July 31, 2010


Tuesday, 29 December 2009
PARIS, Dec 29, 2009 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner onTuesday called on Iran to release all those "unjustly" detained, in a statement following the arrest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi'ssister. Kouchner said the arrest of Nooshin Ebadi was a form of "unacceptable pressure on this courageous activist" and voiced concern for Iranian rights activist Emaddedin Baghi, who has also been detained. "I am asking Iranian authorities to respect the democratic right of its citizens and Iranian political parties to express themselves, to respect the freedom of the press and to release all those who have been unjustly detained," he said.

Nooshin Ebadi, a professor of medicine described by her award-winning sister as "not an activist", was taken from her home on Monday by intelligence agents and jailed, according to Shirin Ebadi . Dozens of journalists and activists were rounded up and eight people were killed in protests on Sunday, seen as the biggest show of opposition to theTehran regime since contested presidential elections in June. "Loyal to its tradition of solidarity with democratic movements around the world, France reaffirms its support to all those who aspire to freedom anddemocracy in Iran," said Kouchner.

Eight people were killed as security forces used teargas, batons and eventually live rounds to push back thousands who had taken to the streets on Sunday, on the holy day of Ashura. France has severely condemned the crackdown by the Iranian security forces and has called for a political solution. The sharp criticism from Paris has come amid tensions over the Tehran trial of a 24-year-old French national, Clotilde Reiss, who is accused of taking part in protests that erupted following the vote in June. Iran's conservative parliament has called for maximum punishment of opposition demonstrators and dismissed criticism from Western governments as "disgusting comments."


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