Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Iran's Nobel Laureate : Shirin Ebadi

Sister Of Iran's Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi Arrested
30.12.2009 07:17

The sister of 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has been arrested by Iranian authorities, among 10 new arrests reported by the opposition on December 29.

Nushin Ebadi was detained at her home on December 28.

Shirin Ebadi told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that authorities from the Ministry of Information had threatened her sister and told her that she herself must give up her human rights work.

"When my sister was summoned [earlier] by the Ministry of Information, she was told that she has to move out of her house,” Shirin Ebadi told Radio Farda by phone. “She has a separate house, but it is in the same complex where I am living. And they told her if she doesn’t move, and if I continue working at my job, she will be arrested.”

“At first, I thought this was a joke. But unfortunately, it became clear to me that it was not a joke,” Ebadi said. “And on Monday [December 28] at 9 p.m., four people came to my sister’s house -- one of them was my previous interrogator, who had threatened to make an arrest -- and then she was arrested and taken away."

Ebadi said she does not know why her sister has been targeted.

"Whether I have done good or bad, I am responsible for it,” she said.

“My sister has neither participated in [the recent] Ashura demonstrations nor in previous demonstrations,” she continued. “Basically, fortunately or unfortunately, she is not involved in any human rights or social activities.”

A prominent journalist, Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, and a women's rights activist, Mansoureh Shojaee, were also reportedly detained the same night as Nushin Ebadi.

The developments come after at least eight people were killed in clashes between opposition protesters and security forces on December 27, the worst unrest in months.


Who is Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi (شیرین عبادی - Širin Ebâdi; born 21 June 1947) is an Iranian lawyer, human rights activist and founder of Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran. On October 10, 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's, children's, and refugee rights. She was the first ever Iranian, and the first Muslim woman to have received the prize.

In 2009, Ebadi's award was allegedly confiscated by Iranian authorities, though this was later denied by the Iranian government. If true, she would be the first person in the history of the Nobel Prize whose award has been forcibly seized by state authorities(source: wikipedia).

Ebadi was born in Hamadan, Iran. Her father, Mohammad Ali Ebadi, was the city's chief notary public and professor of commercial law. The family moved to Tehran in 1948.

She was admitted to the law department University of Tehran in 1965 and upon graduation in 1969 passed the qualification exams to become a judge. After a six-month internship period, she officially started her judging career in March 1969. She continued her studies in University of Tehran in the meanwhile and received a master's degree in law in 1971. In 1975, she became the first woman to preside over a legislative court.

Following the Iranian revolution in 1979, conservative clerics insisted that Islam prohibits women from becoming judges and Ebadi was demoted to a secretarial position at the branch where she had previously presided. She and other female judges protested and were assigned to the slightly higher position of "law expert." She eventually requested early retirement as the situation remained unchanged.

As her applications were repeatedly rejected, Ebadi was not able to practice as a lawyer until 1993, while she already had a law office permit. She used this free time to write books and many articles in Iranian periodicals, which made her widely known.

On October 10, 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous efforts for democracy and human rights, especially for the rights of women and children. The selection committee praised her as a "courageous person" who "has never heeded the threat to her own safety". Now she travels abroad lecturing in the West. She is against a policy of forced regime change. Her husband, Javad Tavassolian, was an advisor to President Khatami.

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