New York, January 13, 2005: Nobel Peace Prize winner and prominent activist, lawyer Shirin Ebadi was summoned to appear before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran today. According to a statement she gave to the AFP news agency she was given no explanation for the summons, but she was told that she would be arrested if she did not present herself by Sunday, January 16.
Human Rights First decries this groundless harassment of Iran's most internationally renowned human rights activist.
"It is not coincidental that this summons should occur the day after EU representatives resumed trade talks with the Iranian government," commented Neil Hicks, Director of International Programs at Human Rights First. "Powerful factions within the government are determined that there should be no normalization of relations between Iran and the West. They know that these kinds of provocations will create problems. Summoning Ms. Ebadi demonstrates again that no one who speaks out on human rights in Iran is immune from arbitrary repression and intimidation by the authorities."
The repression to which reformists and human rights activist have been subjected for the past five years in Iran continues to intensify. The Iranian government should lift its restrictions on non-violent government critics and on the expression of independent points of view. Those imprisoned for their opinions like lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan and investigative journalist, Akbar Ganji should be released from prison. Foreign government engaged in negotiations with the Iranian government on trade or other issues should take every opportunity to remind the Iranian authorities of their obligation to end violations of internationally recognized human rights standards.
For the past quarter century, Human Rights First (the new name of Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) has worked in the United States and abroad to create a secure and humane world by advancing justice, human dignity and respect for the rule of law. We support human rights activists who fight for basic freedoms and peaceful change at the local level; protect refugees in flight from persecution and repression; help build a strong international system of justice and accountability; and make sure human rights laws and principles are enforced in the United States and abroad.
Contact: Neil Hicks (212) 845-5248, Tioka Tokedira, (212) 845-5246 / TokediraT@HumanRightsFirst.org
... Payvand News - 1/14/05 ... --