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The Human Rights situation in Iran, has worsened under Rouhani administration: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Sheerin Ebadi 

The Human Rights situation in Iran, has worsened under Rouhani administration: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Sheerin Ebadi

 Nobel Peace prize laureate Sheerin Ebadi, who was honored with the peace prize in 2010, for her pioneering efforts in the protection of women’s, children’s, and refugee rights in Iran, was in Oslo recently for the ‘World Women’s Conference’.

During her visit to the Norwegian capital,  she met with the Oslo Times International News Network’s Editor-in-Chief, Hatef Mokhtar, for an exclusive interview regarding the human rights situation in Iran.

The peace prize laureate who has also made it to ‘Forbes’ list of the 100 most influential people in the world, highlighted the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

 The excerpts below give us an insight into her views on the matter:

 Can you give me your  view on the Human Rights situation in Iran, today?

People expected that after Rouhani’s administration came into power the situation in Iran, would improve but it never did. Unfortunately, there have been no significant improvements in the right to fundamental freedoms like the freedom of expression. In fact the situation has worsened–more restrictions have been  put in place than before, for example:Iran-protests-005

Over the past few months a group of fundamentalists have been throwing acid on young women, and nearly eight women have been disfigured as a result of these acid attacks. These attacks took place in broad daylight, during rush hours–when there were lots of people on the streets, but sadly, the police has not yet arrested any of the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, women who had come out on to the streets to protest against the attacks and urge the police to arrest the culprits, were instead  arrested. These women were sent to jail for raising their voice against the attackers.

One of the protestors sent to jail was Mehdieh Golrou. Golrou was imprisoned for three months, she was later released on bail, and is currently awaiting her trial.

A second example: After the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a newspaper in Iran published a photo of an American actor holding up a banner saying ‘I am Charlie Hebdo’, and because the newspaper published this one cartoon the Iranian authorities cancelled its license and are now  prosecuting the editor of that newspaper.CoverIAmCharlie-650x221

 According to Norway’s former PM and Chief of the Oslo Human Rights Center, who had recently visited Iran, the Human Rights situation in Iran has improved over the years, what is your view on this?

Unfortunately I don’t accept that, because the situation has in fact worsened.

If you look at the US, the culprits behind the acid attacks would have been arrested and prosecuted but in Iran instead of arresting  the culprits the women who demonstrated against the culprits were arrested. Secondly, the closure of the Iranian newspaper, proves that the human rights situation in Iran has not improved.

Another such incident that clearly shows how bad the situation in Iran is, took place, when the deputy speaker of the German parliament had come to Iran. He had actually asked to meet with a group of Iranian feminists. One of them was Narges Mohammadi,  the deputy director for the ‘Defenders of the Human Rights Centre of Iran’. She had been invited to meet him at 9pm at his hotel, so Ms.Mohammadi, who is a colleague of mine, took a taxi to go to the hotel.CaptureBut, the taxi did not stop in front of the hotel and even before she could realize what was happening, a group of security agents shoved her out of the taxi, blind folded her, forced her into another car and took her away, to a detention centre that belonged to the intelligence ministry.

She was kept there, till midnight after which they further interrogated her, before releasing her at 12:30 am.

By then it was just too late for her to attend the meeting with the German MP. After hearing what had happened, the German MP reported this incident, gave interviews and told the German Parliament about this incident.

Was this right? does this portray freedom in Iran? And whoever thinks that the human rights situation in Iran has improved must give examples. Just as I have given you examples.

The Human Rights situation in Iran, has worsened under Rouhani administration: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Sheerin Ebadi

What are your views on making cartoons of religious figures, would you call it media freedom?

The Issue is something else, for instance, what happened with the Iranian newspaper, was completely wrong. The newspaper had not even  mentioned, what had happened at Charlie Hebdo. Whether this is right or not is in contradiction with the freedom of expression, this is a legal issue, so what they should have done was go to a court of law and file a complaint against the magazine. It is not possible to justify the attack on Charlie under any circumstance as you cannot just go and take someone’s life.

If these Muslims believed that this was not right they should have gone to a court of law and filed a complaint.

So, do you reject it?

Yes, of course I reject it.

All Rights Reserved with The Oslo Times


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  • The views and opinions published in this interview belong solely to the interviewee do not represent any view or opinion held by The Oslo Times International News Network. The Oslo Times practices, defends and promotes freedom of expression. The published interview is in accordance with Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.