Civil and Political Activists Condemn Conservative Media Accusations Against Shirin Ebadi

Thursday 18 September 2008

Advar News: One thousand three hundred and forty (1340) Iranian civil and political activists issued a statement condemning the media accusations launched against Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights lawyer and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The translation of the statement follows:

In the past few months as tensions and crises reached their peak in the international arena, and as we faced deep social problems and impasses as well as economic pressures nationally, which are a direct result of inappropriate and illegal actions of the President and his cabinet, pressures on human rights activists also increased proportionately.

Ms. Ebadi, the Director of the Organization of Human Rights Defenders, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and Founder of the National Peace Council, and one of the most well known and respected human rights activists inside Iran, has been especially targeted by these pressures and attacks. Government and conservative media outlets, especially Kayhan Daily and the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), have engaged in malicious libel against Ms. Ebadi. Most regrettable about these actions which are not only illegal, but can be classified as serving the interests of a particular faction and in contradiction to national interests, is the fact that they have occurred despite the fact that Islamic Republic of Iran’s News Agency (IRNA) is a government affiliated entity which receives government funds for its operation. IRNA has put forth libelous accusations [against civil and political activists] in the form of news reports, and in so doing has carried out the most serious attacks against Ms. Ebadi.

Following a series of security dangers and threats from unidentified groups and individuals against the safety of Ms. Ebadi, the President ordered the police force to provide protection and to ensure her safety and well-being. Given this declaration the false accusations published by the official news agency of the government, points to severe contradictions and a serious lack of coordination in the decision making apparatus of the state. This lack of coordination will certainly work to add to the insecurities felt by human rights activists as well as the injuries and costs they must endure.

As political and civil activists we remind government officials that in accordance with article 20, 22, and 23 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as Article 3 of the International Declaration of Human Rights, of which the Iranian government is a signatory, that the right to judicial and political security, the right to life and dignity, and human rights in general, including the right to freedom of expression and thought, are among the national and international commitments of our government. As such, we strongly demand that government institutions act upon their duties in accordance with the commitments outlined above and in so doing strive to end the threats and libelous accusations put forth by the national media and press, against all civil and political activists, especially those against Ms. Ebadi.

Read the original statement and view the signatures in Farsi


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