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Iran orders Nobel winner to court

Shirin Ebadi, Iranian Nobel winner
Ebadi is the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize

Iranian Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has been summoned before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

Ms Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights activist, told the AFP news agency that she had no idea what the specific reason for the summons was.

She said she has not yet decided how to respond to the summons, which she has until Sunday to answer.

The 57-year-old Ms Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work on women's and children's rights.

"In the summons, it simply says that I must present myself to the court within three days to provide some explanations and that I will be arrested if I refuse," she added.

Since winning the Nobel Prize, Ms Ebadi has complained of increased threats against her and has been placed under police protection.

First woman judge

Shirin Ebadi came to prominence when she was appointed Iran's first woman judge. That distinction was removed after the revolution.

In 2000 she was accused of distributing the video-taped confession of a hardliner who claimed that prominent conservative leaders were instigating physical attacks on pro-reform figures.

She received a suspended jail sentence and a professional ban for this.

She has set up a non-governmental organisation, the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights, and represented several leading dissidents in their legal battles with the authorities.

Recently she has represented the family of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photographer murdered in custody in 2003.



video and audio news
The BBC's Jane Bennett-Powell
"She's been a persistent irritation to Iran's conservative rulers"



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