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Human Rights in Iran

Talk by Dr Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, in recognition of her courageous work as a lawyer and human rights activist, defending in particular the rights of women, children, and critics of the Iranian regime.She trained as a lawyer in the time of the Shah, and served as a judge before the 1979 revolution (the first female judge ever appointed in Iran), but after the Islamic revolution was prevented from doing so by a ruling that women could not be judges. For many years she was unable to practice as a lawyer at all, but began to do so again in 1992. In the later 90s she represented several victims of injustice, including the families of Darioush Foruhar and Parvaneh Eskandari (murdered by members of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security). After the award of the Nobel prize in 2003, the Iranian regimes response was grudging (in November 2009 Dr Ebadi announced that the prize itself had been removed from a bank security box by regime officials while she was in London). She continued to defend victims of regime oppression, including members of the Bahai faith that the Iranian regime regard as apostates from Islam. In 2008 her offices were attacked and eventually closed down, and threats were made against her daughter, Nargess. But in the time of the Bush administration in the US, she also spoke out against talk of forcing regime change on Iran, and defended Irans right to a civil nuclear programme. At the time of the disputed elections of 2009 Dr Ebadi was outside Iran, and was advised not to return. Since then she has lived abroad, mainly in London.

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