November 26, 2005

France awards prize to Iran dissident

‎ TEHRAN, Nov 22 (AFP) - Iranian human rights campaigner Emaddedin Baghi, who heads ‎the Committee for the Defence of Prisoners' Rights, has been awarded France's annual ‎human rights prize, French authorities said Tuesday.
‎ "I was given the prize for my activities for prisoners as well creating an atmosphere to ‎challenge the death penalty," Baghi told AFP.
‎ "The prize can motivate human rights activists in that their efforts are not hidden from the ‎outside world."
‎ France's National Advisory Commission on Human Rights said that Baghi and four co-‎laureates would be handed the prize from Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on December ‎‎12.
‎ "I do not think it's a political prize because we do not have a hardline or radical stance," ‎Baghi said.
‎ The dissident has had frequent run-ins with Iran's clerical regime.
‎ In 2000 Baghi was jailed for three years for his writings in several pro-reform newspapers. ‎The writings included arguments against the death penalty, which is widely used in the ‎Islamic republic.
‎ After his release he was again handed a one-year prison sentence for "propagating against ‎the regime" and having links with opposition groups, although this sentence has not yet been ‎applied.
‎ Last year he was also prevented from leaving Iran for Europe and the United States to ‎receive a 50,000 dollar Civil Courage prize in New York as well as to meet European Union ‎officials working on human rights.‎

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