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In conversation with Kavita Ramdas
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

As a lawyer and Iran?s first female judge, Shirin Ebadi has been a driving force behind her country?s legal reform by seeking changes in divorce and inheritance legislation and championing the rights of women, families, and children. With the advent of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Ebadi was forced to resign as president of the Tehran city court when it was deemed unsuitable for women to fulfill public office postings. Establishing an independent law practice, Ebadi went on to represent politically sensitive cases, often at the risk of her personal safety. Her refusal to be silenced by the conservative forces controlling the judiciary won the admiration of worldwide human rights groups and brought her in direct conflict with the law, leading to a jail sentence and professional ban. ?Any person who pursues human rights in Iran must live with fear from birth to death,? Ebadi has said, ?but I have learned to overcome my fear.? A popular figure in Iran and a key figure in the reformist movement in the Middle East, Shirin Ebadi was the first Iranian citizen to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her brave and inspiring efforts to fight for democracy and human rights. She chronicles the Iranian reformist movement and her exceptional life in Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope.

Added by primco on January 6, 2006