THE WORLDPOST
01/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Shirin Ebadi Office Shut Down By Iran: Nobel Laureate Claims Harassment

Iranian authorities have shut down the office of a human rights group led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, the AP reports.

The police raid targeted the Center for Protecting Human Rights as it was preparing to hold a celebration marking the 60th anniversary of Human Rights Day later in the day. Iranian authorities banned Ebadi's group last year.

Nargest Mohammadi, a senior member of the group, says police closed down the building where the group was operating in north Tehran.

She says the police and plainclothes security officials who carried out Sunday's raid did not provide any explanation or present a warrant.

Much more from CNN:

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi was briefly taken into custody Sunday as Iranian authorities raided and indefinitely shut down two of her offices in Tehran, she told CNN.

The Iranian authorities never gave her an explanation for the crackdown, and she was later released, she said, adding that there were no arrests in the raid, but the offices remain closed.

Speaking from her home, Ebadi said the closed offices belong to two non-governmental organizations funded by her Nobel Peace Prize earnings: the Center for Participation in Clearing Mine Areas, which helps victims of landmines in Iran; and Defenders of Human Rights Center, founded five years ago to report human rights violations in Iran, defend political prisoners, and support families of those prisoners.

Ebadi said Iranian authorities had no written justification for Sunday's raid, which she described as illegal.

"The collective activities of the human rights activists in Iran have angered the Iranian authorities so much that they have illegally ordered the closing down of two NGOs," she said.

Last Monday, Ebadi called for the release of "a pioneering Iranian blogger, who is reported to have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel," Reuters reported. "Hossein Derakhshan, nicknamed 'the Blogfather,' is credited with launching a blogging revolution in Iran with his Internet diaries, in both English and Farsi, which have in the past been critical of the Tehran government."