Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Ebadi urges protesters to continue

Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi urges protesters to stay on the streets
2 min read
04 January, 2018
Iran's most famous human rights lawyer and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi has called on protesters 'to ignore what the government says to you now.'
Shirin Ebadi said protesters should carry on with public acts of defiance [Getty]
Iran's most famous human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has urged anti-government protesters to stay on the streets.

Iranians should engage in civil disobedience, Ebadi was quoted as saying in Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

"If the government has not listened to you for 38 years, your role has come to ignore what the government says to you now," she said.

Ebadi was in 2003 the first Muslim to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights, in particular, the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. 

One of the first female judges in Iran, she served as president of the city court of Tehran from 1975 to 1979 and was the first Iranian woman to achieve Chief Justice status. In 2004, she was named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes Magazine.

Now living in London, she is one of a number of exiled critics of Iran's leadership.

Ebadi said that the constitution gave Iranians the right to hold demonstrations and urged protesters to stop paying utility bills and taxes.

She also urged Iranians to withdraw their money from state banks to put the government under economic pressure to force it to stop resorting to violence and to meet their demands.

Ebadi also questioned the truth of Iranian state reports on numbers of arrests and casualties since protests erupted a week ago over the standards of living.

"The government says up to 700 were arrested but I am certain that the number of detainees and casualties is much more than that," she said, attributing the difference to "the conditions that prevent the press from performing their mission in following up the matter, and therefore the media can't prepare precise reports.

"But what is for sure is that the number of detainees is high," Ebadi said.

Iran officials have said 21 people have died in the unrest. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has deplored the loss of life and said further violence must be avoided.

On Wednesday, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Mohammad Ali Jafari declared the "sedition" was over, as pro-government rallies were arranged across the country.