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Monday, June 14, 2004

  • "Democracy is Not Going to Be Given Through Cluster Bombs"–An Hour with 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi

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    This past weekend, Iran’s judiciary barred human rights lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi from representing the family of Iranian-born Montreal photojournalist Zahra Kazemi.

    Kazemi was arrested in June 2003 for taking photographs outside Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. She died in hospital on July 10, 2003 from a brain hemorrhage caused by a blow to the head. Iranian authorities said Ebadi’s name did not figure in the list of approved lawyers on a summons for the next hearing in the case.

    Today we spend the hour with Judge Shirin Ebadi talking about human rights, Iran, Iraq and Islam. A graduate of Tehran University, Ebadi was one of Iran’s first female judges in 1975. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, she was forced to resign when she was told she could no longer serve on the bench because she was a woman.

    She went on to establish a law practice representing political dissidents, Iranian women and the families of artists and intellectuals killed by the government. In 2000, she was thrown in prison for representing relatives of students killed by pro-regime vigilantes. In addition to her work as a lawyer, she has also written 11 books on human rights and on family law setting out the rights of children.