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Nobelist speaks Friday at U.

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Shirin Ebadi

Shirin Ebadi

Iranian attorney and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi comes to Utah Friday to speak at the University of Utah for the Tanner Humanities Center's second annual Leaders Lecture Forum. She is the first Muslim woman as well as the first Iranian to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

The title of her talk is "Human Rights: The Struggle in Iran." She'll speak in the Olpin Union Ballroom at 11 a.m. The event is free and the public is invited.

Ebadi graduated from the University of Tehran's law school and was a judge, one of the first female judges in Iran, from 1975 to 1979. After the revolution of 1979, she was forced to resign her judgeship. She was eventually able to work as an attorney again and she began defending political dissenters and citizens, especially women, who could not find justice within the Iranian legal system.

Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

A few years ago, when she was in the United States promoting her autobiography, Ebadi spoke to the Deseret News, saying she believed democracy was on the rise in Iran. Her proof was that demonstrators were being arrested in ever increasing numbers.

Within the past year she has made international headlines with several high-profile cases. She defended Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian-American scholar who ran the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C., and had been imprisoned in Iran when she returned for a visit. Esfandiari was eventually released and allowed to leave Iran.

Ebadi also was the chief attorney for the mother of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who was arrested in 2003 while taking photos outside a Tehran prison. She died in custody a few days later of head injuries. That case is still pending.

Most recently, Ebadi has spoken out against the treatment of five convicted robbers. The judicial authorities punished them with amputation of their right hands and left feet.

If you go ...

What: Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi

Where: Olpin Union Ballroom, University of Utah

When: Friday, 11 a.m.

How much: free

Also: on Friday, a dinner speech, call 581-7989.