Iranian human rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize today for her campaigns promoting democracy in Iran and the rights of women and children. Ebadi was Iran’s first female judge but was was forced to resign after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
After learning she won, Ebadi said, “I’m a Muslim, so you can be a Muslim and support democracy. It’s very good for human rights in Iran, especially for children’s rights in Iran. I hope I can be useful.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement, “As a lawyer, judge, lecturer, writer and activist, she has spoken out clearly and strongly in her country, Iran, and far beyond its borders.”
Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark came under attack last night in a debate between the nine Democratic presidential candidates for shifting positions on the war in Iraq and for supporting President Bush’s tax cuts.
Clark responded by saying it was “very, very clear” what his position on Iraq always was. He said, “I would never have voted for war. The war was an unnecessary war, it was an elective war, and it’s been a huge strategic mistake for this country.”
A CNN/USA Today poll released Thursday, found Clark leading all other Democrats followed by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Clark polled at 21 percent, Dean was at 16 percent.
As part of newly launched public relations campaign to increase support for U.S. policy in Iraq, President Bush, spoke in New Hampshire yesterday to urge Americans to be more upbeat about Iraq where he said things were going “a lot better than you probably think.”
The Washington Post reports Bush’s comments came on the deadliest day in Iraq in more than a month. A Spanish diplomat was assassinated. Eight Iraqis died in a suicide car bombing at a Baghdad police station. And three U.S. troops were killed in ambushes.
The International Red Cross has come out publicly condemning the U.S. indefinite detention of over 650 men at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Senior Red Cross official Christophe Girod told The New York Times, “One cannot keep these detainees in this pattern, this situation, indefinitely… The open-endedness of the situation and its impact on the mental health of the population has become a major problem.”
In the past year and s half, there have been 32 suicide attempts at the base.
Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups have called on the Bush administration to prove that the U.S. is not using torture at Guantanamo.
A Brazilian man who gave evidence to a United Nations human rights commission visiting Brazil has been shot dead.
Gerson Jesus Bispo was the second person to be killed after speaking to UN envoy Asma Jahangir about alleged death squads, murder and torture by police.
Human rights groups say the two men were killed in retribution for talking to the envoy, who has been outspoken about the situation in Brazil.
Some of the country’s most senior judges have responded angrily to her suggestion that the United Nations should offer advice on reforming the country’s legal system.
The Brazilian human rights group Global Justice Centre said: “Bispo was killed because of the information he had on the death squads.
The UN envoy spent three weeks in Brazil investigating summary executions and other killings allegedly carried out by police before concluding that some of the country’s police force did continue to kill civilians with impunity.
The BBC is reporting that six Palestinians including two boys aged 8 and 15 have died after Israel launched a major raid on Gaza with dozens of Israeli tanks backed by helicopter gunships.
Meanwhile the newly appointed Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia, has threatened to resign if he can not appoint a full cabinet that is acceptable to parliament. Yasser Arafat is coming under criticism for forming an emergency cabinet that does not have to be approved by Parliament.
Democrats in Pennsylvania are accusing the Republicans of resorting to dirty tricks after an FBI bug was found in the office of Democratic Mayor John Street who is running for re-election. The FBI has refused to state the purpose of the listening device but claimed it was not connected to the contested mayoral race.
The man convicted of killing Indian immigrant Balbir Singh Sodhi shortly after the 9/11 attacks has been sentenced to death.
Frank Roque was convicted on September 30 for shooting Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner, in front of his service station in the Arizona city of Mesa four days after the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.
Sodhi was attacked after he was mistaken for an Arab because of his flowing beard and turban.
Prosecutors had told the court that Roque had also fired shots at the residence of an Afghan family and another service station which employed a Lebanese-American cashier.
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