Majid Tavakoli

Jailed Iranian student activist Majod Tavakoli has won the 2013 International Student Peace Prize.

Daneshjoo News reports that Tavakoli was announced as the winner of the biennial prize on Friday, September 21, at a ceremony in Norway.

Tavakoli is currently serving an eight-year sentence in Rejai Shahr Prison and has not been allowed any furlough since his arrest in 2009.

The prize committee has commended Tavakoli’s peaceful activities for free speech and democracy. And the Norwegian Foreign Minister said at the ceremony: “The Student Peace Prize has been awarded to a young and courageous man.”

The actual award ceremony will take place in February of 2013 in Trondheim, Norway.

This is the second time that the prize has gone to a jailed student. In 2001, it was awarded to Min Ko Naing, a Burmese student activist of the “88 Generation” student movement. Naing was released in January of 2012.

Majid Tavakoli, an engineering student at Amir Kabir Industrial University and a member of the student association, was arrested in November of 2009 after giving a speech on the occasion of National Students Day. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and a five-year ban from political activity and travel abroad. He had been charged with “propaganda against the regime and insulting the leader and the president.”

While in jail, another six months was added to his sentence because he published a letter of protest on the occasion of another National Student’s Day.