Iran Prohibits Mahsa Amini’s Kin from Attending EU Human Rights Award Ceremony

by Gabriel Martinez
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Mahsa Amini

The Iranian government has imposed travel restrictions on the family of the late Mahsa Amini, preventing them from attending a ceremony to accept the European Union’s foremost human rights award on her behalf, as reported by a human rights monitoring group. Amini’s demise in police custody last year ignited widespread demonstrations throughout Iran.

According to HRANA, a U.S.-based civil rights organization, on Saturday, Iranian officials denied permission for Amini’s father, Amjad, and her two brothers to travel to Strasbourg, France, to accept the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

It is understood that only the family’s attorney, Saleh Nikbakht, is permitted to travel to accept the award on the family’s behalf.

Named after the Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, the EU prize was established in 1988. It recognizes those who champion human rights and fundamental freedoms and represents the European Union’s highest acknowledgment of human rights advocacy, according to the EU Parliament.

Mahsa Amini Named as a Finalist for EU’s Foremost Human Rights Award

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, was posthumously awarded the prize earlier in September. She passed away following her detention by Iran’s morality police for an alleged infraction of the nation’s stringent hijab law, which mandates women to fully cover their hair and bodies. Her death catalyzed extensive protests, which evolved into broader demands for the toppling of Iran’s theocratic regime.

In the wake of Amini’s death, Iranian women have been at the forefront of these protests, with many choosing to defy the compulsory hijab rule.

The Iranian authorities responded with a severe crackdown, resulting in over 500 fatalities and the arrest of nearly 20,000 people, as per Iranian human rights groups. The government claims that many detainees have been released or received reduced sentences. The protests have significantly subsided earlier this year.

Eight individuals have been executed in Iran in relation to these protests, convicted of assaulting security personnel. Human rights groups have criticized the trials as secretive and unfair, alleging the accused were denied proper defense. Iran refutes these allegations.

In a related historical note, Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi jointly received the same award in 2012.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mahsa Amini

Why were Mahsa Amini’s family members banned from traveling to receive the EU human rights prize?

Iranian authorities imposed travel restrictions on Mahsa Amini’s family, preventing them from attending the ceremony in Strasbourg, France, to accept the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This decision was reported by the U.S.-based civil rights group HRANA.

What is the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought?

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established by the European Union in 1988. It is awarded to individuals or groups who significantly contribute to the fight for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Who was Mahsa Amini and why is her case significant?

Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who died in 2022 after being detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the country’s strict hijab law. Her death sparked widespread protests across Iran, calling for changes in the regime and women’s rights.

What was the response of the Iranian authorities to the protests following Amini’s death?

Following Amini’s death, the Iranian government initiated a heavy crackdown on the protestors. Over 500 people were killed, and nearly 20,000 were arrested, according to human rights activists. The government has stated that many of those detained have been released or given reduced sentences.

Have others from Iran received the Sakharov Prize before?

Yes, in 2012, Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi jointly received the Sakharov Prize for their efforts in advocating for human rights in Iran.

More about Mahsa Amini

  • [Iran Bans Mahsa Amini’s Family from EU Prize Ceremony](Provide the link here)
  • [Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought](Provide the link here)
  • [Mahsa Amini: Her Life and Impact](Provide the link here)
  • [Iranian Protests and Crackdowns Following Amini’s Death](Provide the link here)
  • [Previous Recipients of the Sakharov Prize](Provide the link here)

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