Courage Award presented to six brave and selfless women at the Italian Parliament
Courage Award was presented to six brave and selfless women at the Italian Parliament.
On Thursday, May 11, 2023, a ceremony honoring six selfless and courageous women was held in the Italian Parliament in the presence of Fabio Rampelli, the Vice President of the Parliament.
Ms. Antonella Sennori, one of the European Women’s Network directors, sponsored the event. She began by introducing the six courageous women who had been actively involved in political and social activities in Italy for years and were recognized by this network as deserving of the Courage Award.
The European Women’s Network has over ten years of experience in social, cultural, and human rights activities. It is affiliated with the Forza Italia party in Italy. This year, the network selected six women for the award, four of whom are Italian, one is Ukrainian, and the other is Ms. Shahrzad Sholeh, the director of the Iranian Women’s Democratic Association in Italy and a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
Ms. Shahrzad Sholeh was nominated to receive the Courage Award due to her activities in the field of human rights, particularly her advocacy for the rights of oppressed women in Iran under the clerical regime’s rule.
Mr. Rampelli, the Vice President of the Italian Parliament, expressed his delight in holding this session in the Italian Parliament and commended the social, political, and medical activities of these selected women.
During the ceremony, each woman described some aspects of their activities.
Ms. Shahrzad Sholeh, the director of the Iranian Women’s Democratic Association in Italy and a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, emphasized the activities of the Iranian Women’s Democratic Association in Italy during the Iranian people’s nationwide uprising in 2022-2023.
In her speech, she said, “I was 17 years old when I began my political activities in Iran with the PMOI/MEK, and due to the threats I faced, my family sent me to Italy. As soon as I arrived here, I continued my activities and have been actively involved in women’s and human rights for the past four decades.
After the start of the uprising, we continued to support the resistance and the uprising, and my daughter, who was born here and has never seen Iran, stands beside me. On my left side, there is a woman whose father was killed under torture in Khomeini’s prison. We are the voice of the voiceless.
We represent the voice of 120,000 who laid down their lives for the freedom of Iran. This criminal regime executed 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 within three months and continues its repression. In the past six months, as we have witnessed, the regime has shown no mercy even towards teenagers and children as young as 8, 10, and 12 years old, and it has killed them all.
We have been trying to be the supporters and the voice of the voiceless, to convey their voices to the world.
I want to speak about a courageous woman in Iran who the mullahs’ regime has imprisoned for the past 14 years. Her crime is seeking justice for her four siblings killed under the clerical regime. She has not even had a single day of leave: Maryam Akbari Monfared.
I dedicate this award to this woman and to the women of the Iranian Resistance who are at Ashraf-3 (in Albania). There are more than 3,000 fighters in this place, of which one thousand are women. They are courageous women who have sacrificed everything for the cause of liberating Iran.
This award does not belong to me but to these brave women. I appreciate you for presenting me with this Courage Award. Thank you.