Source: Dutch Foreign ministry
The Iranian human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr has won the 2009 Human Rights Defenders Tulip for her courage in championing the human rights of her fellow citizens. Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen will present the award in The Hague on Monday 9 November.
Ms Sadr defends the rights of women in Iran, where she works as a lawyer, journalist and researcher. 'Shadi Sadr is being awarded the Human Rights Defenders Tulip for her exceptional courage, perseverance and work in an environment of concern, where human rights are repeatedly violated,' said Mr Verhagen.
In her work as a lawyer, Ms Sadr defends women and human rights activists. In 2004, she set up Raahi, an organisation that seeks to improve women's rights. Raahi provides free legal assistance, particularly in family law cases, to women in positions of acute difficulty. In addition, Ms Sadr is campaigning to abolish the practice of stoning to death in Iran. To this end, she co-founded the campaign 'Stop Stoning Forever.'
As a journalist, Ms Sadr writes for magazines, newspapers and websites.
She combines these activities by regularly contributing critical articles about legal cases she has handled and about the way in which women are treated. For many years, she has been addressing taboo subjects such as domestic violence and bringing them out into the open.
Ms Sadr's peaceful efforts on behalf of others have incurred a backlash of incidents. She has received personal threats and her phone has been tapped. In 2005, the authorities banned her from leaving the country for a year. In March 2007 she was arrested and imprisoned. During the unrest surrounding the presidential elections in Iran on 12 June this year, she was forcibly arrested and jailed for 11 days.
The award consists of a bronze sculpture of the Human Rights Tulip and a personal prize of EUR10,000. The winner may also submit a proposal for a project to the value of EUR100,000. This will enable Ms Sadr to intensify her work as a human rights defender and extend her network within the Netherlands and the rest of Europe.
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