Shirin Ebadi Take On Events.
“The European Union should withdraw ambassadors,” said Ebadi, a lawyer, stabbing the air with her index finger, furious about the arrests that followed the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The election of Ahmadinejad, who is due to be sworn in this week, continues to be strongly contested. Mir Hossein Mousavi, his main opponent, claims the election was stolen. Yesterday, opposition activists arrested in the weeks after the elections appeared in court in Tehran for the first time, charged with conspiring against the regime.
Although most had been arrested at home, and were intellectuals or politicians whose offence can only have been criticism of the regime or support for Mousavi, they were charged with crimes such as attacking military sites and government buildings.
About 100 prisoners sat grimly in court, some dressed in grey prison uniforms, many of them prominent reformers allied to the opposition, including Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former government spokesman, and Mohsen Mirdamadi, the leader of the largest reform party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front. The press was banned from the hearing and there were no lawyers present.
Ebadi was out of the country on a speaking tour when the protests erupted. She has remained abroad on the advice of her lawyers at the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran, which she founded.
They have told her that she is more useful to the opposition cause abroad, pressing the case of the prisoners.
Her absence from the country clearly rankles. “Tehran is my home,” she said firmly. Immaculately made up, with short, coiffed hair, she is determined to combat what she sees as injustice in her country. “I will go back to Tehran despite the fact that my family, my husband and my daughter, have been threatened.” “