Less than a year after authorities stormed the offices of Iranian human-rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, taking sensitive documents and her computer, unidentified authorities have now allegedly taken the Nobel Peace Prize medal and diploma from Ebadi’s bank safety deposit box, said officials in Norway, which administers the prize.
Outraged officials in Oslo say the incident is unprecedented and has sent shock waves through the Norwegian foreign ministry.
“This is the first time a Nobel Peace Prize has been confiscated by national authorities,” Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store said in a statement posted to his agency’s website. “The medal and the diploma have been removed from Dr. Ebadi’s bank box, together with other personal items. Such an act leaves us feeling shock and disbelief.”
Ebadi was awarded the prestigious prize in 2003 for her many years of legal work advocating on behalf of Iranian political activists, religious and ethnic minorities, women and children. She was the first Iranian to win the prize.
But intimidation and harassment from Iranian authorities have become a part of everyday life for Ebadi. She has had her home vandalized, apparently by members of hard-line political groups close to the