Shirin Ebadi, one of Iran’s leading human rights defenders, is in London on Amnesty International’s invitation. Her trip to the UK is part of international efforts to educate the world about the human rights abuses in Iran and support Amnesty’s defense of the Defenders of Human Rights Center. Ebadi opened the center in 2001 and it was shut down last December by Iranian authorities because of its work against the torture of detainees.
Three of the center’s leading members have been arrested for election-related protests. Journalist Abdolreza Tajik and Abolfattah Soltani are being held in Evin Prison. The third activist, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, has not been located according to Ebadi and Irene Khan’s joint statement released by Amnesty International.
Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, met with European Union Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering on June 24. She urged him to support her efforts in responding to the police brutality and post-election violence in Iran. In a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on July 6, Ebadi requested the removal of the ban placed on the operation of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and an end to security and political pressures on civil, political, and human rights activists by governmental bodies and officials in Ahmadinejad’s administration.