Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi's family announced on Monday that she has started a hunger strike in her Iranian prison to protest restrictions to medical care for herself and other prisoners, as well as the need for women to wear the headscarf in the Islamic Republic.
Mohammadi, a 51-year-old veteran rights activist who is being imprisoned at Tehran's Evin prison, won the Nobel Prize in October "for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran."
“Narges Mohammadi, today, through a message from Evin Prison, has informed her family that she started a hunger strike several hours ago. We are concerned about Narges Mohammadi’s physical condition and health,” her family said in a statement.
The hijab, a head covering that has been required for women in public areas since soon after Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, is something that Muhammadi has refused to wear under any circumstance.
In response, prison officials have declined to treat Mohammadi, who has lung and heart issues, at a hospital outside of Evin.
According to the statement, she was in "urgent" need of medical treatment outside of prison.
“Narges went on a hunger strike today in protesting two things: The Islamic Republic’s policy of delaying and neglecting medical care for sick inmates… (and) the policy of ‘mandatory hijab’ for Iranian women,” the statement said.
“The Islamic repuRepublic responsible for anything that happens to our beloved Narges,” it said. “It’s been a week now that they are refusing to give her the medical aid she needs.”
Since her initial detention 22 years ago, Mohammadi has been in and out of jail for the majority of the last 20 years due to her advocacy for human rights in Iran.
Her most recent incarceration began in November 2021, and it has been eight years since she last saw her children, who are currently living in France.