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Iran government closes Ebadi rights group offices

[JURIST] Iranian security forces on Sunday raided and closed the offices of a human rights group run by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi [Nobel profile; JURIST news archive]. The Iranian judiciary declared that the office of Ebadi's Center for the Defense of Human Rights did not have the proper legal permits. The closure prevented the group from conducting its celebration of the 60th anniversary [JURIST report] of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) [text]. Ebadi's organization had assisted the UN in preparing for its recent celebration of the anniversary, during which concern was expressed over the human rights situation in Iran. The celebration was to include the honoring of Taqi Rahmani, who served 17 years in prison for charges stemming from Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979 [MSN backgrounder]. Ebadi said Sunday that the efforts by the Iranian government will not stop her group [AP report] from continuing to promote human rights activities in Iran.

Ebadi has criticized the Iranian government's human rights record several times in the past. In May, her organization released its annual report in which it condemned the government [JURIST report] for continued harassment and intimidation of dissidents, students, reporters, labor activists, and other government critics. The report also criticized the government's increased policing of women's veils and the harsh punishments meted out to women found to be insufficiently covered, considering the practices to be violations of womens' rights. In 2007, Ebadi urged the UN to investigate allegations that the Iranian government had been detaining women's rights activists [JURIST report] and charging them with national security offenses.

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