Shirin Ebadi is the first woman in the
history of Iranian justice to have served as a judge. Ebadi sat for
the Tehran University entrance exams and gained a place at the Faculty
of Law in 1965. She received her law degree in three-and-a-half years,
and immediately sat for the entrance exams for the Department of Justice.
After a six-month apprenticeship in adjudication, she began to serve
officially as a judge in March 1969. While serving as a judge, she
continued her education and obtained a doctorate with honors in private
law from Tehran University in
In 1975, she became the President of Bench 24 of the Tehran
City Court. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in
1979, women were forbidden to serve as judges so Ebadi was dismissed
from her post and given clerical duties. Ebadi requested and was
granted early retirement. Since the Bar Association had remained
closed for some time since the revolution and was being managed
by the Judiciary, her application to practice private law was
down. She was, in effect, housebound for many years.
used her time of unemployment to write several books and had
many articles published in Iranian journals. Her most recent
work "The Rights
of Women," published by Ganj-e Danesh, Tehran (2002) is
expected to be
translated in English by UNICEF.
1992 Ebadi finally succeeded in obtaining a lawyer's license
and set up her own private practice. She began defending many
cases; some were national cases. Among those cases were her representations
of the families of serial murder victims. She also represented
several journalists or their families, accused or sentenced in
freedom of expression. She took on a large number of social cases,
including some involving child abuse.
Ebadi cofounded the Association for Support of Children's Rights.
She was the association's president until 2000, and continues
to assist the association as a legal adviser. Currently the association
has over 500 active members.
In 2001, Ebadi
cofounded the Human Rights Defense Centre with four defense lawyers.
She is currently the centre's president.
the summer of 2002, Ebadi made a proposal to the Islamic Consultative
Assembly (Majlis) to ratify a law on prohibiting all forms of violence
against children; as a result the law was promptly debated and
Shirin Ebadi was born in the city of Hamedan in northwestern
1947. Her family consisted of academics and practicing Muslims.
She moved to Tehran with her family at the age of one and has been
a resident in the capital. She is married and has two daughters.
In 2003 The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Shirin Ebadi for her efforts promoting democracy and human rights,
especially for her focus on the struggle for the rights of women
Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 2003, Editor Tore Frangsmyr,
[Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 2004.
For further biographical information please see website
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