IRAN. DEATH PENALTY REQUEST BY NOBEL LAUREATE ATTORNEY SPARKS CRITICISM
|Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi
June 13, 2007: The news that a young man has been executed in Tehran for raping and killing a woman has been met with surprise and criticism by progressive Iranians not because of the sentence - Iran ranks second after China for the number of executions carried out - but because the attorney who reportedly demanded capital punishment on behalf of the victim's family is Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, an anti-death penalty campaigner. Mohammed Safar was hanged a few days ago at Tehran's Evin prison.
Iranian blogs, mostly those of women's rights activists, have harshly condemned Ebadi.
"Someone like her who is a campaigner for peace and justice cannot support the request for the death penalty asked by the family's victim," wrote on her blog women's rights activist Assieh Amini.
Ebadi's office in Tehran contacted by Adnkronos International (AKI) refused to comment the reports.
A graduate of Tehran University, Shirin Ebadi, 60, was the first female judge in her country, serving as president of the Tehran city court, from 1975.
However, after the 1979 Islamic revolution she was forced to resign when it was decided that women were not suitable for such posts.
Ebadi then established a law practice, taking on politically sensitive cases many Iranian lawyers were afraid to touch.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts to stop among other things political imprisonment, gender discrimination and the death penalty in Iran. (Sources: Aki, 13/06/2007)