Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Iranian raid on Ebadi condemned

Shirin Ebadi (centre) outside the Human Rights Defenders Centre in Tehran (21 December 2008)
Iran's judiciary said Ms Ebadi's group did not have the required legal permits

A new raid by the Iranian authorities on an office of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, has been widely condemned.

A US state department official said the raid was another example of Iran's refusal to respect international norms.

The French authorities summoned the Iranian ambassador to inform him of the European Union's disapproval.

Canada said the raid appeared to be part of an effort to impede the work of Ms Ebadi and other rights campaigners.

Human Rights Watch, a US -based rights group, said it was extremely worried about Ms Ebadi's safety, following Monday's raid when officials removed computers and documents from her private office in Tehran.

Earlier this month the Iranian authorities closed the Tehran office of the Human Rights Defenders Centre headed by Ms Ebadi, saying it had operated for eight years without permission.

Ms Ebadi, a 61-year-old lawyer and human rights activist, became Iran's first Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2003.

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