Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman who died in police custody last year, and the Woman, Life and Freedom Movement she inspired in Iran have been awarded the 2023 European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Speaking at a plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said “the brutal murder of the 22-year-old” has “triggered a women-led movement that is making history.”
Amini died on September 16, 2022 after being detained by Iran’s so-called morality police for allegedly not complying with strict rules on head coverings.
Stéphane Séjourné, who heads the Renew group in the Parliament, said “in the darkness of the tyrannical religious dictatorship of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the courage of Jina Mahsa Amini and the Women, Life, Freedom Movement brought back light to a whole nation.” He added that “with this prize, we want to make sure that light won’t fade away.”
The Sakharov Prize has been awarded annually by the European Parliament since 1988. It honors individuals and organizations defending human rights and freedoms, and was named after Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet physicist and political dissident. The prize money is €50,000.