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Asia-pacific

Nobel laureate has prize confiscated by authorities

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-26

Iranian human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi (photo) has had her Nobel Peace Prize - awarded back in 2003 - confiscated by the Iranian authorities. Norway, home to the Nobel Committee, has summoned Iran's envoy to Oslo to help investigate the matter.

AFP - Norway said Thursday Iran had confiscated the Nobel Peace Prize of Shirin Ebadi, a human rights advocate who won the award in 2003, and that it had summoned Iran's envoy to Oslo to protest the matter.
   
"The medal and diploma have been removed from Dr Ebadi's bank box, together with other personal items," Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement.
   
"Such an act leaves us feeling shock and disbelief," he added, stressing "this is the first time a Nobel Peace Prize has been confiscated by national authorities."
   
The ministry said it had summoned Iran's charge d'affaires in Oslo on Wednesday to discuss Ebadi's case.
   
"We made it clear that Norway...will follow the situation in Iran closely," the minister said.
   
Many of Ebadi's collaborators and her husband have been arrested in the past months. Her human rights centre was closed by authorities a year ago.
   
"The persecution of Dr. Ebadi and her family show that freedom of expression is under great pressure in Iran," the ministry added.
   
The Norwegian Nobel Committee attributed the Peace Prize, consisting of a medal, a diploma, and 10 million Swedish kronor (950,000 euros, 1.4 million dollars), to Ebadi in 2003 "for her efforts for democracy and human rights," under the Islamic regime in Iran.
   
The committee said it would also protest the confiscation.
   
"I do not know of anything like that happening before," the committee's secretary Geir Lundestad told AFP.
   
"A laureate has never been treated like that. Even political dissidents such as (Russian Andrei) Sakharov and (Pole Lech) Walesa were better treated in their countries," he deplored, referring to the men who won in 1975 and 1983, during the Cold War.

 

Date created : 2009-11-26

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