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Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Monday, 14 April 2008 16:18 UK

Top Iranian dissident threatened

Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi said threats were also made against her daughter

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi has described receiving an increasing number of death threats.

They included notes pinned to the door of her office building in Tehran, warning her to "watch your tongue".

Ms Ebadi, an outspoken critic of Iran's leadership, said she had forwarded the threats to the chief of Iranian police.

She said last month: "When you believe in the correctness of your work, there is no reason to be afraid of anything."

In an interview, she told Reuters news agency that Iran's human rights record had regressed in the past two years, saying more dissidents were being jailed and more people were being executed.

Ms Ebadi, 60, won the Nobel prize in 2003 for her work in defending human rights.

She has received death threats before, but in a statement on Monday, she said: "Threats against my life and security and those of my family, which began some time ago, have intensified."

One of the anonymous, handwritten threats said: "Shirin Ebadi, your death is near."

They warned her against making speeches abroad, and defending Iran's minority Bahai community.

The Bahai faith is regarded as heretical by Iran's Shia establishment.


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