Iran Human RightsNobel prize winner accuses Iranian justice of obstruction

Nobel prize winner accuses Iranian justice of obstruction

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AFP: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi accused Iran’s hardline judiciary on Monday of doing all it could to prevent human rights lawyers from defending political prisoners.
At a news conference in Tehran, Ebadi said: “Judge and lawyer are each one wing of the angel of justice, but one of them has been amputed.” AFP

TEHRAN – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi accused Iran’s hardline judiciary on Monday of doing all it could to prevent human rights lawyers from defending political prisoners.

At a news conference in Tehran, Ebadi said: “Judge and lawyer are each one wing of the angel of justice, but one of them has been amputed.”

Ebadi, who heads a group of Iranian human rights lawyers, said: “Lawyers have been in and out of jail. I have also been in prison. They keep summonsing me here and there.

“I have been subject to threats for 10 years,” she said, adding that she had again received a summons and “the judge himself did not know why”.

Ebadi said those detained by the legal authorities faced an impossible task in choosing a human rights lawyer to defend them.

“How can they decide which lawyer can appear you in a case and which cannot?” she asked, giving the example of Roozbeh Mir-Ebrahimi, arrested last autumn in a crackdown on journalists and freed at the end of 2004.

Standing next to her, Mir-Ebrahimi told the press conference: “My family asked Ebadi and Mohammad Seifzadeh to defend me but I was told in prison that with the charge against me I risked 15 years in prison, and that with these (lawyers) I would receive 25 years.

“My interrogator forced me to reject them and said that they were only serving their own interests.”

Ebadi’s group, the Defenders of Human Rights Center, said the ultra-conservative judicial authorities were preparing a law to end the independence of the bar.

Instead it wanted to set up a committee, made up largely of magistrates in the pay of the justice department to take control of who would be allowed to practise.

The lawyers’ group said in a statement that the law would have a “destructive effect on the independence of lawyers and on the rights of people to defend themselves”.

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