The Human Rights Awards Ceremony was held on March 17th in Geneva. In his absence his colleague Mehran Barati accepted the award. Kayvan Samimi is the managing editor of the banned Nameh monthly, a member of National Council of Peace, a committee formed in 2007, by a call from human rights Nobel laureat, Shirin Ebadi, and in response to increased foreign threats about IRI's nuclear program. Their motto: No to War, Yes to Human Rights. Samimi is serving a six year prison term in the I.R. Iran plus deprivation from political activities for life.
Samimi, who was born in 1948 in Abadan, is also a member of the Committee for Follow-up on Arbitrary Arrests, Committee for Defending Citizen Rights and Committee for Defending Education Rights. He is furthermore co-founder of the Kharabat website, now blocked by authorities. He was among political activists arrested through post-election riots in 2009 and was tortured during interrogation. Samimi was arrested just one day after the presidential election on charges of questioning the official tally and attending protests. Front Line believes that his arrest was directly related to his legitimate work in defence of human rights. On February 2, 2010, Samimi was sentenced to six years in jail plus deprivation from political activities for life. He was found guilty of propaganda against the Islamic regime and collusion for harming national security.
Some see him as a symbol of resistance in prison as he also spent ten years in prison during Shah regime and always fought for democracy and freedom. At the age of 13, he had been arrested for the first time for articles in a school newspaper. After that he was arrested in 1975 due to his political activities, and sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment. During the revolution he was freed with other political prisoners. In 1990 he began to print one of the first democratic magazines called "daricheh goftegu" meaning "Dialogue Vent".
The winners were selected by a special jury comprising the Nobel Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi as chairwomen, the co-founder and principal investigator of the Freedom Rights Project and former executive director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights Aaron Rhodes and the Südwind board member and human rights lawyer Karolina Januszewski.
All winners are unable to attend the award ceremony due to imprisonment and will be represented in his or her absence by their chosen representative, family member or colleague.
The physical token of the award is a metal sculpture designed and made by the well known Iranian sculptor Behruz Heshmat.