TEHRAN -- Iranian security forces have raided and closed
the Tehran office of the human rights center run by 2003 Nobel Peace Prize
laureate Shirin Ebadi.
In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Narges Mohammadi, the deputy head of
the Human Rights Defenders Center, said 10 to 15 uniformed and plainclothes
security agents entered the watchdog's office in northwest Tehran as members,
including Ebadi herself, were preparing to belatedly commemorate the 60th
anniversary of Human Rights Day on December 10.
"I asked them to show their legal warrants," Mohammadi told RFE/RL, "but they
declined to show any authorization. Now, there are 10 to 15 agents in the
building, and they are filming us."
Mohammadi said 200 to 300 guests had been invited to the celebration but that
they had been barred from entering.
"This is an illegal act," she said. "They had no kind of authorization of any
kind. They are sealing the office, and our resistance is useless."
interview with the French news agency AFP, Ebadi condemned the crackdown
but vowed that human rights advocates in Iran would be unfazed.
"Shutting down the office without a warrant is illegal, and we will protest,"
she said. "Obviously, such a move does not have a positive message for other
rights activists in Iran, but my colleagues and I will fulfill our duties under
Ebadi used a UN forum in Geneva on Human Rights Day to condemn hard-liners in
power in some Muslim countries and rulers of the world's last communist states
as abusers of human rights. She said Muslim dictatorships use religion to
underpin their own power.
Copyright (c) 2008 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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