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Iran Nobel Winner Complains About Threats, Summons
Feb 12, 2005
By Amir Paivar
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi on Saturday complained that the conservative judiciary had summoned her to court again without saying why.
"I have received another summons to appear before a public court, this time as an accused on the fifth of Esfand (Feb. 23)," the human rights lawyer told Reuters by telephone.
She said the summons stated no charge against her.
"I have not yet decided whether to appear myself, but will be sending my lawyers," said Ebadi, 57, who has riled religious hard-liners defending high-profile political dissidents.
Ebadi, the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize, was summoned last month to appear before the feared Revolutionary Court, but she ignored the order saying it was invalid because it failed to cite a reason.
In a rare climbdown, the judiciary acknowledged it had made several mistakes in summoning her.
Ebadi said agents claiming to be police had visited the Center for Defense of Human Rights, which she directs, but her staff had turned them away as they showed no judicial orders.
"They threatened our secretary, saying they would arrest her," she said, adding that police had denied any involvement.
Ebadi said she had complained in writing to Khatami, who said after her summons in January that he would personally guarantee her safety and her freedom to continue her activities.
"How is it possible to guarantee the security and peace of mind for citizens who don't have any privileges," Ebadi wrote in her letter to Khatami, whose reform efforts the judiciary has helped to foil.
Before and after winning her Nobel award, Ebadi has received death threats from religious hard-liners who view her as an agent of the West intent on undermining Iran's Islamic values.
Cases she has taken on include that of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi who died in custody in 2003 after receiving a blow to the head in a Tehran prison that split her skull.