Babylon & Beyond

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IRAN: Human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi's home defaced

January 2, 2009 |  9:45 am


Now it's getting personal.

After years of pressure, the shuttering of her nonprofit organization and the seizing of her legal files, a gang of unruly "demonstrators" targeted the Tehran home of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, her country's premier human rights activist.

On Thursday, dozens of members of Iran's hard-line Basiji militia surrounded her home, chanted threatening slogans and vandalized her home.


What's behind the stepped-up pressure?

Analysts in Iran say the Tehran government is using the tumult over the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip to do a little housecleaning.

Ebadi's been a thorn in the government's side for years, and they would love to get her to leave the country, perhaps emigrate to the U.S.

Previously, Iranian activists who have moved abroad, such as former Ebadi colleague Mehrangiz Kar, have lost their potency and status, becoming largely irrelevant pundits rather than revered leaders.

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photos: Scenes from the exterior of Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi's home today. One piece of graffiti says, "Shirin Ebadi is American." Credit: Ramin Mostaghim / For the Times

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