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To: freedom44

Iran: Nobel Winner in Danger of Arrest

Shirin Ebadi Will Defy Summons, She Says

(New York, January 16, 2004) – An Iranian Revolutionary Court order threatening the arrest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi places all human rights defenders in Iran at risk, Human Rights Watch said today.

" This is a blatant attempt by the Iranian government to silence one of the few remaining voices for human rights in Iran. If even a Nobel prize winner can be threatened, then no activist is safe. "

Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch
Ebadi told Human Rights Watch that she does not intend to respond to the summons because she considers the order unlawful and does not recognize the Revolutionary Court’s legitimacy.  
On January 12, the Fourteenth Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran ordered Ebadi to present herself for questioning within three days. The order did not specify the reasons for the summons, but stated that if she did not respond within the specified period, she would be arrested. Ebadi told Human Rights Watch she has appointed a team of three lawyers to represent her.  
“This is a blatant attempt by the Iranian government to silence one of the few remaining voices for human rights in Iran,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. “If even a Nobel prize winner can be threatened, then no activist is safe.”  
Shirin Ebadi is the founder of the Center for Defense of Human Rights and has provided legal counsel to many political prisoners and dissidents. Last week, she became the defense lawyer for Ruzbeh Mir-Ebrahimi, the latest target of the Iranian government’s high-profile prosecution of webloggers and journalists. As Human Rights Watch has previously described, the government has detained and tortured many writers during the past few months, accusing them of “propaganda against the regime,” among other things.  
Ebadi is also representing the family of Iranian-born Canadian journalist, Zahra Kazemi, who died during her detention by the Iranian judiciary. Ebadi has recently renewed her calls for changes to Iran’s Islamic penal code to conform with international human rights standards.  
“At minimum, the Iranian government should specify the legal basis for summoning Ebadi,” said Whitson. “That’s a basic principle of due process.”  
Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned for the safety of Shirin Ebadi. Since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, she has been the target of frequent threats and intimidation. In December 2003, a group of vigilantes attacked and physically harmed Ebadi while she was delivering a lecture at Al-Zahra University in Tehran.  
The government of Iran has an affirmative obligation to protect Ebadi and other rights advocates. The U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which the General Assembly adopted by consensus in 1998, declares that individuals and associations have the right “to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” to “develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles and to advocate their acceptance,” and to “complain about the policies and actions of individual officials and governmental bodies with regard to violations of human rights.” At the same time, states “shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of [human rights defenders] against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary actions” as a consequence of their legitimate effort to promote human rights.  
“The Iranian authorities have a legal obligation to protect Shirin Ebadi,” said Whitson. “They are doing just the opposite.”

48 posted on 01/16/2005 10:29:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Great news, I think! If nothing else, our special forces should secure the WMD sites when regime change occurs. The military option isn't a pleasant one, but it is an option.


Report: U.S. Conducting Secret Missions Inside Iran

Jan 16, 12:33 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets, The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday.

The article, by award-winning reporter Seymour Hersh, said the secret missions have been going on at least since last summer with the goal of identifying target information for three dozen or more suspected sites.

Hersh quotes one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon as saying, "The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible."

One former high-level intelligence official told The New Yorker, "This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign."

The White House said Iran is a concern and a threat that needs to be taken seriously. But it disputed the report by Hersh, who last year exposed the extent of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"We obviously have a concern about Iran. The whole world has a concern about Iran," Dan Bartlett, a top aide to President Bush, told CNN's "Late Edition."

Of The New Yorker report, he said: "I think it's riddled with inaccuracies, and I don't believe that some of the conclusions he's drawing are based on fact."

Bartlett said the administration "will continue to work through the diplomatic initiatives" to convince Iran -- which Bush once called part of an "axis of evil" -- not to pursue nuclear weapons.

"No president, at any juncture in history, has ever taken military options off the table," Bartlett added. "But what President Bush has shown is that he believes we can emphasize the diplomatic initiatives that are underway right now."


Bush has warned Iran in recent weeks against meddling in Iraqi elections.

The former intelligence official told Hersh that an American commando task force in South Asia is working closely with a group of Pakistani scientists who had dealt with their Iranian counterparts.

The New Yorker reports that this task force, aided by information from Pakistan, has been penetrating into eastern Iran in a hunt for underground nuclear-weapons installations.

In exchange for this cooperation, the official told Hersh, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has received assurances that his government will not have to turn over Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, to face questioning about his role in selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Hersh reported that Bush has already "signed a series of top-secret findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as 10 nations in the Middle East and South Asia."

Defining these as military rather than intelligence operations, Hersh reported, will enable the Bush administration to evade legal restrictions imposed on the CIA's covert activities overseas.


49 posted on 01/16/2005 1:00:35 PM PST by JWojack (Rice for President in 2008!)
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