Shirin Ebadi: In the end, the government has only two options. It will either listen to the will of the people, or it will fall.

[Updated 16 May 2010]


 Iranian authorities threaten Shirin Ebadi, human rights activist and Nobel laureate


Shirin Ebadi, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Price laureate (Photo: Reuters)

May 16, 2010
Senior Iranian HR activists call for immediate visit of UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights – An open letter signed by the 2003 Nobel Peace laureate, Shirin Ebadi, and other human rights activists reads as follows: “We, the signatories to this letter, put utmost importance to the situation of human rights in Iran, would regard such visit as a matter of urgency. We would like to have guarantees by the Iranian government to let the Special Rapporteurs on ‘arbitrary detentions’, ‘extrajudicial executions’ and ‘torture’ to visit Iran and carry out investigations on those who have been sentenced to death on political grounds and executed after the disputed presidential elections, those who have received heavy prison terms, those who are charged but are not convicted yet, and those who are still in custody without any charges and submit their report to appropriate authorities.”.

(January 10, 2010): The recent intensification of protests in Iran has been met with more arrests. Among those detained: Shirin Ebadi’s sister. In a telephone interview with Newsweek, Ebadi said, "My sister is not engaged in any political activity. She is a dentist and a professor. The Ministry of Intelligence has clearly stated that they arrested her because of my activities—so that I would stop them."

She also said, "censorship is very strong; civil and political liberties have been taken away; unemployment is very high, and so is official corruption." However, she is "against economic sanctions that hurt the people." For the full interview, click here.

Shirin Ebadi, human rights activist and a Nobel laureate, has been abroad since the night before the Iranian presidential elections in June 2009. The regime has threatened her with deportation should she return. Her husband and other relatives receive daily threats – her sister, a university lecturer, was told to quit her job, otherwise she would be expelled from the university by a ministerial order .

Ebadi, a human rights lawyer who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, continues to be outspoken in her efforts to recruit world pressure against human rights violation in Iran. Some of the harsh measures used by the Iranian authorities to pressure Ebadi and her family include freezing all her assets in Iranian banks, including the prize money, and banning her spouse from leaving Iran. The Nobel Price medal was taken from her safety deposit box in November, but returned a month later. The Iranian authorities have closed the Defenders of Human Rights Center of which she was co-founder.

In telephone and radio interviews, Ebadi has maintained that these measures will not prevent her from continuing her activities for promoting the rights of the Iranian citizens.

Quotes from Shirin Ebadi:
No one should be allowed to impose his personal view regarding religion on others by force, oppression, or pressure.