Monday, December 22, 2008

Iran shuts down human rights center

From WaPo:
Iranian authorities on Sunday closed the office of the country's main human rights organization, headed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

Dozens of plainclothes detectives and local police officers entered the Center for the Defense of Human Rights in Tehran and shut it down hours before a ceremony was to take place commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

An Interior Ministry commission that issues permits for political organizations said the center was carrying out illegal activities, such as publishing statements, writing letters to international organizations and holding news conferences, the semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported.

The commission, according to the news agency, accused Ebadi's center of distributing propaganda against the state. The report also cited repeated warnings delivered to the center and said the building had been sealed on the order of Tehran's top prosecutor.

Iran has a history of arresting and pressuring dissidents who question the country's record on human rights and democracy.
Nothing says "human rights" more than arresting people for "publishing statements, writing letters to international organizations and holding news conferences."

Iran will often claim to be in the vanguard of human rights, never failing to accuse the US and Israel of violating human rights. Of course, its own human rights record is horrible; violently breaking up peaceful demonstrations for women's rights, for example, and employing religious police to enforce "morality" laws.