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Sweden offers refuge to exiled Iranian activist

Published: 16 Mar 2010 08:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Mar 2010 08:47 GMT+01:00

Iranian journalist and women's rights activist Parvin Ardalan has accepted Sweden's offer of refuge after she was sentenced to several jail terms in her native country.

"She has accepted our offer and should be here by the end of the month," Fredrik Elg, cultural attaché in the southern city of Malmö, told AFP.

Ardalan had been invited to Malmö within the framework of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), and would be housed at a secret address in the city for up to two years, he said.

The activist, born in 1967, would also receive a grant to allow her to "freely carry out her profession," the city of Malmö said in a statement.

Ardalan had left Iran and was "out travelling," Elg said, adding that he did not know where she would be staying before settling in Malmö.

Last week, she was in Paris accepting a "Net Citizen" award from Google and French media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on behalf of the women's rights blog we-change.org.

Ardalan, who has been sentenced to several jail terms in Iran on charges of seeking to harm national security, became a household name in Sweden after she won the 2007 Olof Palme Prize for her work to promote women's rights in her home country.

Teheran's refusal to allow her to attend the ceremony in March 2008 caused outrage in the Scandinavian country.

The Olof Palme Memorial Fund on Monday welcomed the news that Ardalan would

be coming to Sweden.

"It has been a pleasure to see the interest surrounding her work and I am convinced that Parvin Ardalan will contribute to both the cultural life in Malmö and increased work for human rights in Iran," head of the Fund Pierre Schori said in a statement.

The Olof Palme Prize is named after the Swedish prime minister who was gunned down in February 1986.

Created to promote peace and disarmament and combat racism and xenophobia,

the prize consists of a diploma and $75,000.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:09 March 16, 2010 by glamshek
This is not a normal matter. It is same as inciting unrest in a different country. We live in 21st century and Sweden should have some regard for countries that do not necessarily agree with them. It is condemned with the strongest possible words.
13:07 March 16, 2010 by LailaC1
I am so proud that Parvin Ardalan will be living in Sweden. Women's rights should be actively promoted as we ARE in the 21st century and should have progressed from "tradition".
13:58 March 16, 2010 by Nemesis
This is definately a good act on Sverige´s part and an actions for all Swedes to be proud of.

I hope there is a very public celebration when she moves to Malmö and that all welcome her.
22:41 March 16, 2010 by Michael84
A very understanding move. On the other note i hope that infamous gov. fall soon.
00:18 March 17, 2010 by Griggy
This news is one of the reasons l'm proud to live in Sweden in the 21st century! The country made the right choice for all the right reasons.
00:50 March 17, 2010 by DAVID T
Well as a citizin of her country she should have known the laws and if she broke them she should server her jail term
14:24 March 26, 2010 by mitrap
@David

what???!!! r u ok? do u know anything of her crimes?! people are being arrested without having a court,or a lawyer in the court. these activists break the law if they say children should work in a safe condition,women are not half the men, or men should not be allowed to have 4 wives, or women can have the right to divorce and... So u really think she deserves the jail? or u think no one should do anything against these rules?! for gods sake think before writing anything here
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