Thursday, August 10, 2006

IRI Targets Ebadi's Center

................................. Official logo of Ebadi's Center for the Defense of Human Rights. (Source: Wikipedia)

On the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of Iran's Constitutional Revolution, a major human rights organization has been banned by the Iranian government. On August 5th, the Center for the Defense of Human Rights -- Kanoon Modafean Hoghooghe Bashar -- (also known as Defenders of Human Rights Center), co-founded by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, was banned after four years existence.

As usual, Ebadi has had little to say. Offering nothing more than a tiny press release indicating that she will continue with her human rights efforts and a statement about the legality of her organization -- the IRI government announced the ban because the Center does not have a registered permit but Ebadi has responded that "non-governmental organizations that observe the law and do not disrupt public safety do not need a permit. So the... Center does not need authorization". Her problem, sadly, has always been, as she has said herself many times "to work within the law" -- something that is decreasingly practical within a system of laws that simply does not respect the value of human rights.

Notably, one member of the group, Abdolfattah Soltani, was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment exactly one year ago to the day (July 30, 2005) that Akbar Mohammadi was also poisoned to death, of no doubt bogus charges -- he was well-known as the lawyer representing Akbar Ganji and the family of slain photojournalist Zahra Kazemi. Soltani has been refused access to a lawyer and has been held incommunicado on charges stemming from the usual 'insulting the regime,' etc.

Proof that the very laws Ebadi is so keen to follow are in total contrast to the defined aims of her human rights organization.

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