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UN Condemns Harassment of Iranian Rights Activist

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he is greatly concerned about reports that Iranian lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi is being harassed.

Mr. Ban Saturday called on Iranian authorities to take immediate measures to prevent any further harassment and to ensure Ebadi's safety.

On Thursday January 1, Iranian protesters spray-painted slogans on Ebadi's home, chanted death threats and shouted accusations that she supports Israel's Gaza offensive.

The demonstration was the third time in 11 days that Iranian authorities or hardline groups close to the government have moved against the human rights lawyer. On Monday, December 29, police raided her private law office, seizing computers and her clients' confidential documents.

The United States has also criticized the harassment, saying such actions are part of an "increasingly hostile campaign" targeting human rights activists in Iran.

In December, authorities closed Ebadi's human rights center.

Iran's judiciary says the closure is not permanent and that the center can re-open once the group obtains the correct permit. Ebadi is Iran's leading human rights activist and the first Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

She was awarded the honor in 2003 for her years of legal work on behalf of Iranian political activists, religious and ethnic minorities, women and children. In the years since, she has endured repeated death threats from radical groups and regular government intimidation.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.