Iran Human RightsIran bans Nobel Laureate Ebadi's rights group

Iran bans Nobel Laureate Ebadi’s rights group

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AFP: Iran has declared as “illegal” a human rights group headed by Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and vowed to prosecute its continued activities, local media reported Saturday. TEHRAN, Aug 5, 2006 (AFP) – Iran has declared as “illegal” a human rights group headed by Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and vowed to prosecute its continued activities, local media reported Saturday.

“As the group calling itself ‘Defenders of Human Rights Center’ has not obtained a permit from the interior ministry, its activities are illegal and the violators of this decision will be prosecuted,” interior ministry was quoted as saying by the centrist Shargh newspaper.

But Ebadi, quoting Iran’s constitution, responded that her center did not require a permit.

“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”.

She added the group had nonetheless applied for a permit, which the interior ministry would not issue and would not explain why it refused.

“We will protest the interior ministry decision and we will try all legal options to obtain our rights,” Ebadi said, adding that this “move is not in Iran’s national interest”.

Formed by six prominent lawyers and headed by Ebadi, the group has been an active advocate of human and minority rights in the Islamic republic for the past four years.

Defending high-profile dissidents and prisoners of conscience, the group usually criticises the Islamic regime for what it sees as “violations of human rights”.

One of the center’s members, Abdolfattah Soltani, has been sentenced to five years in jail on charges of disclosing confidential information and opposing the regime.

Soltani represented journalist Akbar Ganji as well as the family of the Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi, who was killed in custody in 2003. Ebadi’s group on Tuesday demanded an independent probe into the “suspicious” death of a jailed dissident, student activist Akbar Mohammadi, who died in prison on Sunday following a hunger strike.

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