According to her mother, Mahsa Amini’s name symbolizes ‘a hidden message of liberation,’ declares EU while presenting an accolade.

The collectible Sakharov prize was denied to the family of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in custody, prompting widespread protests. Despite their absence, Amini’s mother described her daughter’s name as a symbol of freedom. This recognition adds to the international attention on women challenging Iran’s religious government, following the Nobel peace prize awarded to activist Narges Mohammadi. The Iranian family was barred from attending the ceremony in Strasbourg, France, due to passport confiscation by Iranian authorities. The refusal to let the family attend has sparked outrage among EU lawmakers, who see it as an attempt to silence Amini’s supporters. Activists living outside Iran, Afsoon Najafi and Mersedeh Shahinkar, received the award on behalf of the broader movement. The EU has imposed sanctions on numerous Iranian officials due to repression of the protests.

Congratulations to the winners of the #SakharovPrize for Freedom of Thought in 2023. These women, along with many others, have sparked a revolution. Despite mounting pressure, they are steadfast in their fight for equality, dignity, and freedom in Iran. They represent the future of Iran.

Najafi’s sister died during the anti-government protests that followed Amini’s death, while Shahinkar was injured by security forces. At a press conference, Shahinkar voiced the frustration with the Iranian regime, stating that the Islamic Republic does not truly represent the Iranian people. The EU has issued sanctions against numerous Iranian officials due to their repression of demonstrators. Najafi spoke of the ongoing suffering and torture faced by Iranians under the regime, calling on the international community to isolate the authorities in Tehran for their treatment of the protests.

“It’s time for politicians to stop supporting them or shaking their hands,” Najafi said.

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