Human rights activist Shirin Ebadi speaks out against sanctions

2010/05/21

Published in German daily newspaper “Frankfurter Rundschau” on 21 May 2010
Source (German): http://www.fr-online.de/in_und_ausland/politik/aktuell/2667573_Menschenrechtlerin-Ebadi-gegen-Sanktionen.html

Shirin Ebadi (Photo: dpa)

Bonn. Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi said she opposes economic sanctions against her home country. The Iranian people is against such steps in the nuclear conflict, said Ebadi, who is living in exile, on Thursday in the German city of Bonn.

According to Ebadi, sanctions will merely provide the regime in Tehran with a pretext for increasing repression, and the anti-regime “Green Movement” would face even more severe oppression. Currently the UN Security Council in New York in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program is discussing a new resolution on Iran and harsher sanctions.

“In the current situation, our national interest is to deliberately accept the resolutions of the UN Security Council in order to prevent further sanctions”, said Ebadi. She dismissed any economic sanctions that would raise costs for or impede access to food and medication

On the other hand, no economic cooperation should be allowed that supports the government’s anti human rights policy, Ebadi added. For example, Western cell-phone technology enabled the Iranian regime to monitor cell-phone connections, and the EUTELSAT company supported regime censorship: “We are against such business transactions”.

Ebadi added that the “systematic violation” of human rights in Iran is increasing every day. Following the execution of five political prisoners, among them a teacher, the Tehran prosecutor’s office announced that further death sentences have been issued and will soon be carried out.

Ebadi receives Bonn International Democracy Award
Shirin Ebadi said that the detained dissident filmmaker Jafar Panahi has recently started a hunger strike. He has no access to a lawyer. He is accused of having planned to make an anti-government film. “This is a restriction of the freedom of thought”.

Talking to dpa news agency, Ebadi said there are currently thousands of political prisoners; even the regime announced a number of 6000 arrests. “The real number is much higher”. Many of the arrested were released only after posting heavy bails. They are banned from any political activity.

In 2003, Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize. Yesterday she was awarded the 2010 International Democracy Award of the city of Bonn. Ebadi, who is a lawyer, represented mostly opposition members and dissidents and was temporarily detained and banned from professional activity in the past.

Today, she continues her struggle for human rights and democracy in her country from abroad. The first person to receive the Bonn award that is endowed with 10,000 Euro was former Czech President Václav Havel. (dpa)

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