Shadi Sadr

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Shadi Sadr in International People's Tribunal, November 2015.

Shadi Sadr (Persian: شادی صدر‎; born 1974) is an Iranian lawyer, Human Rights advocate, essayist and journalist. She co-founded Justice for Iran (JFI) in 2010 and is currently the Executive Director of the NGO. She has published and lectured worldwide.[1]

Background and education[edit]

Sadr holds a bachelor's degree in law and a master's degree in international law, both attained from Tehran University (1999). Even before starting at university, she had been working as a journalist for youth magazines as well as several journals and newspapers[2].

She worked actively as a human rights lawyer in Iran until 2009, as well as finding and directing Raahi, a legal advice centre for vulnerable women. In a surge of repression against civil society in 2007, the Iranian authorities closed down Raahi. Sadr also established Women In Iran in 2002[3][4], a website dedicated to women's rights activists. She was also a founding member of the feminist group, Women’s Field (Meydaan-e-Zanan)[5] which initiated several campaigns including a campaign to remove the ban on women to enter the stadiums[6]. While in Iran, she represented several women sentenced to death by stoning and hanging and as a result of her extensive activities, was imprisoned on various occasions prior to her exile to Europe in 2009 where she co-founded the human rights organisation, Justice for Iran.


As an expert on human rights in Iran[7], Shadi Sadr has led many campaigns and organisations which have endeavoured to eradicate human rights violations and abusive practices by the state.

As a practicing lawyer, Shadi Sadr has successfully defended several women activists and journalists in court, who had been sentenced to execution.[3] She is one of the Iranians who have campaigned to eradicate the practice of capital punishment by stoning, particularly of women, in a campaign known as Stop Stoning Forever.[8] This campaign is one of several launched by Women's Field, a women's rights group of which Sadr was a member. This chapter of Sadr’s life has been portrayed in the documentary Women in Shroud which were shown in international human rights film festival all over the world.[9]

Following the 2003 Bam earthquake, she helped organise a relief effort to collect food and supplies for women and children in the area of Bam.[1] Sadr was the defense lawyer of several human rights defenders, including Shiva Nazar Ahari, a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, who was arrested on 14 June 2009.[10]

In 2010, with Shadi Amin, Shadi Sadr co-founded a new organisation Justice for Iran (JFI) which aims to address and eradicate the practice of impunity that empowers officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to perpetrate widespread human right violations against their citizens and to hold them accountable for their actions.

As the Executive Director of Justice for Iran (JFI), she has overseen the creation and implementation of several research projects on gross violations of the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTs, women, and those who are persecuted because of their political beliefs. She is also the co-author of Crime and Impunity: Sexual Torture of Women in Islamic Republic Prisons.[11]

Shadi Sadr served as a member of the panel of judges for the 2015 International People’s Tribunal (IPT)1965 on the crimes occurred in Indonesia[12] and the 2017 People's Tribunal on Myanmar.[13]


Shadi Sadr was one of 33 women arrested in March 2007 after gathering outside a Tehran courtroom to protest peacefully against the trial of five women accused of “propaganda against the system”, “acting against national security” and “participating in an illegal demonstration” in connection with a 12 June 2006 demonstration in support of women's rights.[14] Sadr was held for fifteen days in Evin Prison before being freed on bail.[15][16]

On 17 July 2009, Shadi Sadr was beaten by plainclothes militiamen and taken away as she headed toward Tehran University for participating in one of the post-2009 Presidential election protest. She was walking on Keshavarz Boulevard with several other female activists when individuals in civilian dress approached and refused to identify themselves or justify their actions before forcing her into a waiting car.[10][17][18] After she had briefly escaped, her companions were restrained as she was beaten and forced back into the car. It then took her to an unknown location.[19] She was released 11 days later on July 28, 2009.[20]

On May 17, 2010, she was convicted in absentia in a Tehran Revolutionary court of “acting against national security and harming public order” and was sentenced to six years in prison with 74 lashes.[21]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, 2004 from Women's eNews in their annual 21 Leaders for the 21st century awards,
  • In 2009, she co-received a special prize founded by Lech Wałęsa, legendary leader of Polish "Solidarity" and laureate of Nobel Peace Prize in 1983
  • She also received a Dutch human rights prize, the Human Rights Defenders Tulip, on November 9, 2009.[22]
  • In 2010, Sadr received the Alexander Prize of Law School of Santa Clara University for 'ceaseless dedication to championing the cause of Iranian women and risking her freedom to defend those who are wrongfully accused and imprisoned.'[23]
  • Also in 2010, Sadr was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton but chose not to attend and instead dedicated the award to Shiva Nazar Ahari.[24]
  • Sadr was chosen as an honoree for the 5th Annual Harvard Law International Women’s Day Portrait Exhibit in 2018.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Carline Bennett (2003-12-23). "Seven Who Create New Pathways for Success". Woman's E-News. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  2. ^ Seven Who Create New Pathways for Success
  3. ^ a b "Santa Clara Law School Human Rights Award". Archived from the original on 2012-03-24.
  4. ^ Womrn In Iran archives
  5. ^ Meydaan Archives
  6. ^ Hoghoogh (2009-08-16). "Hoghoogh-e Bashar: Women's Rights in Iran - Introduction". Hoghoogh-e Bashar. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  7. ^ "Shadi Sadr - HuffPost".
  8. ^ Julie Taboh (2009-07-02). "Film Spotlights True Story of Iranian Woman's Stoning". Voice of America. Archived from the original on July 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  9. ^ Women in Shroud
  10. ^ a b "Women's rights activist and lawyer violently arrested in Iran, says Amnesty International". Amnesty International. 2009-07-17. Archived from the original on 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  11. ^ Justice for Iran Website
  12. ^ 50 Years after massacre, the International People’s Tribunal on 1965 Crimes against Humanity in Indonesia to be held
  13. ^ The About page for the Myanmar People's Tribunal
  14. ^ Soheila Vahdati & Sanam Dolatshahi (2007-03-08). "Campaign to Free Women's Rights Defenders in Iran press release: Three Women's Rights Defenders Remain in Detention". Payvand's Iran News. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  15. ^ "Authorities free two feminist journalists but close their NGOs". Reporters without Borders. 2007-03-23. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
  16. ^ McCann, Cathy (2007-03-27). "Prominent women writers and journalists Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Jila Baniyaghoub released on bail". Article Archive. International PEN. Archived from the original on 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
  17. ^ Meris Lutz (2009-07-17). "IRAN: Human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr reportedly arrested". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  18. ^ Jim Sciutto (2009-07-17). "Former President of Iran Demands Release of Political Prisoners". ABC World News. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  19. ^ "Shadi Sadr violently abducted without headscarf". Women's Field. 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  20. ^ "شادی صدر آزاد شد(Shadi Sadr is released)" (in Persian). BBC. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  21. ^ Iran Shadi Sadr convicted to 6 years and 74 lashes
  22. ^ "Television Washington - Social Media - Go For It!". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16.
  23. ^ List of past Alexander Prize winners
  24. ^ Shadi Sadr dedicates Courage Award to imprisoned Women’s Rights Activist Shiva Nazar Ahari
  25. ^ List of 2018 honorees

External links[edit]

Media related to Shadi Sadr at Wikimedia Commons