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Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Ebadi defies Iranian court order

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi speaks during her 17 January press conference in Tehran
Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi says she has defied an order by the Tehran judiciary to appear in court.

She says she was not told the charges against her, which is contrary to the country's penal code.

Mrs Ebadi says she wrote to the court to say that the summons was illegal and that the court was not eligible to put her on trial.

Mrs Ebadi has clashed with Iran's judiciary several times.

Controversy

"I did not appear in court in protest at the summons' illegality," Mrs Ebadi told the AFP news agency.

She said that even the judge at the hearing did not know the charges against her.

Summoning me on charges that even the court is unaware of is against the law
Shirin Ebadi

"Summoning me on charges that even the court is unaware of is against the law," she added.

Mrs Ebadi recently has already been involved in a court controversy, with the judiciary first summoning her through a Revolutionary Court, then apologising and saying that the case would be dealt with in a Public Court.

In that case, a government spokesman said she was accused by a private citizen of insulting him.

Set up after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the Revolutionary Court has jailed many political prisoners for offences against national security.

Mrs Ebadi is the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Her defence of dissidents has brought her into frequent confrontation with Iran's theocratic authorities.

She recently called for the country's Islamic penal system to be reformed to safeguard human rights



SEE ALSO
Iran asked to give counsel choice
14 Feb 05 |  Middle East
Nobel winner queries Iran summons
13 Jan 05 |  Middle East
Iranian Nobel winner sues the US
02 Nov 04 |  Middle East
Iran Nobel winner gets hero's welcome
14 Oct 03 |  Middle East
Peace award divides Iran
11 Oct 03 |  Middle East
Profile: Shirin Ebadi
27 Nov 09 |  Middle East

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