Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi: How has free speech changed in Iran?

Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi talks to Free Speech Debate about her book Until We Are Free and the state of free speech and human rights activism in Iran.

Shirin Ebadi was the first Muslim woman and Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It was awarded to her in 2003 “for her efforts for democracy and human rights” in Iran and her “struggle for the rights of women and children”.

Born in 1947, Shirin Ebadi trained as a lawyer and obtained her Masters from Tehran University before becoming the first female judge in Iran in 1969.  Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, she was dismissed from her role and assigned clerical positions. In 1992 she obtained her lawyer’s license and set up her own practice. Since then, Shirin Ebadi has represented various high-profile cases involving the families of political victims, journalists and child custody cases.

In her compelling book “Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran” (published by Rider 3 March 2016), she describes her ongoing struggle with the Iranian regime which has subjected her to years of intimidation and violence and eventually forced her into exile. Free Speech Debate’s Sarah Glatte and Maja Sojref spoke to Shirin Ebadi about her book and asked her about the changing role of free speech and political activism in Iran. Read a transcript of the conversation here.

“Until We Are Free My Fight for Human Rights in Iran” by Shirin Ebadi (published by Rider 3 March 2016) is available online and in bookstores here.

Read more:

Comments (0)

Automated machine translations are provided by Google Translate. They should give you a rough idea of what the contributor has said, but cannot be relied on to give an accurate, nuanced translation. Please read them with this in mind.

  1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    “Religion will not necessarily be a source of unity since there are various interpretations of religion which could cause disputes”. Spot on.

    That the history of the Abrahamic religions and in each other have consistently fragmented and caused war and further caused dilapidation of life chances for those that understand that superstition is nonsense is tragic historically and culturally but no longer acceptable to promote in the culture of a, supposedly, informed world is the real evil that humanity is dealing with. We are our own worst enemy.

    Sorry for such a long sentence to say that the lack of freedom of speech originates in power. Unfortunately power still resides in sociopathy: def. ( ..a personality disorder characterized by a lack of social responsibility and failure to adapt to ethical and social standards of the community.

    Power through a global community needs to be spread through all of us in terms of responsibility and reality if we are to have a future as a species. We need to get rid of superstition pdq.

Leave a comment in any language


Swipe left to browse all of the highlights.

Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford.

The University of Oxford