Wednesday: Iranian Nobel Laureate to speak at M-A High


Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will speak at Menlo-Atherton High School on Wednesday, March 9, on her new book, "Until We are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran." The event is sold out.

Born in the northwestern Iranian city of Hamadan in 1947, Ms. Ebadi was educated in Tehran and became the country's first female judge in 1969, before all female judges were dismissed following the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

She continued to do research and write books for several years and in 1992 set up a private practice to handle contentious cases. She was then incarcerated after being charged with "spreading lies against the Islamic Republic." She has been in exile from Iran since 2009.

Ms. Ebadi's book picks up where her Nobel Prize bio leaves off. According to publisher Random House, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power in 2005, Ms. Ebadi's phones were wiretapped and her law firm bugged. Spies followed her, detained her daughter, arrested her sister, and harassed her colleagues.

Her home was attacked by mobs, her office was seized, her lectures were shut down, and a death threat was nailed to her door. Despite the threats and attacks she faced, Random House says, "This is a woman who would never give up, no matter the risks."

Desmond Tutu, the South African social rights activist, retired Anglican bishop and the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner, said he encourages people to read the book "to understand how her struggle for human rights continued after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. It is also fascinating to see how she has been affected positively and negatively by her Nobel Prize."

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