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Iran Seizes Human Rights Lawyer's Nobel Prize


Shirin Ebadi and her colleagues say the government is demanding $400,000 in back taxes on her $1.3 million prize. But they say such prize money is not taxed under Iranian law.

Iran has frozen the bank accounts of Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and confiscated her Peace Prize medal.

Ebadi and her colleagues say the government is demanding $400,000 in back taxes on her $1.3 million prize. But Ebadi and her colleagues say such prize money is not taxed under Iranian law.

Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called the confiscation of Ebadi's medal "shocking" and said it was the first time in the 108-year history of the prize that it has been confiscated by national authorities. He said Iran's actions are a sign of the increasing pressure Tehran is putting on the human rights lawyer and dissident.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry summoned Iran's envoy (charge d'affaires) in Oslo to protest the action. The ministry also expressed "grave concern" about the treatment of Ebadi's husband, saying he had been arrested in Tehran and severely beaten.

Tehran has not publicly responded to the charges.

Ebadi became the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.

Ebadi is an outspoken critic of the Iranian government. Last month, she said she does not agree with the result of the country's disputed June election, which handed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP..





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