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Iranian Nobel Laureate Challenges Court Summons

Shirin Ebadi, seen here at an international human rights conference in 2003 15 January 2005 -- Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi said today that she will not appear before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran, as she has been ordered.

Ebadi, the first Iranian and first Muslim woman ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, said the court summons is illegal because it does not specify the reason. She could face arrest for not appearing.

Ebadi reported receiving the summons on 13 January, suggesting she must appear by tomorrow to comply with its three-day deadline.

One of Ebadi's legal partners, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, told Radio Farda that Ebadi sent a team of three lawyers to the court today to represent her.

"Mrs. Ebadi has decided to send myself [and two other lawyers] to the court, so we can put our objections to the summons," Dadkhah said. "Also, we, the lawyers, believe the existence of the Revolutionary Court is questionable."

Ebadi's Center for Protecting Human Rights does not recognize the Revolutionary Court because it is not mentioned in the Iranian Constitution. That court is mainly responsible for cases involving national security.

Dadkhah told AP that Ebadi had been summoned to testify as a witness, not as a defendant.

The United States has expressed concern about the situation, and officials in Washington said they are following the case closely.

(AP/Radio Farda)

Related story:

"Nobel Laureate Summoned Before Revolutionary Court For Unspecified Charges"