Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi will begin a new hunger strike from her prison cell in Iran as the prize will be awarded in Oslo on Sunday in her absence, her family said on Saturday.

Mohammadi, who has campaigned against the wearing of the headscarf and the death penalty in Iran, will go on hunger strike “in solidarity” with the Baha’i religious minority, her brother and husband said at a news conference in the Norwegian capital on the eve of the Nobel Prize ceremony.

“She is not with us today, she is in prison and will go on a hunger strike in solidarity with a religious minority, but we feel her presence here,” her younger brother Hamidreza Mohammadi said in a brief opening statement.

Iranian human rights activist and Vice President of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), Narges Mohammadi, poses in an undated handout photo. Mohammadi family archive photos/Handout via REUTERS

The 51-year-old activist’s husband, Taghi Rahmani, said the strike was a gesture of solidarity with the Baha’i religious minority, whose two jailed leaders, Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi, have begun refusing food.

“She said, ‘I’m going to start my hunger strike the day I get this award, maybe then the world will know more about it,’” he explained.

Iran’s largest religious minority, the Baha’i community, is the target of discrimination in many areas of society, according to its representatives.

Mohammadi went on a hunger strike lasting several days at the beginning of November to demand the right to be transferred to hospital without a hat.

In October she was awarded the Nobel Prize “for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran.”

Mohammadi was arrested 13 times, sentenced five times to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes, and has spent much of the past two decades in and out of prison.

Narges Mohammadi is one of the women leading the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising, which included months of protests across Iran sparked by the September 2022 death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini over alleged contempt The Rights of the Islamic Republic had a strict dress code for women.

Mahsa Amini’s parents and brother, who were supposed to accept the Sakharov Prize, which was posthumously awarded to the young woman on Sunday at a parallel ceremony in France, have been banned from leaving Iran, her lawyer in France told the news agency on Saturday AFP with.

Mohammadi has been incarcerated in Tehran’s Evin Prison since 2021 and will be represented at the ceremony in Oslo by her 17-year-old twin children Ali and Kiana, who have been living in exile in France since 2015 and have not seen their mother for almost nine years.

OSLO, NORWAY – DECEMBER 9: Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi’s husband Taghi Rahmani, son Ali Rahmani, daughter Kiana Rahmani and Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Berit Reiss-Andersen attend the Nobel Peace Prize press conference at the Nobel Center on December 9 , 2023 in Oslo, Norway. / Getty Images

They both don’t know if they’ll ever see her alive again, but while Ali is confident, Kiana is doubtful.

“The cause of ‘woman, life, freedom’, freedom in general and democracy are worth sacrificing and giving your life for, because in the end these three things are priceless,” Kiana told reporters.

“Personally, I’m rather pessimistic about seeing her again someday,” she added, noting that the additional attention her mother would receive from being awarded the Nobel Prize would likely lead to Iranian authorities taking her Restrict freedom even further.

“Maybe in 30 or 40 years I will see her again, but if not, I don’t think I will ever see her again, but that’s okay because my mother will always be with me in my heart and with my family.”

On the other hand, Ali said he is “very, very optimistic,” even though it probably won’t happen “in two, five or 10 years.”

“I believe in our victory,” he affirmed, before quoting his mother: “Victory is not easy, but it is certain.”

On Sunday, the twins will read a speech their mother managed to smuggle out of her prison cell at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo, attended by the Norwegian royal family and other dignitaries.

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Source : www.cbsnews.com

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