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To: DoctorZIn
Wednesday October 15, 4:22 AM
Nobel winner defiant as she returns to hero's welcome from Iranian women

Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi was given a hero's welcome from thousands of fans as she returned to Iran, with the human rights activist shrugging off government warnings and immediately calling for the freeing of political prisoners.

"I hope that all political prisoners will be freed," Ebadi, the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the prize, told reporters after she stepped off an Iran Air Boeing 747 from Paris.

"This prize is not only for me, but for all those in favour of peace, democracy, human rights and legality," said a visibly emotional Nobel laureate, who almost fell to the ground in the crush of people who turned out to greet her.

Ebadi, 56, was given the prize last Friday for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights, particularly for women and children in the Islamic republic. Her defence of dissidents and campaign for legal reforms has earned her the wrath of Iran's religious right.

Some 10,000 people, a majority of them women, had descended on Tehran's Mehrabad airport for the homecoming of the petite and softly-spoken jurist, with bumper-to-bumper traffic bringing an area around the airport to a standstill.

Many in the crowd shouted political slogans, echoing Ebadi's calls for political prisoners to be set free, and chants directed against embattled reformist President Mohammad Khatami who earlier Tuesday poured scorn on the value of the prize.

One woman in her 50s, who gave her name as Fereshteh, described Ebadi as an "angel of freedom".

Most women were also wearing white headscarves -- an organising committee set up by supporters of Ebadi to plan festivities for her return had called on women to make the symbolic gesture of wearing white rather than the usual black preferred by the Islamic regime.

For her part, Ebadi was sporting a red headscarf. While in Paris -- where she had been for a short visit when the prize was announced -- she had again angered hardliners here by not covering her head as Iranian law demands.

Fearing a crush, Ebadi was whisked away but then returned to give a brief declaration to the crowd, many of whom had stood for hours to catch a glimpse of the previously little-known jurist.

"This prize is not for me. The prize is for the great people of Iran," Ebadi said, as flowers were tossed at her. "This prize signifies that the demands of the Iran people for democracy, human rights and peace has been heard by the people of the world."

After a deafening applause, she politely took her leave: "Excuse me for this evening, but after tomorrow I will be your servant, like I always have been."

Earlier, President Khatami broke four days of silence over her prize win, warning her to "pay attention" and pouring cold water on her achievement.

"Obviously I am pleased that a compatriot has achieved such success," Khatami said on emerging from parliament. But, in comments that stunned observers, Khatami added: "The Nobel Peace Prize is not very important, the ones that count are the scientific and literary prizes.

"I hope that Mrs Ebadi, who comes from a religious family and has expressed her love for Islam, will pay attention to the interests of the Islamic world and of Iran, and not allow anyone to exploit her success."

Echoing comments already heard from Iranian hardliners, he added there were "political criteria" behind the Nobel committee's decision.

Since she was awarded the prize on Friday, Ebadi has criticized the slow pace of reforms under Khatami -- who has been increasingly silent on key problems facing the Islamic republic -- and called for the release of political prisoners in Iran.

On Wednesday, she is due to give her first press conference in Iran since winning the prize on October 10.

She has said that she plans to travel to Oslo on December 10 to receive the Peace Prize, which also carries a purse of 1.1 million euros (1.3 million dollars).


http://sg.news.yahoo.com/031014/1/3eyps.html
51 posted on 10/14/2003 10:11:34 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Wednesday October 15, 2:41 AM
Nobel winner Ebadi back in Iran, demands freedom for political prisoners

Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi returned to Tehran, immediately calling for the freeing of political prisoners as she was mobbed by thousands of well-wishers.

"I hope that all political prisoners will be freed," Ebadi, the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the prize, told reporters after she stepped off an Iran Air Boeing 747 from Paris.

"This prize is not only for me, but for all those in favour of peace, democracy, human rights and legality," said a visibly emotional Nobel laureate, who almost fell to the ground in a crush of journalists and ordinary residents who turned out to greet her.

"The world recognises the fight of Muslim women, and this is my political message," she said. "My message for Iranians is a message of love, friendship, peace and justice."

Some 10,000 people, a majority of them women, had descended on Tehran's Mehrabad airport for her homecoming.

Many shouted political slogans, including calls for political prisoners to be set free and chants directed against embattled reformist President Mohammad Khatami who earlier Tuesday poured scorn on the prize.

As the area surrounding the city centre complex was brought to a standstill by bumper-to-bumper traffic, people were seen abandoning their vehicles and covering the final few kilometres (miles) on foot to catch a glimpse of the petite and softly-spoken jurist.

Many women were clutching bouquets of flowers and pictures of the Nobel winner, and singing patriotic hymns. Most of them were also wearing white headscarves.

An organising committee set up by supporters of Ebadi to plan festivities for her return from Paris had called on women to make the symbolic gesture of wearing white rather than the usual black preferred by the Islamic regime.

For her part, Ebadi was sporting a red headscarf. While in Paris, she again angered religious hardliners here by not covering her head as Iranian law demands.

But sensing a serious crush could ensue at the airport, Ebadi gave only a brief declaration to the crowd before being whisked away.

"I cannot meet you tonight, there are too many people. I am sorry for this evening but, as of tomorrow, I will be at your service," she told the crowd briefly while standing on a chair.

Ebadi, was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo Friday, becoming the first Muslim woman to win the honour in the prize's 102-year history.

Ebadi, 56, was given the prize "for her efforts for democracy and human rights," particularly for women and children in her country, which has been under Islamic rule since the 1979 revolution, the Nobel Committee said.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/031014/1/3eykv.html
52 posted on 10/14/2003 10:13:41 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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