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Ahadi, Mina

Human rights activist, chairwoman of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims


Photo: Evelin Frerk

Mina Ahadi, born in 1956 in Abhar (Iran), studied medicine at the University of Tabriz and was active in the left-wing opposition against the Shah. When the revolution in Iran failed, Islamists seized power, and Khomeini imposed compulsory headscarves, Mina Ahadi organized protests and demonstrations.

As a political activist critical of the regime she was no longer allowed to continue her studies and began working in a factory. At the end of 1980 the secret police searched her apartment while she was at work. Her husband and five guests were arrested and executed shortly afterwards. Mina Ahadi escaped.

Wanted for her political activities and later sentenced to death in absentia, Mina Ahadi initially lived underground for eight months (in the middle of Tehran). In 1981 she fled to Iranian Kurdistan. After ten years of fighting in Kurdistan she fled to Vienna in 1990. Mina Ahadi now lives in Cologne, where she settled in 1996.

In 2001 Mina Ahadi founded the International Committee Against Stoning, a network of 200 international organizations, and in 2004 she founded the International Committee Against Executions. As coordinator and spokesperson for both committees she worked with women's and human rights organizations worldwide, saving the lives of many people sentenced to death (including by stoning). The last remarkable case of this kind was the campaign to save the young Iranian woman Nazanin Fatehi, which Mina Ahadi organized with the Canadian human rights activist and former Vice Miss World Nazanin Afshin-Jam.

In the course of this campaign, in 2006, Mina Ahadi first collaborated with the Giordano Bruno Stiftung, which later, in close consultation with her, Arzu Toker, and other ex-Muslims, designed the campaign "Wir haben abschworen!" (a campaign on raising awareness for ex-Muslims). At the founding meeting of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in January 2007, Mina Ahadi was elected first chairwoman of the association. Since the publication of this information in February 2007, Mina Ahadi has been under police protection many times. In order to continue her important human rights work, the Giordano Bruno Stiftung supports Mina Ahadi with a scholarship.


Mina Ahadi was awarded the Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year by the British National Secular Society in October 2007.


Mina Ahadi, with Sina Vogt: Ich habe abgeschworen. Heyne-Verlag, München 2008, (autobiography).