Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, May 18, 2007

Detained scholar continues to be denied rights in Iran

The Iranian government recently denied council to detained American scholar Haleh Esfandiari, The Washington Post reported today.

In a request to the Iranian government, Shirin Ebadi, a 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, sought to obtain information on the charges against Esfandiari in order to represent her. Iranian officials have denied the request of council to represent Esfandiari in addition to denying a legal team access to her.

"I've known her for many years, and I know she is innocent," Ebadi said in an interview in Washington before speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations. As the article notes, “In 2000, Ebadi, a human rights lawyer, was imprisoned for her activities in a case in the same notorious jail where Esfandiari is being held.”

Ebadi points out that the Iranian government is breaking its own laws in denying Esfandiari the right to legal council. "Our goal is to inform Iranians and the international community that the government is not respecting its own laws and regulations,” Ebadi said. “Her arrest was illegal."

Haleh Esfandiari is the Middle East Program Director at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has been held without charges since May 8 in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Her detainment comes amidst planned U.S.-Iranian talks on the strategy in Iraq.

For the full article, click here.

For the Wilson Center’s biography of Haleh Esfandiari, click here.



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