Jina Mahsa Amini and Iranian women protest movement win the 2023 Sakharov Prize  

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Jina Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom movement are laureates of the 2023 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought © EPA-EFE/WAEL HAMZEH  

MEPs have awarded the 2023 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Jina Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement in Iran.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola announced the 2023 laureate in the Strasbourg plenary chamber on Thursday, following a decision by Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (President Metsola and political groups’ leaders).

President Metsola declared: ʺOn 16 September we marked one year since the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini in Iran. The European Parliament proudly stands with the brave and defiant who continue to fight for equality, dignity and freedom in Iran. We stand with those who, even from prison, continue to keep Women, Life and Freedom alive. By choosing them as laureates for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2023, this House remembers their struggle and continues to honour all those who have paid the ultimate price for liberty.ʺ

Jina Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman. She was arrested by police in Tehran on 13 September 2022 for allegedly ignoring Iran’s strict veiling laws, and died in a Tehran hospital three days later following physical abuse while in custody.

Her death sparked massive women-led protests in Iran. Under the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom”, they have been protesting against the hijab law and other discriminatory laws.

Following the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on these protests, the European Parliament has repeatedly condemned the dire human rights situation in the country.

In October 2022, MEPs called for sanctions against Iranian officials involved in both Jina Mahsa Amini’s death and the regime’s repression, and expressed their strong support for the peaceful protest movement in Iran.

In January 2023, MEPs demanded more sanctions against the Iranian regime and for the EU to place the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on its terrorist list.

Read more about the other Sakharov Prize finalists in 2023 here.

Next steps

The award ceremony will take place on 12 December 2023 in the European Parliament’s hemicycle in Strasbourg.


The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and the prize money is 50 000 euros.

Last year, Parliament awarded the prize to the brave people of Ukraine, represented by their President, elected leaders, and civil society.