Ebadi: “Javad Larijani Does Not Understand Human Rights And Cannot Fill This Position”
Shirin Ebadi and six other women’s rights activists will hold a sit-in in front of the United Nations in Geneva to protest the dangerous situation of Nasrin Sotoudeh, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the Iranian Judiciary has lost its independence and has become a tool in the hands of security forces. Ms. Ebadi criticized Mohammad Javad Larijani’s statements interpreting the efforts of human rights activists as “human rights wars,” she said: ” Those who use vocabulary such as “confront,” “contention,” and “war” about human rights, who that they have fundamentally missed the meaning of human rights. This individual cannot fill such a position within the Judiciary, unless this position has been given to him as gift because of his family relation to the Head of the Judiciary.”
Ebadi explained reasons for the Monday sit-in for the Campaign. “After all the efforts of Nasrin Sotoudeh and her lawyers to carry out the law proved ineffective, and the court did not agree to release Sotoudeh on bail against the Iranian Code of Criminal Procedures and Iran’s Penal Provisions, she embarked upon a dry hunger strike to protest the violation of her rights. This time Sotoudeh has announced that she does not have a personal demand, but that as a human rights lawyer, she demands the implementation of the law for all political prisoners,” said the Nobel Peace Laureate.
“Sotoudeh’s condition is deteriorating by each passing day, and her interrogators, ignoring her well-being, continue breaking the law. Since the Judiciary has unfortunately lost its independence and become a tool of intelligence and security agents, disregard for Sotudeh’s health led to her transfer to hospital. Although the minor medical treatment she received can delay an undesirable outcome a little, this situation is not sustainable indefinitely. Nasrin Sotoudeh’s demands need to be respected, specially as she has minimum demands of implementation of the law,” she said.
The sit-in is scheduled to start on Monday, 20 December in Geneva, Switzerland. “We, a group of women’s rights activists who have been forced abroad following the conditions after the disputed 2009 election, decided to stage this sit-in, since there is no space for any action inside Iran. Let’s not forget that when Mr. Nourizad developed severe stomach hemorrhaging as a result of his hunger strike and his family and wife and parents went to the prison gates to find out about his condition, they were all arrested and after several hours of interrogations and insults, they were released. This is the situation for the people who live inside Iran. Not only do the security agents have no regard for the life and death of our democracy fighters, their families are under immense pressure, too. Therefore, under such conditions we found it necessary to start a movement outside of Iran, so that we may bring media attention to the inhumane actions of the Iranian regime. The Iranian government not only acts against international human rights regulations and its commitments, it is even unwilling to implement its own laws. We, the seven women’s rights activists who have been Ms. Sotoudeh’s colleagues for years, hope to call the public’s attention to such illegal behavior and ask all free-thinkers of the world to help us get Nasrin Sotoudeh’s voice from prison heard by the world,” Shirin Ebadi told the Campaign.
Shirin Ebadi also reacted to recent statements made by Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of Iran’s Human Rights Council. “Mr. Larijani who heads the Human Rights Council of the Iranian Judiciary, stated in one of the last interviews he had outside Iran that he had been willing to “compromise” in the area of human rights, but as the US and the west are referring to the human rights issue too much, they, too, will enter “the human rights war. Those who use vocabulary such as “confront,” “contention,” and “war” about human rights, who that they have fundamentally missed the meaning of human rights. This individual cannot fill such a position within the Judiciary, unless this position has been given to him as gift because of his family relation to the Head of the Judiciary,” she said.
“So far as human rights is concerned, we can only have a dialogue about it, and review issues through dialogue. Those responsible for human rights cannot say “henceforth we will enter a human rights war,” or “now we will enter human rights contention. …Mr. Larijani said that Ms. Sotoudeh was not arrested because of her profesion as a lawyer, but that her actions were against national security. He stated that lawyers must only walk up and down the court corridors. I agree with the last part of Mr. Larijani’s statement, as the Judiciary has lost its independence and the judges have no accountability; therefore lawyers wander the corridors of the courts. It is true, a judge who has no authority cannot provide suitable answers to the lawyers, and this is why the lawyers are going up and down the hallways aimlessly,” she added.
“Regarding his statement about Ms. Sotoudeh’s charges not being related to her profession as a lawyer, before her arrest, intelligence agents called her husband, Reza Khandan, and told him that Sotoudeh must stop representing me or else she will regret it. Sotoudeh responded to them by saying her actions are within the legal framework and that she is only doing her job as a lawyer representing me under the law and she will not stop her representation,” Shirin Ebadi told the Campaign.
“Ms. Sotoudeh had been threatened several times. She was told not to accept representation of individuals such as Shirin Ebadi, and when she didn’t oblige, the case judge finally issued Ms. Sotoudeh’s arrest warrant under pressure from security officers. The Prosecutor had promised to release Sotoudeh on bail, but as the Prosecutor is a tool in the hands of security forces and has no say of his own, the security forces’ deep contempt for Nasrin Sotoudeh for her damaging disclosures caused the rejection of her release. This is why we have to call upon the public conscience of the world for assistance,” Shirin Ebadi concluded.