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Police Raid, Close Offices Of Iran's Nobel Peace Laureate

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."

In an 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 any circumstances."

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.

... Payvand News - 12/21/08 ... --

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