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Iranian Human Rights Leader Calls for New Elections

Iranian human rights leader Shirin Ebadi is calling for the Iranian government to void the presidential election results and hold a new vote overseen by international watchdogs. In a article, Ebadi argues that the government should release individuals who were arrested for objecting to the election results, cease police violence towards protesters, pay compensation to those injured or killed, and order new elections. “Calm could perhaps be brought back to the Iranian society if these conditions are met. Otherwise, there is a great possibility of increased violence in Iran,” Ebadi writes.

Ebadi cites several circumstances that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the elections, including the swift declaration of Ahmadinejad’s victory and the report that he received 24 million votes, a substantial increase over the 14 million he received in the previous election. In an interview with NPR last week, Ebadi reported that several human rights leaders in Iran have been arrested after denouncing the election results and the ensuing violence.

Ebadi served as the first female judge in Iran’s courts until the 1979 revolution, when the new regime forbade women from holding judgeships. She was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her work as a lawyer and activist supporting the rights of political dissidents, women, and children. She is a cofounder of the Tehran-based Defenders of Human Rights Center, which was shut down by the Iranian government in December.

Sources:

Huffington Post 6/18/09; NPR 6/16/09