The very first Harald Edelstam Defence of Human Rights Award was given to jailed Iranian student activist Bahareh Hedayat on Monday in Stockholm.
Daneshjoo News reports that the prize was awarded by Harald Edelstam’s granddaughter, Caroline Edelstam, chair of the international Edelstam Prize jury and Vice President of the Harald Edelstam Foundation, who said during the ceremony: “Bahareh has acted in my grandfather’s spirit and shown a great amount of civic courage, which we hope can inspire others. It is impressive that so many brave persons, aware of the risks they take, still stubbornly are willing to act in order to defend people who are victims of the violations of human rights. It gives us hope for a better world where we all can enjoy equal and human rights.”
Parvin Ardalan, who accepted the prize on behalf of the jailed activist, spoke of Hedayat’s role in linking the student movement in Iran with the women’s movement, together with other jailed female student activists such as Mehdieh Golroo, Shabnam Madadzadeh, Atefeh Nabavi and Fereshteh Shirazi.
Hedayat was arrested in the post-election crackdown on protesters in 2009 and charged with “propaganda against the regime for her interviews with the foreign press, insulting the Leader (Vali Faqih), insulting the President, acting against national security by participating in social and public gatherings, and helping organize group protests.” She has been sentenced to nine and a half years in jail.
The Harald Edelstam Prize, according to the Edelstam Foundation, is “awarded for outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for one’s beliefs in the Defence of Human Rights” and it was established in the memory of the Swedish ambassador who “distinguished himself as diplomat by his professional competence, his bravery and his civic courage in the fight for Human Rights.”