Iranian authorities close Shirin Ebadi’s office

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Iranian authorities close Shirin Ebadi’s office

Postby BritishBahai » Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:10 pm

Quick summary for those of you who are new to this:
Shirin Ebadi (pictured above) won the nobel peace prize in 2003. She is a human rights activist. She is not a Bahai. The following article (below) describes how her office in Tehran (Iran's capital city) has been illegally raided... most probably because she is currently working on a particular case: the arrest and imprisonment of the 7 Bahais in Iran which occured back in May 2008. And we all know that the Iranian government employs devious tactics to harass the Bahais living in Iran. So by closing down the office, it is hoped that it somehow stunts any progress made for the poor Bahais who are currently in prison (because under Iranian law, Bahais are classified as "unprotected infidels with no legal rights", thus they do not have access to any legal representation).
-BritishBahai, Sun 21st Dec 2008.


The following article has been copied and pasted from here: ... 3EHX_wgNsg

Iran police shut down Nobel laureate's office


TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian police on Sunday shut down the office of a human rights centre headed by Nobel peace laureate and lawyer Shirin Ebadi on Sunday, in a sign of a toughening crackdown against rights campaigners.

"They have sealed off the office and are telling us to leave the premises without resistance," the deputy head of Ebadi's Human Rights Defenders Centre, Narges Mohammadi, told AFP. "We have no choice but to leave."

Ebadi, who won the Nobel peace prize in 2003 for her campaigning, was in the office at the time of the raid and condemned the police action but vowed that human rights advocates in Iran would be unfazed.

"Shutting down the office without a warrant is illegal and we will protest," she told AFP.

The semi-official Mehr news agency said the centre's closure was based on a judicial decision taken because it did not have an interior ministry permit to conduct its activities.

Political parties and associations must have such a permit to be legally recognised in Iran.

Mohammadi said dozens of policemen had gathered outside the centre's office in northwest Tehran and that the officials had not "shown a judicial warrant but only provided the number of a warrant."

She said uniformed and plain-clothes police had raided the office and made an inventory of its contents, and that some had insulted members of the centre.

The closure marks a renewed crackdown on rights campaigners by the Islamic republic, which Ebadi's group accuses of "systematically violating" human rights in Iran.

"Obviously such a move does not have a positive message for other rights activists in Iran, but my colleagues and I will fulfil our duties under any circumstances," Ebadi said.

The group had been scheduled to hold a belated celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights on December 10. That very day, a woman rights campaigner was prevented by the authorities from leaving Iran to receive a prize in Italy and her passport seized.

Founded by five prominent lawyers and headed by Ebadi, the group is a vocal critic of the human rights situation in Iran and has defended scores of prisoners of conscience, including high-profile dissidents and student activists.

In an annual report in May, Ebadi's group complained that "freedom of expression and freedom of circulating information have further declined" since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to office in August 2005.

"The lack of a real and effective observance of human rights deepens the gap between the people and the government and breaks the pillars of peace, stability and development in the country," it warned at the time.

On Human Rights Day, Ebadi delivered a speech in Geneva calling for non-governmental organisations to be given a greater role in the UN's Human Rights Council and other bodies.

The group holds frequent meetings on what it deems to be human rights violations. At one recent gathering, it renewed calls on Iran to stop executing people convicted of offences committed when they were minors.

In November, Ebadi criticised Iran's new Islamic penal code, saying it remained unfair to women and used an "incorrect" interpretation of Islam.

In April, she said she had received death threats pinned to the door of her office building, warning her to "watch your tongue."

Ahmadinejad subsequently ordered that Ebadi be protected and that the threats be investigated.

In 1974, Ebadi emerged as the first female judge in Iran, but after the 1979 Islamic revolution, the government decided that women were unfit to serve as judges.

She chose to become a lawyer and devoted herself to human rights, women and children.

Ebadi and her colleagues also represent the family of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died while in custody in 2003 after being detained for photographing a demonstration outside a Tehran prison.
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"

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