Shirin Ebadi Equal Right Lawyer in Court to Defend her Colleague’s Nasrin Sotoodeh and Mansoureh Shojaee.
Wednesday 23 July 2008, by
Feminist school: Nasrin Sotoodeh, a well known lawyer who has voluntarily represented many women’s rights activists, especially those who were involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign, and Mansoureh Shojaee, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, were summoned to Revolutionary Courts 3 days ago, and appeared in the Revolutionary Courts in Moalem St., with their representing lawyer "Shirin Ebadi", who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
They were questioned from 9am to 3pm and "Shirin Ebadi" was denied entry into the court to be with them during that time .She was waiting for her clients, Nasrin Sotoodeh and Mansoureh Shojaeer, all this time, outside the court.
They were accused of "endangering national security by having uncommon relationships with Iranians who live overseas". In addition, they were told by "security forces representative" that " we warned you off over the phone and forbade you to go to overseas before you went to airport. If you had paid attention to that and did not go to the airport, we wouldn’t have opened a new case in the Revolutionary Courts"!
After their interrogation, when they wanted to leave the Revolutionary Courts, we had an opportunity to have a short interview with "Shirin Ebadi"
In reply to the question as to why her clients had been summoned to the Revolutionary Courts, she said:
Unfortunately the definition of "National Security" and "disturbing public order" are extensive and there is no accurate definition and this has caused an incorrect interpretation. In recent times, any civil objection such as demanding equal financial remuneration (or blood money) for bodily injury or death to men and women, and the elimination of polygamy are considered as" endangering national security". This incorrect interpretation caused some of the activists and defenders of women’s rights ,like Parvin Ardalan, Delaram Ali, Maryam Hoseinkhah , Jelveh Javahery ,to be charged and also have caused them to spend some time in jail and they are now faced with the heavy penalties.
In relation to summoning of Nasrin Sotoodeh ,one of active and brave lawyers women’s rights activists and members of the One Million Signatures Campaign, to the Revolutionary Courts ,stated : "I have to say that my colleague ,Ms Nasrin Sotoodeh , who has voluntarily represented many women’s rights activists and has spent hours and days in the Revolutionary Courts and Evin prison to see or to help her clients, has been summoned to the Revolutionary Court only because they want to curtail her activities. However, I believe these summons do not affect this brave lawyer.
Shirin Ebadi in reply to a question about the reasons why her clients have been summoned to Revolutionary Courts said:
Nasrin Sotoodeh and Mansoureh Shojaee by invitation of some of Iranians women from the south of Larestan and Evaz of Iran who are currently residents in Dubai , were going to go to Dubai to take part in a celebration of 8 March when the officials banned Mansoureh Shojaee from travelling and seized her passport. However, they told Nasrin Sotoodeh that she could travel. But she avoided travelling and told them that she is representing Mansoureh Shojaee and she has to stay with her. They were questioned by security forces for 5 hours in airport. During that time they were told that participation in any meeting overseas is against the interests of the country, which obviously my clients did not accept.
She continued: in regard to what I explained, my clients didn’t go to Dubai but they opened a new case for Mansoureh Shojaee in the Revolutionary Courts and she received a summons with the same number. So, both summons of my clients are related to traveling to Dubai and they have to answer the questions regarding travel which they never undertook! Whereas, the officials who stopped them from their travel, because they did not have legal grounds for their act ,have to answer the questions about their actions which were beyond the law.
Mansureh Shojaee , Talat Taghinia and Parvin Ardalan are activists and defenders of women rights and members of the One Million Signatures Campaign have been officially been banned from travelling. In addition, last year some of the women rights activists banned in the Teheran airport when they were going to go to India. Most of the members of the One Million Signatures Campaign have been banned indirectly (and threatened) from participating in any international conferences.
translated by: Roya Sahraee