men who support this cause of freedom in the country," said MEP German Michael Gahler, from the centre-right European People's Party.

He said the prize will encourage them to continue fighting for freedom.

"We honour Jina Mahsa Amini's bravery, as she gave her life to defend women's rights, and we salute the Iranian women who carry on her fight," said EU council president Charles Michel.

"Their dedication inspires us in our struggle for equal rights and freedom."

This year's Sakharov Prize symbolises the universal fight for freedom, said Belarusian opposition leader in exile, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, whose country received the Sakharov Prize in 2020.

Green German MEP Hannah Neumann described the prize as "a strong sign that this house stands in unwavering solidarity with all those fighting for a free and democratic Iran."

The European Parliament in Strasbourg is set to host the award ceremony on 13 December.

The Sakharov Prize is the special prize the parliament gives to a person or an organisation each year in support of their causes. It was first launched in 1988.

The prize amount totals €50,000.

Last year, the parliament's prize honoured Ukrainians — with their president, elected officials, and civil society as their representatives.


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