Iranian Police Raid and Close Offices of Human Rights Centre Led by Shirin Ebadi

Posted on Categories Human Rights, Speakers at Marquette

Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2003, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for Mission Week here in February.  The story of her life is an inspiring one. She was the first woman to serve as a judge in Iran, but was removed from her post after the Iranian revolution in 1979, because she is a woman and the revolutionaries thought women should not be judges. In 1992, she was able to obtain a license to practice law, and she has fought for freedom of expression, the rights of women and children, and other human rights.  

The offices of her Human Rights Defender Center in Tehran were raided and closed by Iranian police today, on order of the judiciary:

In a statement, the judiciary said it had ordered the closure of the Human Rights Defenders Centre in Tehran because it did not have the required legal permits, the Mehr news agency reported.

It had also been “promoting illegal activities such as issuing statements on different occasions, sending letters to domestic and foreign organisations, holding press conferences, meetings and conferences” which created an atmosphere “of media publicity against the establishment in recent years”, the statement added.

An AP article reports that the center was banned last year but had continued to operate.  In that article, Ebadi states in that article that her group was planning on Sunday to honor Taqi Rahwani, who was imprisoned for 17 years after the Iranian revolution, and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Human Rights Day (which passed on December 10th).

One thought on “Iranian Police Raid and Close Offices of Human Rights Centre Led by Shirin Ebadi”

  1. On April 29, 2008, an article in The Nation (“Shirin Ebadi: Don’t Attack Iran”) discusses Dr. Ebadi’s warning that U.S. “rhetoric about regime change” can only make relations worse. I agree with her and I hope that a new administration will be more sensitive in its foreign policy with the middle east in general and Iran in particular. In 2002, I had the opportunity to listen to a lecture by Professor Menashri from Tel Aviv University, a highly respected Iranian expert who was born and raised in Iran before he moved to Israel. Of course, the situation with Iran was quite different in those days. Professor Menashri spoke with optimism of a popular movement against the Iranian government. He talked about large student protests and growing public willingness to criticize the government. However, much has changed since that speech. The growing popular resistance has been effectively quashed by U.S. regional policy. Many Iranians are still unhappy living under a fundamentalist regime and many wish to enjoy many aspects of western culture (music, clothes, movies, etc.). Yet, Iranians want to effect their own change — they do not want the U.S. to impose change. The U.S.’s actions in Iraq and all of our macho, cowboy talk have forced Iranians to choose between the idea of U.S.-imposed change or the status quo. President Ahmadinejad should not have the support that he currently has in Iran. He was elected on a platform of repairing the Iranian economy and liberalizing law, yet he has not performed well on either of these issues. Rather, Iranians support him because he has stood up to the United States in a way that no other leader of a middle eastern country has been willing to do in recent history. Clearly, Dr. Ebasi is evidence that there are still Iranians who are willing to stand up for change, but whether the popular opposition will be rekindled with a more sensitive U.S. approach to foreign policy remains to be seen. I am very hopeful that the new U.S. administration will be more effective in this regard.

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