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Iranian Nobel Laureate Calls For Judicial Reforms

Shirin Ebadi (file photo) 14 February 2005 -- Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi today called for judiciary reforms in Iran, claiming that many political prisoners in the country are not granted access to a lawyer.

Ebadi, the 2003 Peace Prize winner, was speaking at a human rights meeting in Tehran.

She said any accused person has the right to have a lawyer. Ebadi said even the judiciary chief himself has stressed this irrefutable right, but she said that many, mainly political, prisoners cannot avail themselves of it.

She said that she was jailed for representing students involved in protest demonstrations and her colleague, Nasser Zarafshan, is still in jail for having taken on the 1999 controversial case of slain Iranian dissidents.

Ebadi said that just because people like her are struggling for human rights and justice does not make them political opponents. "We want justice, not political turmoil," she said.