Translation by Iran Press Watch
By Nasrin Sotoudeh ‒ attorney and human rights activist
Anniversary of the seventh year of the imprisonment of the leaders of the Baha’i Community ‒ the Yaran (“Friends” of Iran)
Our Baha’i compatriots, who were responsible for the management of the community affairs of the Iranian Baha’is ‒ the Yaran ‒ seven years ago, in an absolutely unfair trial, were sentenced to heavy prison terms. They were first sentenced to twenty years in prison, but then, due to the relentless defense of their lawyers, their incarceration was reduced to a ten year prison term; however, because of the interference of the Head of the Judiciary, they were sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment again.
I remember the day the Revolutionary Court was surrounded by Ministry of Intelligence agents for the trial of the Yaran. Later, their lawyers also were captured ‒ they are now in prison as well. I was in the same prison cell with two of them, and realized that their psychological torment, on the day of the trial, was far more than what met the eye. All of them: Mahvash Shahriari (Sabet), Jamaloddin Khanjani, Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakoli, and Afif Naeimi ‒ are between the ages of 50 and 83 years old; none of them deserve such sentences. Their verdict is unfair, and they are unquestionably in prison due to their religious beliefs. Give them back their freedom ‒ all of them!
The seven Leaders of the Baha’i Community ‒ the Yaran of Iran ‒ who were responsible for attending to the affairs of the Baha’i Community in Iran are as follows:
Mahvash Shahriari (Sabet), 63
Jamaloddin Khanjani, 82
Behrouz Azizi Tavakoli, 63
Saeid Rezaie, 57
Afif Naeimi, 54
Fariba Kamalabadi, 53
Vahid Tizfahm, 43
All but Mahvash Shahriari, 63, were arrested on 14 May 2008. Mahvash Shahriari was arrested on 5 March 2008 by officers of the Ministry of Intelligence of Iran. After long and severe interrogations, they were first sentenced to 20 years in prison; however the appeals court did not accept this term and reduced it to 10 years in prison; then the Head of the Judiciary Sadegh Larijani (1) and the Prosecutor General of Iran Mohsen Ejei (2), under the judicial review clause in amendment number 18 of the Law Regulating Public and Revolutionary Courts, sent the case of the Yaran of Iran back to the court and reinstated the original 20 year sentence.
All of these seven individuals have so far been deprived of a fair trial or leave time.
May 15 2015
1. Sadegh (or Sadeq) Ardeshir Amoli Larijani is described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadeq_Larijani
2. Gholem-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i (or Ejehei) is described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gholam-Hossein_Mohseni-Eje%27i