Iranian authorities have banned members of the late Mahsa Amini’s family from traveling to receive the European Union’s top human rights prize on her behalf, a civil rights monitor reports. Amini’s death while in police custody in 2022 sparked nationwide protests that rocked the Islamic Republic.
The US-based HRANA says authorities have refused to allow Amini’s father, Amjad, and two of her brothers to fly out to Strasbourg, France, to receive the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Reports say only the family’s lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, will be able to travel to receive the award on their behalf.
The EU award, named for Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is “the highest tribute paid by the European Union to human rights work,” as per the EU Parliament website.
Mahsa Amini was granted the prize posthumously in September. The 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman died after Iran’s morality police arrested her for allegedly violating the country’s strict headscarf law that forced women to cover their hair and entire body. Her death led to massive protests that quickly escalated into calls to overthrow Iran’s clerical rulers.