“I would have liked to speak here on behalf of all the women in my country,” explained Amini’s mother. “We were denied this opportunity in violation of all legal and human norms,” the letter continued. The Iranian authorities prevented Amini’s parents and her brother from leaving Iran on Saturday despite having a valid visa and confiscated their passports.

“This treatment is another example of what the people of Iran experience every day,” said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola. Mahsa Amini died for women’s rights and freedom in her country, Metsola continued. “This year’s Sakharov Prize is a tribute to all the courageous women in Iran.”

The 22-year-old Amini died in September 2022 after being arrested for allegedly wearing a headscarf that was too loose. According to her family, she died after being mistreated by the moral police. The Iranian authorities reject this.

Amini’s death sparked an unprecedented protest movement under the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom.” The Iranian security forces cracked down on the protests. Hundreds of people died and, according to the human rights organization Amnesty International, more than 22,000 people were arrested.