SANTA CLARA, Calif., November 1, 2010—Last month, an Iranian woman accused of adultery was sentenced to death by stoning. While awaiting trial the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, was lashed 99 times for appearing without a veil in a newspaper photo—which turned out to be a photo of someone else.

Improving the justice system for Iranian women like Ashtiani has been the decades-long quest of Shadi Sadr, a lawyer, journalist, and human-rights advocate who will be receiving the Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize from Santa Clara University School of Law on November 11. The award event was originally scheduled for late September, but Sadr had difficulty obtaining a travel visa in time.

Sadr has had her own life put in jeopardy for speaking out about injustice for Iranian women. She’s been arrested, beaten, and imprisoned, and was recently convicted in absentia of national-security violations, and sentenced to six years in prison and 74 lashes. In 2009 she escaped to Germany and established permanent residency.

“In America, we take for granted that our legal system is designed to protect us from arbitrary, capricious, or vengeful treatment at the hands of authorities,” said Santa Clara Law Dean Donald Polden. “What we honor in Ms. Sadr is her ceaseless, valiant, and sometimes terrifying battle to bring this sort of justice to Iranian women.”

Media have an opportunity to meet Ms. Sadr at various events surrounding the Alexander Prize and during her visit to SCU, which will begin November 8 and include events for faculty members and students. Media are invited to attend the awards ceremony November 11 at 7 p.m. at Santa Clara University’s Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. Requests for interviews are being handled by Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations, or (408) 554-5121.

Ms. Sadr has touched the lives of thousands of individuals through the entities she has established, and by her support of campaigns such as "End Stoning Forever." She founded the website "Women in Iran" and was the director of Raahi, a legal center for women which has since been closed.

Sadr has been awarded numerous human-rights awards, including 2010 International Women of Courage Award, the Ida B. Wells award for bravery in journalism, and a prize created by Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

About the Katharine and George Alexander Prize
Katharine and George Alexander have endowed the Law Prize to be awarded annually. The purpose of the prize is to recognize a person from anywhere around the world who has used his or her skill, knowledge, and abilities in the field of law to correct an injustice in a significant manner. The hope of the donors is that the Prize will not only give the public a higher regard for the legal profession but will also be an inspiration within the legal profession and a recognition of the good work of so many in the law.

About Santa Clara Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, founded in 1911 on the site of California’s oldest operating higher-education institution, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. One of the nation’s most diverse law schools, Santa Clara Law offers its 1,000 students an academically rigorous program, including graduate degrees in international law and intellectual property law; combined J.D./MBA and J.D./MSIS degrees; and certificates in intellectual property law, international law, and public interest and social justice law. Santa Clara Law is located in the world-class business center of Silicon Valley, and is distinguished nationally for its top-ranked program in intellectual property. For more information, see

Media Contact:
Deborah Lohse
Asst. Media Relations Director
Santa Clara University
(408) 554-5121