Iranian writer and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has been awarded the prestigious PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, which is given to honor writers who are political prisoners.
Mohammadi’s husband, journalist and activist Taghi Rahmani, will accept the prize on her behalf at the organization’s annual literary gala in New York on May 18, the open expression advocacy group PEN America said in a statement on May 15.
“Narges Mohammadi inspires awe across the world for her unflinching courage and resistance to the Iranian government’s determined campaign to silence her,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said. “The sacrifices that she and her family have made are heartbreaking. She is a beacon for free expression in one of the most harsh places in the world for writers, journalists, and artists.”
The PEN/Barbey prize is given annually to writers persecuted for their work.
The 51-year-old Mohammadi has a long history of imprisonment and harsh punishment, including torture and long periods in solitary confinement. She is currently serving a 16-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison on charges of “spreading anti-state propaganda” and defamation.
Earlier in May, the activist was among three imprisoned Iranian women to receive the United Nations’ World Press Freedom Prize.