Bahareh Hedayat

Jailed Iranian student activist Bahareh Hedayat has been awarded the first Harald Edelstam Prize for her “outstanding courage and commitment to justice” and for actively working “against the violation of Human Rights in Iran.”

In a statement, the Edelstam Foundation commends Hedayat’s “civic courage” and adds that “she has repeatedly risked her own life and freedom when defending Human Rights.”

The announcement says: “It is tragic that she will not be able to come and receive the prize in Stockholm on the 16th of April, due to the regime’s punishment for her convictions.”

Hedayat, an executive member of the largest student organization in Iran, Tahkim-e Vahdat, was arrested in December of 2009 in the aftermath of the widespread protests against alleged fraud in the presidential elections. She has been sentenced to nine and a half years in jail for “assembly and collusion against the regime” and “insulting the leader and the president.”

The Edelstam Foundation emphasizes that it considers Hedayat “a prisoner of conscience, and in consequence respectfully asks the authorities of the Republic of Iran to set her free.”

The Edelstam Prize is an international honour administered by the Harald Edelstam Foundation and awarded “for outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for one’s beliefs in Defence of Human Rights.”

It is named after the Swedish diplomat and ambassador Harald Edelstam (1913-1989), who during his career acted to “save more than a thousand lives.”