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Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

Shirin Ebadi Presses Back on Larijani Criticisms of UN Special Rapporteur

Nobel laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi has responded to a letter from Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of the Iranian judiciary’s human rights center, critical of the work of Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran.

Larijani’s recent letter to Jahangir described a formal statement released by her office as “incorrect, unjustified, and dispiriting.” He characterized Jahangir’s work as “lacking the smallest degree of professional impartiality” and asserted that she ought to first address her concerns to the Iranian government and await a response before publishing formal reports. Larijani added that “out of respect for Mrs. Jahangir” he has asked his colleagues in the judiciary’s human rights center to respond to “the claims which have been raised.”

Larijani did not specify which of two statements Jahangir has released since the formal beginning of her term as Special Rapporteur on January 1 he had in mind, nor did he explicitly reference any of the human rights concerns they contain. On January 9, the Special Rapporteur released a statement expressing concern over the judiciary’s treatment of political prisoners on hunger strike in urgent need of care. On January 17, Jahangir and two other human rights experts published a joint statement urging the Iranian judiciary to halt its illegal policy of executing juvenile offenders, citing in particular the case of Sajad Sanjari, a young man on death row for a stabbing homicide allegedly committed when he was just 15 years old.

Legal expert and human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi pressed back again Larijani’s comments: “Mr. Larijani speaks groundlessly and without reasoned argument, rejecting every criticism of the Iranian government’s approach, lumping them together unseen and unheard. He has a clinical fear of enemies and infiltration and is unprepared to hear a single word – before criticism reaches his ears, he says you’re lying. This has been his way of doing things for years.”

Ebadi referenced an instance in which Larijani’s aggressive behavior nearly earned him removal from a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council: “His approach was so aggressive at times that he ended up receiving a warning in a meeting investigating the Iranian government. They told him if he kept being so rude, they’d boot him from the room.”

Read the original Persian reporting at Deutsche Welle:

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