Deprived of passports, the family of Iranian Mahsa Amini will not be able to receive the Sakharov Prize for human rights, awarded posthumously to the young woman who died in prison last year, a measure which, according to her lawyer, shows the feverishness of Tehran on the eve of symbolic events.
The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, who awards this distinction, called on “the Iranian regime to reverse its decision banning the mother, father and brother of Mahsa Amini from traveling”, in a message posted on the social network x.
“Their place next Tuesday is at @Europarl_EN in Strasbourg to receive the Sakharov Prize, with the courageous women of Iran,” she added, stressing that “the truth cannot be silenced.”
The ban on leaving the territory for the parents and brother of the young Kurd, who died at the age of 22 after being arrested by the Iranian moral police for an ill-fitting veil, comes as France must celebrate Sunday in Paris, the 75e anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That same day, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded in Oslo, Norway, to the family of Nargès Mohammadi, another Iranian, who will not be able to receive it in person because she is detained in Evin prison, in Tehran.
Mahsa Amini’s parents and brother were unable to leave Iranian territory, their lawyer in France announced to AFP on Saturday morning.
They “were prohibited from boarding the flight which was to take them to France for the Sakharov Prize award and from leaving the territory yesterday at midnight even though they had a visa,” explained Me Chirinne Ardakani.
“Their passports were confiscated,” she said. But they were able to return home in the night and “their lawyer Me Saleh Nikbakht arrived in Paris to receive the prize on their behalf” in Strasbourg, she added.
The Sakharov Prize, the European Union’s highest distinction for human rights, was awarded in October by the European Parliament to Mahsa Amini and to the “Woman Life Freedom” movement bloodily repressed by the government in Iran.
The death of the young woman on September 16, 2022, three days after her arrest, led to months of large-scale demonstrations against Iranian political and religious leaders, whose repression caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.
“While the Nobel is being held at the same time, the Iranian authorities have never been so mobilized to prevent the families of the victims from speaking to the international community,” said Mr. Ardakani.
“We feel that the authorities are nervous about any expression of support from the international community,” she also told AFP.
Asked by AFP, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not react on Saturday.
Last year, France publicly demonstrated its support for the demonstrations in Iran, recalling its commitment to respect for human rights and women’s rights and condemning the bloody repression of the protests.
“The brutal murder of Dina Mahsa Amini marked a turning point,” underlined the President of Parliament when announcing the prize last October.
“The slogan “Woman Life Freedom” has become a rallying cry for all those who defend equality, dignity and freedom in Iran,” she also said.
On November 23, the European Parliament condemned Iran’s attacks against women, including the “brutal murders” of women including that of Mahsa Amini.
In a non-binding resolution adopted by 516 votes in favor, 4 against and 27 abstentions, he “strongly condemned the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran and the brutal murders of women perpetrated by the Iranian authorities, including the winner of the Sakharov Prize 2023, Mahsa Amini”.
MEPs also called for the “immediate release of all victims of arbitrary detention and human rights defenders”, notably Nargès Mohammadi, 2023 Nobel Peace Prize winner.