She couldn’t remain silent about the law that allows polygamy or the law which stated that a women needs husband’s approval if she wants to travel. These are the laws that deprave women of dignity which is why Iranian Shirin Ebadi, as she said in an interview to Pobjeda, tried in every way possible to improve the status of women in her country.
After you became on of the first female judges in Iran, you had to leave the country in 1979. First Iranian woman and first Muslim woman winner of Nobel prize for peace in 2003, because of your efforts in improving and protecting right of women and children. Reaction of Iran’s government was that they confiscated your award. Which lessons did you learn during the years of harassment and intimidation?
EBADI: Iranian government confiscated all of my property and sold it on a fake auction. Security forces attacked my office and my NGO and illegally shut them down. Since I was not in Iran, they arrested my sister to put a pressure on me. They also arrested my husband and forced him to testify against me on cameras. His testimony was broadcasted twice. They arrested my colleagues and sent them to prisons. Sir Abdolfattah Soltani was sentenced to 13 years in prison and is still in prison. Miss Narges Mohammadi was sentenced to 16 years of prison because of activism for human rights. From all this abuse I learned that everything I did was the right thing to do. All these difficulties gave me enough strength to continue to fight for democracy and human rights in my country.
What kept you in your activism for improvement of women’s rights?
EBADI: Many discriminatroy laws were brought after the revolution in 1979. For example, the law that allows polygamy or the law by which a woman needs husband’s aproval in order to travel. These laws deprive women of their dignity and I had to react. So I tried in every way possible to improve the position of women in my country.
How do you see the status of women nowadays and their role in near future?
EBADI: Irianian women are fighting for human rights and democracy and for these reasons many female activists are behind bars. But even the prison didn’t manage to silence them. Women of Iran play an important role in paving the way for democracy.
Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel peace prize in 2003 for a years long fight for rights of Iranian women, political activists, religious and ethnic minosrities and children. Ebadi is the founder of the Association for support of children’s rights. In year of 1975 she became the first female president of the City court in Teheran, as well as first femal judge in Iran. because of the attitude of Iranian government towards female judges, she was forbidden to work from 1979 until 1993. When she returned to law, she focused on cases which enabled her to fight for civic rights, with special focus on womena and children.
Magazine Forbes put her among 100 most powerful women in the world in 2004, and she is also on the list of 100 most influential women of all times.
Source: Cafe Del Montenegro