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Detained Iranian-American scholar denied right to counsel: Ebadi

[JURIST] Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile], currently detained by the Iranian government, is being denied access to counsel, according to her lawyer, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi [BBC profile]. Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [think tank website], was formally charged last month [JURIST report] with plotting to overthrow the Iranian government by organizing a network "against the sovereignty of the country." Iranian state newspaper the Kayhan has accused Esfandiari [JURIST report] of acting in concert with the United States and Israel to topple the Iranian government.

Ebadi said the Tehran Revolutionary Court told her Monday that Esfandiari was not in need of counsel and denied her access into the building. Ebadi told the Iranian Labour News Agency [official website] that the judiciary officials were ignoring the law and depriving Esfandiari of her civil rights. The US State Department has called for the release [transcript] of Esfandiari and several other Iranian-Americans held by the Iranian government, saying that they do not pose a threat to the Iran regime. Reuters has more.

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