London: Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin
Ebadi on Friday accused the Iranian authorities of lying when they
denied seizing her Nobel Peace Prize medal.
"They are not telling the truth," Ebadi told BBC World
Service radio in an interview in London. "They seized my bank
account and stopped my retirement pension and also my
husband`s bank account and pension.
"My husband also had a deposit box in the bank and in
that was my Nobel Prize and the medal of the Legion d`Honneur.
Speaking through a translator, she added: "The Nobel
Prize was in the deposit box in Tejarat bank and they seized
that deposit box."
The Iranian foreign ministry has denied seizing the medal
although it implicitly confirmed that Ebadi`s assets had been
blocked on the grounds that no tax had been paid on them.
But Ebadi, a strong critic of President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad`s regime, dismissed this explanation.
"The Iranian authorities are not telling the truth
because according to our tax laws, there is no tax payable on
the Nobel Prize," she said.
"Assuming they are telling the truth and I have to pay
tax on this prize, why have they confiscated and seized the
box belonging to my husband?
"Besides, the order to seize our bank accounts should
have come from the tax authorities and the order to seize the
box came from the Revolutionary Court."
Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her campaign
for democracy and human rights in Iran.