In an article published in Agence France Presse (AFP), Ms. Ebadi announced:
"In court I will defend the Bahais. Two colleagues of mine and I have accepted their case, although they were not able to see their families."In retaliation, harsh accusations were made by Iranian state media against her daughter. The following news release in AFP reports on her plans and and her response to these accusations:
Iran's Ebadi denies state media report on daughter
16 hours ago
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has denied a state media report that her daughter had converted from Islam to the outlawed Bahai faith and suggested it was prompted by her legal defence work.
Ebadi told the reformist Kargozaran newspaper that she believed the allegation against her daughter had to do with her decision to defend seven Bahais arrested on charges of having contact with Iran's arch foe Israel.
"I am proud to say that my family and I are Shiites," she said in the comments published by the paper on Thursday.
"In court I will defend the Bahais. Two colleagues of mine and I have accepted their case, although they were not able to see their families."
On Wednesday, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported that Ebadi's daughter had converted to the Bahai religion nearly a year ago, citing what it called "an informed source."
The allegation is a serious one in Iran. Not only is the Bahai faith outlawed but any conversion away from Islam is regarded as apostasy, an offence punishable by death.
On Saturday, Tehran deputy prosecutor Hassan Hadad announced that seven Bahais had been arrested.
"They had formed a group and were having contacts with Israel and were getting orders from them to act against our interest," he charged.
In May, the European Union expressed "serious concern about the continuing systematic discrimination and harassment of the Iranian Bahais on the grounds of their religion."
The EU presidency said it was "deeply concerned" by reports that ministry of intelligence officers had arrested six members of the Bahai faith and were holding them in jail.
Iran said in January it had sentenced 54 Bahais for anti-regime propaganda, three of them to four years in jail while the rest received suspended one-year terms.
The Bahai faith originally developed in Iran in 1863 but is not recognised by the government. Its followers are regarded as infidels and have suffered persecution both before and since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Bahais consider Bahaullah, born in 1817, the last prophet sent to Earth by God. He was banished and spent 40 years in exile before dying in the Holy Land in 1892. His tomb lies just outside the Israeli port city of Haifa.