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January 13, 2005
The Mystery Summons Of The Mullahcracy

In a move that raises fears for her safety, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has been ordered to appear before Iranian judges without any explanation of cause:

Ms Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights activist, told the AFP news agency that she had no idea what the specific reason for the summons was.

She said she has not yet decided how to respond to the summons, which she has until Sunday to answer.

The 57-year-old Ms Ebadi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work on women's and children's rights.

"In the summons, it simply says that I must present myself to the court within three days to provide some explanations and that I will be arrested if I refuse," she added.

No one misunderstands the intent of that summons. Ebadi won her Nobel for criticism of the Iranian regime and its oppressive rule. The BBC reports that the Iranian police have provided Ebadi "police protection" due to threats she's received, but in the totalitarian state of Iran, police protection also means constant surveillance and intimidation.

Bloggers and Western media should follow Ebadi's progress carefully over the next few weeks. With unrest growing in the Islamic Republic, the mullahs have grown increasingly repressive, jailing bloggers and shutting down newspapers to stem the bubbling agitation for democracy and freedom. The mullahs would like nothing better than to see Ebadi disappear from view in order to keep the world from knowing how they treat their subjects. The world should expect better and make sure the mullahs know that they will account for Ebadi's treatment.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 13, 2005 6:44 AM

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