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Iranian Nobel Laureate Says Official Lashings Are Torture

Shirin Ebadi in Madrid on February 16
Shirin Ebadi in Madrid on February 16
TEHRAN -- Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi says that lashings -- a standard form of punishment in Iran -- is tantamount to torture and a violation of human rights.

Speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Ebadi condemned last week's flogging of two women, who were imprisoned for their participation in a labor protest on May 1, 2008. Several other demonstrators were also beaten for attending the protest.

As Iran's economy reels from the global financial crisis, labor activists fighting for better wages and working conditions are reporting increasing state pressure.

Ebadi, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her human rights work, is the only Iranian to win the award.