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Figure of the month: Shirin Ebadi PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 July 2009 06:32

Shirin Ebadi has been selected by Al Waref Institute as the Figure of the Month of July .Shirin Abadi is the first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in the area of human rights.

Ms. Abadi was born on June 22, 1947, in the city of Hamedan.  She began her studies in Tehran University Law School in 1965.  In 1969, in the first stage of her career Ms. Abadi became one of very few women assigned to a judiciary position in the Iranian court system.  In 1971, Ms. Abadi, succeeded in securing a masters degree in law from Tehran University, and in 1975 she headed Branch 24 of the Revolutionary Court in the city of Sistan.  She was the first woman who managed to become a top judge in Iran.
After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic expelled all female judges, including Ms. Abadi, from their judicial positions and they were transferred to desk jobs at the Ministry of Justice.  Ms. Abadi’s position was reduced to the rank of court clerk.  Ms. Abadi protested the move, submitted her resignation and applied for a permit to practice private law.  The judiciary branch rejected her request, and she was not able to practice law until 1992.
After Ms. Abadi succeeded in securing a license for her private legal practice she began defending the cases of civil and political activists.  A list of her high-profile clients includes Dr. Habibullah Payman, Naser Zarafshan, Mohsen Sazgara, Abas Maroofi and Faraj Sarkohi, families of the victims of serial killings, Mehrangiz Kar, Azat Ebrahimnejad, Zahra Kazemi, Zahra Bani-Yaghoub, many of the activists in the 1,000,000 Signature Petition Campaign to force changes in discriminatory laws and student activists.
Ms. Abadi also handled the case of Aryen Golshani, a child who had been separated from his mother on a divorce case and who was tragically killed at the hands of his stepmother.  Ms. Abadi handled the case and her efforts led to the reform of laws related to women’s rights in divorce cases.
Ms. Abadi is also credited with introducing a bill in the Islamic Parliament to end violence against children, and she worked effortlessly to have the bill passed in the parliament.
In 1999, after protest events on a university campus, Ms. Abadi accepted the cases of many of the imprisoned students.  In July 2000, Ms. Abadi was detained in connection with a case that became known as the “Tape Makers” case.  In this case, Ms. Abadi and Mohsen Rahami were accused of working with Elaheh Haykas to distribute a confession by Amir-Farshad Ebrahimi, an ex-member of the Ensar Hisbullah militia.  These actions were construed as attempts against government officials, and the draconian court issued a fifteen-month suspended sentence and a five-year censure from legal practice against Ms. Abadi.  The appeals court overturned the sentencing and punished Ms. Abadi with a $300 USD fine.
Presently, Ms. Abadi is chairwoman for the Human Rights Defense Center, which was sealed shut by security forces in January 2009.


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