Azadeh N. Shahshahani

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Azadeh N. Shahshahani is an American human rights attorney based in Atlanta.[1] She is Legal & Advocacy Director for Project South. She previously served as president of the National Lawyers Guild and director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia.

Early life and education[edit]

Shahshahani was born in Tehran, a few days after the 1979 Iranian Revolution [2]. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as article editor for the Michigan Journal of International Law. Shahshahani also has a master's degree in Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of Michigan.


Shahshahani has worked for a number of years in the US South to protect the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities.[3][4][5][6][7] She is the author or editor of several human rights reports, including a 2017 report, Imprisoned Justice: Inside Two Immigrant Detention Centers in Georgia, co-produced by Project South and the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic. Shahshahani has appeared on Democracy Now! and BBC, and has been quoted by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the Guardian, Atlanta Journal Constitution, and other outlets.

Shahshahani has served as a trial monitor in Turkey, an election monitor in Venezuela and Honduras, and as a member of the jury in people’s tribunals on Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil. She has also participated in international fact-finding delegations to post-revolutionary Tunisia and Egypt as well as a delegation focused on the situation of Palestinian political prisoners.

Shahshahani serves as Co-chair of the US Human Rights Network Working Group on National Security, on the Advisory Council of the American Association of Jurists, and as a Board Member of Defending Rights & Dissent.[8] She previously served as Chair of Refugee Women's Network and as Co-chair of the American Bar Association Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Committee on the Rights of Immigrants.


Shahshahani writes frequently for various national and international publications such as the Nation, the Guardian, Al-Jazeera, HuffPost, Salon, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution on a range of issues pertaining to immigrants' rights, discrimination and state surveillance targeting Muslim communities, and foreign policy.

Awards and honors[edit]

Shahshahani is the recipient of the Shanara M. Gilbert Human Rights Award from the Society of American Law Teachers, the National Lawyers Guild Ernie Goodman Award, the Emory Law School Outstanding Leadership in the Public Interest Award, the Emory University MLK Jr. Community Service Award, the US Human Rights Network Human Rights Movement Builder Award, the American Immigration Lawyers Association Advocacy Award, the Fulton County Daily Report Distinguished Leader Award, and the University of Georgia Law School Equal Justice Foundation Public Interest Practitioner Award, among several others. She has also been recognized as an Abolitionist by the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University & the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and as one of Atlanta’s 500 Most Powerful Leaders by Atlanta Magazine. In 2016, she was chosen by the Mundo Hispanico Newspaper as a "Personaje Destacado del Año" (Outstanding Person of the Year) for defending the rights of immigrants in Georgia.[9] In 2017, she was chosen by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the 40 under 40 notable Georgians.


  • Decolonizing Justice in Tunisia: From Transitional Justice to a People's Tribunal. Monthly Review. 2019 (co-authored with Corinna Mullin and Nada Trigui).
  • From Pelican Bay to Palestine: The Legal Normalization of Force-Feeding Hunger-Strikers. Michigan Journal of Race & Law. 2019 (co-authored with Priya Arvind Patel).
  • Sanctuary Policies: Local Resistance In The Face Of State Anti-Sanctuary Legislation. CUNY Law Review. 2018 (co-authored with Amy Pont).
  • Local Police Entanglement with Immigration Enforcement in Georgia. Cardozo Law Review de•novo, 2017.
  • No Papers? You Can’t Have Water: A Critique of Localities’ Denial of Utilities to Undocumented Immigrants. Emory International Law Review, 2017 (co-authored with Kathryn Madison).
  • Indiscriminate Power: Racial Profiling and Surveillance Since 9/11. University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, 2015 (co-authored with Carlos Torres and Tye Tavaras).
  • Immigration and Racial Profiling. Cultural Issues in Criminal Defense. 3rd & 4th editions, August 2010 and June 2015.
  • Challenging the Practice of Solitary Confinement in Immigration Detention in Georgia and Beyond. CUNY Law Review, 2014 (co-authored with Natasha El-Sergany)
  • Shattered Dreams: An Analysis of the Georgia Board of Regents' Admissions Ban from a Constitutional and International Human Rights Perspective. Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal, 2013 (co-authored with Chaka Washington)
  • The legacy of US intervention and the Tunisian revolution: promises and challenges one year on. Interface. Volume 4 (1): 67 - 101, May 2012 (co-authored with Corinna Mullin)
  • Reflections on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversary of September 11. Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts. Volume 4, Number 3, 2011
  • Reflections. SHIFTING BALANCE SHEETS Women's Stories of Naturalized Citizenship & Cultural Attachment. July 1, 2011


  1. ^ "Fixin' to Go Mainstream: Asian Americans are on the rise in Southern politics". Hyphen Magazine. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
  2. ^ Quigley, Bill (2016-05-31). "From Tehran to Atlanta, Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani Fighting for Human Rights". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  3. ^ "From Tehran to Atlanta: Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani's Fight for Human Rights". Counterpunch. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
  4. ^ Meet 3 female human rights lawyers fighting for change worldwide
  5. ^ "AILA Presents Azadeh Shahshahani with the 2012 Advocacy Award". AILA. 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  6. ^ "Muslim woman, Douglasville settle lawsuit over her hijab". Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  7. ^ "Feds Pay Thousands For Wrongful Deportation". 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  8. ^ "Board of Directors". Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  9. ^ MundoHispanico, issue #1316, October 6–12, 2016.