TEHRAN, 17 Mar. (IPS) Iran's Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, long a thorn in the side of the clerical regime in Tehran, said she had received death threats from an extremist group.
"You have been warned several times about your declarations but despite that you are continuing with your actions", the group said in a fax sent to the French news agency AFP by Mrs. Ebadi, an outspoken human rights activist and lawyer.
We are warning you for the last time, if you continue you will pay for committing treason against your country and Islam.
"We are warning you for the last time, if you continue you will pay for committing treason against your country and Islam", said the letter, signed by "The Association Hostile to Apostate Baha’is".
As there are plenty anti Baha’i groups in Iran, analysts speculates that in the present political atmosphere in which the bellicose Government of the fanatic President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad one that has menaced Mrs. Ebadi could well be some of the formations , some of the supported by religious circles,
The Baha’i faith, an offshoot of Shi’ism, was founded in Iran in the 19th century but its practice, tolerated under the former Monarchy, has been absolutely barred by the Islamic Republic and many of its members, estimated at between 250.000 to 300.000 before the Islamic revolution of 1979 have been arrested and executed.
“In the past 6 to seven years, I have received many such threatening letters. I’m not impressed by this one, but what surprises me is that how these people have been able to pass through the security guard that Police says is vigilant 24 hours around my house and my office”, she told the Persian service of the BBC, adding that the threatening letter had been slipped under her residence’s door.
In a letter written last year to the then president Mohammad Khatami, Mrs. Ebadi warned him about “some people” who in letters or by telephon told her that she should stop her activities or face consequences. “These elements are trying to fabricate documents against me”, she told the former reform seeking president who, after saying the Nobel Peace Award was “not very important”, had nevertheless ended by congratulating her.
Mrs. Ebadi has been subject to vicious attacks and criticism by hard line, fundamentalist and fanatic clerics.
Ever since she won the award and became the first ever Iranian who got the prestigious prize, Mrs. Ebadi has been subject to vicious attacks and criticism by hard line, fundamentalist and fanatic clerics, some of them high ranking, accusing her of “being rewarded by the Americans and international Zionist circles for good services she rendered them against the Islamic Republic”.
Meanwile, prison authorities under the supervision of the Tehran and Islamic Revolution Tribunals Prosecutor Sa'id Mortazavi announced that Mr. Akbar Ganji, one of Iran's most popular and respected political dissident would have to stay in prison for another ten days.
"Not only this is a real vicious decision, but it is also highly inhuman, since the aim is simply to prevent Mr. Ganji be among his family and friends for the No Rouz" (the Iranian New Year which start on 20 March 2006) a family friend explained.
Author of a "Manifesto For Republicanism", a pamphlet in which he proposed bringing democracy, freedom and secularism to Iran, Mr. Ganji was condemned to eight years jail, accused of "activities against the security of the State, insulting the leader etc.. etc.
Mr. Ganji, an investigative journalist, writer and human rights activist was to be freed on Friday 26 March, but the office of Mr. Mortazavi, better known as "The Butcher of the press" for having shut down more than 120 newspapers, weeklies and other publications on order from the leader of the Islamic regime Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i said the prisonner has abused from his prison leaves for over ten days, a period he must "give back" to the prison. ENDS EBADI DEATH THREAT 17307