The 2023 Sakharov human rights prize was awarded to Jina Mahsa Amini and the Jin Jiyan Azadi (Women Life Freedom) Movement at a ceremony in the European Parliament today.
As Iranian security forces prevented the Amini family from leaving the country, Saleh Nikbakht, the family’s lawyer, attended the ceremony on their behalf.
Mozhgan Eftekhari, Jina Mahsa Amini’s mother, conveyed her message at the ceremony through Mr Nikbakht, who read the message to the Parliament:
Ladies and gentlemen!
Thank you to the donors of the precious Sakharov Prize, the symbol of freedom of the European Parliament, and thanks to you all. I would like to be present personally at your special gathering on behalf of my homeland’s women. Unfortunately, they have deprived us of this opportunity by violating all legal and humanitarian norms. Our lawyers, Mr Saleh Nikbakht and Dr Soheila Qadri will be there with you to convey my message on our behalf.
Today, we are here to honour Jina’s memory in Jeanne d’Arc’s homeland and how beautiful and meaningful it is to see these inspiring girls of history coming together after centuries, those who, by their passing, have crossed frontiers and revived people’s desire for emancipation and freedom. Jina means life, the one whose name became the symbol of the struggle and who spread the dream of liberation from her hometown in Kurdistan to the whole of Iran, the Middle East and the world, encouraging millions of women and oppressed people to aspire to freedom.
They took her life unjustly, but they believed that by separating the soul from the body, she will cease to live and to exist. Like Jeanne d’Arc, in the illusion of the oppressors, by burning her body, her dreams burn and fly into the air. They did not understand and still do not that from Jeanne d’Arc, and Jina’s ashes would rise a phoenix-like spirit, invincible and inspiring: the spirit of the age.
These spirits of the ages have now reunited after centuries to promise liberation for the people of the modern era. They herald the realization of essential human values, now crystallized in the progressive slogan of “Woman, life, freedom”; borderless and timeless values: Justice, Freedom, Peace, Coexistence and the Equality of all Human Beings.
Jina’s pain is eternal for me and stays everlasting for the world. I’m sure her name remains a symbol of freedom, along with Jeanne d’Arc. I express the infinite gratitude of my family and myself, and I trust you will stay strong and honoured. I hope that no voice fears to defend freedom.
Jin, Jiyan, Azadi