|16 December 2004|
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wins Relief from U.S. Embargo
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP
|16 December 2004 - The U.S. Treasury Department today revised regulations that required government licenses for the publication of books and other materials by citizens of embargoed nations including Iran. A lawsuit filed by Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Iranian national, and The Strothman Agency LLC of Boston, and another suit brought by PEN American Center and Arcade Publishing, pressured the government to end what amounted to prior restraint on freedom of speech.|
"We are very pleased that the U.S. Treasury Department has revised its regulations," said Wendy J. Strothman, founder of The Strothman Agency. "Now American readers can hear directly from Shirin Ebadi, an eloquent fighter for human rights, and from other writers living in embargoed countries."
The legal challenges to the regulations from Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets and Control were filed in October and November, 2004 in U.S. District Court in New York. They sought to force OFAC to abide by the intent of Congress which clearly exempted "information and informational" materials from any type of regulation.
Shirin Ebadi and The Strothman Agency were represented by Philip Lacovara, senior counsel at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP. "Our lawsuit achieved what we set out to accomplish," said Lacovara. "The Treasury Department, facing the prospect of a federal court decision striking down its restrictive policy as unconstitutional, has reopened the channels of communication between citizens of Iran and Cuba and the American people."
Shirin Ebadi will visit the U.S. in May 2005 for a series of lectures.
Mr. Lacovara is currently a board member of The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and also led the appeal for the families of four American church women slain in El Salvador in 1980. The Mayer, Brown team representing Ms. Ebadi and the Strothman Agency was comprised of 6 lawyers, including, Anthony J. Diana, Ryan P. Farley, Evan Cruetz, Matthew Carrico, and Deborah Wolmark.
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, LLP
The Strothman Agency LLC
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