The Iranian Mahsa Amini was arrested in September 2022 because she was said to have worn her headscarf incorrectly – and died in police custody. Now she will be posthumously awarded the EU Human Rights Prize.
“The European Parliament proudly stands by the brave and bold people who continue to fight for equality, dignity and freedom in Iran,” said Parliament President Roberta Metsola on Thursday in Strasbourg. This year’s Sakharov Prize goes to the late Iranian protest icon Mahsa Amini and the associated freedom movement.
What is the Sakharov Prize?
The Sakharov Prize has been awarded by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organizations committed to the defense of human rights and freedom of expression.
“The brutal murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was a turning point,” she continued: “It sparked a women-led movement that is about to make history.”
It all started with a headscarf being worn incorrectly
Amini was arrested by the notorious morality police in Iran last fall for an alleged violation of the Islamic dress code. The 22-year-old then fell into a coma and died. Her death sparked the most violent protests in the Islamic Republic in decades.
Nicaragua, Poland, El Salvador and the USA were also on the shortlist
Last year the prize went to the Ukrainian people. Also nominated this year were the Nicaraguan human rights activists Vilma Núñez de Escorcia and Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos.
The shortlist also included three women who advocate for safe and legal abortions: Justyna Wydrzyńska from Poland, Morena Herrera from El Salvador and Colleen McNicholas from the USA.