Manouchehr Bakhtiari and his son Pouya

Father of Slain Protester Wins International Human Rights Award

Friday, 12/08/2023

An Iranian activist who has campaigned for justice for victims of the Islamic Republic since the death of his son in a protest has been given an international human rights award.

Manouchehr Bakhtiari lost his 27-year-old son Pouya during the November 2019 protests in Iran. Pouya was shot and killed by security forces, according to the family.

Bakhtiari has now been awarded the 2023 Human Rights Prize of the International Center for Human Rights in Canada (ICHR).

He has been a steadfast advocate for accountability against the regime since Pouya’s death, demanding justice for his son and many other protestors allegedly killed by government agents and IRGC officers during political demonstrations.

The ICHR praised Bakhtiari for his resilience in the fight for freedom, emphasizing his inspirational impact on thousands in Iran aspiring for a better future.

The authorities have subjected Bakhtiari to harsh measures in response to his campaign for justice. He was detained at his home Tehran in 2021 and beaten by members of the security forces. A subsequent sentence from the Revolutionary Court included two years and six months of internal exile, a two-year travel ban, and an initial three years and six months prison term. In November, Bakhtiari received an additional six-month prison sentence for "insulting the leader," as confirmed by the Qazvin Revolutionary Court.

The award ceremony, held in Toronto, featured Canadian MP Mellisa Lantsman and ICHR Director Ardeshir Zarezadeh presenting the prize to Bahman Sadeghi Nour, a relative of the Bakhtiari family. The ICHR traditionally bestows its annual award on individuals who risk their lives for human rights, marking the occasion of Universal Human Rights Day.

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