Early Life and Education
Ebadi was born in the city of Hamedan [northwestern Iran] in 1947. Her father, Mohammad Ali Ebadi, was one of the first lecturers in commercial law, and head of the Hamedan Registry Office.
In 1965, Ebadi passed the exams to enter the Faculty of Law at Tehran University. Upon graduation, she successfully passed the entrance exams for hte Department of Justice and started to serve as a judge in March 1969. She completed her PhD with hours in private law from Tehran University in 1971. She is the first woman in the history of Iranian justice to have served as a judge.
Iran Revolution 1979
Due to the belief that Islam forbids women to serve as judges, female judges were dismissed from their posts and given clerical duties. After protesting, they promoted all former female judges to the position of "experts" in the Justice Department. Ebadi put in a request for early retirement and attempted for the following decade to practice law. In 1992 she finaly succeeded in obtaining a lawyer's licence and set up her own practice. During this time, she wrote a series of articles and books on points of law and women's rights.
Activities as a lawyer of human rights
Ebadi is a campaigner for strengthening the legal status of children and women, the latter of which played a key role in the May 1997 landslide presidential election of the reformist Mohammad Khatami.
As a lawyer, she is known for taking up cases of pro-western liberal and dissident figures who have fallen foul of the judiciary. She has represented the family of Dariush Forouhar, a dissident intellectual and politician who was found stabbed to death at his home. His wife, Parvaneh Eskandari, was also killed at the same time. The couple were among several dissidents who died in a spate of grisly murders that terrorized Iran's intellectual community. The murders were found to be committed by a team of the employees of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.
Ebadi has also defended various child abuse cases and a few cases dealing with bans of periodicals. She has also established two non-governmental organizations in Iran with western funding, the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child (SPRC) and the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC). She also helped in the drafting of the original text of a law against physical abuse of children, which was passed by the Iranian parliament in 2002. In December 2008, the two NGOs she established were shut down and Human Rights Watch have expressed concern for her safety.