Ebadi, Shirin

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Ebadi, Shirin

Shirin Ebadi (shērēn ĕbôdē´), 1947–, Iranian jurist, author, and human-rights activist. From a family of distinguished jurists, she obtained her law degree (1969) and doctorate (1971) from Tehran Univ. In 1969 she became a judge and served (1975–79) as president of the Tehran city court. With the coming (1979) of the Islamic revolution, women were deemed unfit to be judges and reassigned to lower posts. Ebadi left the judiciary, taught at her alma mater, and after waiting eight years was granted (1992) her attorney's license. As a lawyer, she became a powerful advocate for women and children and a courageous supporter of democracy and civil rights for all her countrymen. She established (1995) the Association for Support of Children's Rights and cofounded (2001) the Human Rights Defense Center. Ebadi has defended dissidents, labor activists, reformers, and other persecuted by Iranian hard-liners, has clashed with the government on numerous occasions, was briefly jailed in 2000, and called for political sanctions and an arms embargo against the government following the suppression of protests over the 2009 election. In 2003 she became the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Her books include The Rights of the Child (1987, tr. 1994), Documentation of Human Rights in Iran (1993, tr. 2000), and Iran Awakening (2006), a memoir.

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