German City of Bonn Awards Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi

2010/05/20

Published on the website of German regional public broadcasting station “WDR” on 20 May 2010
Source (German): http://www.wdr.de/themen/politik/personen/ebadi_shirin/index.jhtml
English translation provided by @germantoenglish

On Thursday (20 May 2010), Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi will be awarded the International Democracy Award of the city of Bonn to honor her “unflinching commitment to rule of law and democracy in Iran.”

Awardee Shirin Ebadi

It was obvious that this year’s decision was not a difficult one for the jury of the International Democracy Award Association. In an unanimous vote they selected Shirin Ebadi. For decades, the 62-year-old Iranian citizen has been fighting for human rights and freedom in her home country, in spite of the restrictions imposed on her by the political rulers.

The lawyer, who after 1969 worked as Iran’s first female judge, particularly promotes equal rights for women in public life and the strengthening of children’s rights. In 2003 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her commitment.

Activism with consequences
Ebadi describes herself as a democratic woman of Islamic faith, and promotes the separation of state and religion. As a lawyer, Ebadi for years represented mainly dissidents and opposition members, which repeatedly caused conflicts with the authorities. In 2000 she was indicted for her activities as a lawyer, and spent 26 days in solitary confinement.

In 2006, the Iranian Ministry of the Interior closed her Center of Human Rights that she and other Iranian lawyers had founded in 2002. The Center promoted the rights of minorities and offered legal assistance to dissidents.

And there seems to be no end to the political pressure imposed on Ebadi, who is living in exile in Great Britain. In November of 2009, Iranian authorities cleared one of her bank deposit boxes, confiscated the entire content, and froze her bank accounts. Among the confiscated items in the deposit box were her Nobel Peace Prize certificate and medal.

By awarding Shirin Ebadi, the Bonn International Democracy Award Association “In view of growing internal political conflicts” wants to send a signal and “show solidarity with the democracy movement in Iran.”

Shirin Ebadi in Oslo

Ms Ebadi has confirmed her attendance at the prize-giving in the “Redoute” in Bonn. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle will deliver the speech in honor of the awardee. The International Democracy Award which is endowed with 10,000 Euro was first awarded to former Czech president Vaclav Havel in 2009.

The prize is awarded to figures who actively promote democracy and human rights in their home countries, or did so in the past. The Bonn International Democracy Award is initiated by the association of the same name. Among the founding members are two banks and Deutsche Welle.

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