Outcry from India against Injustice

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Justice J.S. Verma
Justice J.S. Verma

Editor’s Note: This letter is another significant indication of international outcry against injustice perpetrated against the Baha’i community of Iran.  This open letter was signed by a number of distinguished individuals, whose name appears at the end. In June 2008, a number of prominent Indians in the judiciary sector had published an open letter which can be found at http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/02/indias-open-letter/


We have learnt that the seven Baha’is, detained in Tehran without charges since May 2008, are going to undergo trial at the Revolutionary Court very shortly. The Iranian Deputy Public Prosecutor has recently announced that the seven Baha’is are accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”
Amnesty International “considers the charges to be politically motivated and those held to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely because of their conscientiously held beliefs or their peaceful activities on behalf of the Baha’i community.”

We are appalled to note that during the nine months of their arbitrary detention, the seven Baha’is have been denied access to their legal counsel, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, and that the five male detainees are now being held together in a 10m² prison cell without basic amenities like beds.

We are also deeply concerned that Ms. Ebadi has not been allowed access to the files of the detainees. Instead, she continues to be threatened and harassed.

In June 2008, prominent citizens of India had appealed to Iran to “abide by the international human rights conventions it has ratified and release these detainees immediately.”

Along with many governments, parliamentary leaders and human rights organizations around the globe, we, the undersigned, call once again on the Government of Iran to dismiss the arbitrary “politically motivated” charges against the seven innocent Baha’i leaders and release them immediately and unconditionally.

At the very least, if the Baha’is are put on trial, we urge Iran to abide by the provisions of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it has ratified and is legally binding. This entails, among others, that the detainees:

  • Be granted at the very least a “fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal”.
  • Be “presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law”.
  • Be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of their defence and be able to communicate with the counsel of their choice.

These citizens of Iran are innocent of the charges framed against them. They are law-abiding, loyal to their government and working towards the betterment of society.

The Government of Iran should release them immediately or, at a minimum, try them fairly. This is one of the basic rights of every man and woman on this planet. Should the detainees be denied a fair trial, it would be an affront to the very notion of fundamental rights.

– February 2009

JUDICIARY AND OFFICIAL AGENCIES

  • Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
  • Justice J.S. Verma, Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India – Former Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission
  • Justice Rajinder Sachar, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court – Former President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
  • Soli J. Sorabjee, Former Attorney General for India – President, United Lawyers’ Association
  • Dr. Syeeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission of India
  • Prof. Tahir Mahmood, Member, Law Commission of India – Former Chairperson National Commission for Minorities
  • Dr. Mohini Giri, Founder, Guild of Service India – Former Chairperson, National Commission for Women
  • Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, JNU – Member, National Statistical Commission
  • Mr. D.R. Kaarthikeyan, Former Director, Central Bureau of Investigation

RELIGIOUS LEADERS

  • Maulana Khalid Rasheed, Farangi Mahali, Naib Imam Eidgah, Lucknow – Member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board
  • Archbishop Vincent Concesso, Archbishop of Delhi, Sacred Hearts Cathedral
  • Swami Agnivesh, President, World Council of Arya Samaj – Former Chairperson, UN Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
  • Fr. Philip Kuruvilla, Youth Director of the Orhtodox Church of India

ARTISTS AND CIVIL SOCIETY

  • Aamir Khan, Actor – Producer – Director
  • B. George Verghese, Senior Columnist – Visiting Professor, Center for Policy Research
  • Miloon Kothari, Coordinator Housing and Land Rights Network – Former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing
  • Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • Tapan Kumar Bose, Secretary General, South Asia Forum for Human Rights
  • Mukul Sharma, Director, Amnesty International India
  • Madhu Kishwar, Founder, Manushi – Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
  • Ajay Mehta, Executive Director, National Foundation for India
  • Dr. Mira Shiva, South Asian Focal Point, International Peoples Health Council
  • Ashok Agarwal, Advocate – Member, Social Jurist
  • S.K. Sharma, President, Society for the Protection of Human Rights in Uttarakhand

ACADEMIA AND CORPORATE SECTOR

  • Dr. S.K. Barua, Director, IIM Ahmedabad
  • V. Raghunathan, Former Professor IIM Ahmedabad – Author
  • Arun Bharat Ram, Chairman SRF Ltd – Chairman CII Family Business Council
  • Ishwar Subramanian, Managing Director AkzoNobel, India
  • Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, Teamlease Services
  • Sudhir V. Kamath, Managing Director 2i Capital (India) Private Limited
  • Suki Iyer, CEO Metamorph Learning Pvt. Ltd.
  • Lakshmi Ishwar, Management Educator
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15 Responses

  1. Akash

    March 5, 2009 2:21 am

    I don’t know why Baha’is in Iran always punish? because they love Peace?because they want Unity?because they love all relegions?because they don’t want gun and fight to others???? why?? History will remember them. I think they are Heros in eyes of Allah/God/Bhagwan or any thing you call but please stop to punish bahais ….

    Reply
  2. Nishat

    March 5, 2009 6:05 am

    This is genocide what Iran’s Supreme Leader is doing to the Bahais living in Iran. If these efforts fail to emancipate the Bahais, Iran’s leadership should be held accountable by the world community and dragged before International Criminal Court.
    Saddam Hussein was hanged for killing 160 Iraqis. From these documented killings of Bahais and other ethnic and religeous groups in Iran, it is clear that Iran’s Supreme Leader is much worse than Saddam ever was. The entire leadership of Iran should be held accountable. We live in the 21st century not medieval times.

    Reply
  3. Ravi Patnaik.Raja

    March 5, 2009 8:21 pm

    I PRAY FOR THEM, NOT ONLY THOSE 7 BAHA’I ALSO ALL IRAN BAHA’IS FOR THIER RIGHTS AND HUMANITIES. I AM AN INDIAN BAHA’I.I MUST HAVE SPIRITUAL VIRTUES TO BRING IN THIS SMALL WORLD UNITY AND PEACE.

    Reply
  4. Indira

    March 5, 2009 9:14 pm

    It is very disturbing, to see our government in India carry on with business as usual with these Mollahs who are trying to create a puritan Shia republic, armed with nuclear bombs, that does not recognize Hinduism, the worlds third largest religion and kills anyone who frees themselves from Islam and converts to Hinduism. It should not take a rocket scientist to put the two and two together and see what these Mollahs want. India can not afford another nuclear armed nation controlled by fanatical Mollahs that do not recognize our religion and want to establish their medieval beliefs on everyone. What these Mollahs are doing to Baha’is and other religeous communities in Iran, is a blue print of what they intend to do to Hindus when they get their hands on atomic weapons. I know many Baha’is and have been to their temple and know them to be peaceful and law abiding citizens of our great country. Our government’s continued dealing with Mollahs is helping Mollahs build their atomic bomb and threaten our way of life. That is very worrisome to me as Mollahs consider Hindus, Baha’is, Suffis and all other religions except their Shia cult as infidels and give blessings to whoever kills us. This has been their policy and now Ayatollah Khamanei, who has been ruling Iran for the past 19 years,
    believes he can afford to make it known internationally. I see the Baha’is in Iran as the “canaries in the mine” sounding the alarm for what these Mollahs are planning to do with billions of people who do not believe in their Shia cult.

    What is happening to Baha’is in Iran, is what is awaiting India and all other democracies around the world. For when Mollahs get their nuclear bombs they will go on their killing spree to build their idologicaly driven Puritan Shia Empire. This is a threat that must be stopped in it’s track before Mollahs get their nuclear bombs ready to fire on all “infidels” so their Shia Imam can appear and kill what remains of us in India and around the world.

    Reply
  5. Aron

    March 5, 2009 10:29 pm

    If this is how the Ayatollah treats Iranians, no telling what he will do with Hindus. It’s very clear from his actions with IAEA that he has tasked Ahamadinejad with building Islamic Republic’s 1st nuclear bomb. He needs that to build his empire and pave the way for his 12 imam. It is ashame that we in India are waiting for him to test his nuclear bomb on some “infidels” before putting sever economic sanctions on his regime and force him out of power. India can ill afford another nuclear moslim nation that calls our people infidels in it’s constitution. And neither can the world.

    Reply
  6. Bryanna Jackson

    March 6, 2009 12:41 am

    Hi. I’m currently living in the United States. I’ve been raised a Baha’i, and am about to turn thirteen. I do not know everything that goes on in the world. I don’t know about about polotics or taxes or most of the laws, but i do have a sense of morality. I DO know what’s right and wrong, and I tell you this: Those seven baha’is have one NOTHING against their counrty. They simply are different, and in my short lifetime, if I have learned anything it is this: People are afraid of different and new ideas. They feel threatened by them, and when they are the larger power, they do horrible things to those who support what is new and different. You don’t believe me? Look into the pasts of your countries. Your prophets and past religious leaders, and tell me, how were they treated?

    I look around me, and i see people if ignorance every where I go: caing about homework, their popularity, their little electronic toys. What does any of it matter, when you can’t take it with you when you die? What does it matter, when there are people out ther who are being killed for no reason, when there are children who are starving, when there are people dying of diseases we have the power to cure?

    I say to you know, ignore the condition of this world no longer! I call upon you all, to cast away you hatred and anger, your material wishes, your predjudies, jealousies and grievences. Instead, pick up a sword of justice and a sheild of love, cover yourselves in the armor of compassion and I say, nothing, NOTHING will be able to stand in your way.

    Each of us has the power to chang the world. All we need is the courage to try. And I tell you, try.

    Reply
  7. Anita

    March 6, 2009 3:15 am

    I am deeply moved by and grateful to these dear men and women of India who have united to raise their voices against the travesty of justice taking place in Iran against the imprisoned Baha’is and all other members of the Baha’i Faith in that troubled country. May God rain His blessings upon each of you.

    Reply
  8. Barmak Kusha

    March 6, 2009 8:41 am

    God is Most Glorious!
    Bryanna, you are a lioness of Justice and Compassion and Love!
    You are an inspiration to adults and junior youth alike!
    Thank you for your impassioned appeal, and for your informed and logical statement! May God continue to shower you with His Confirmations,
    “which alone can change a gnat ino an eagle, a drop into rivers and seas, and an atom into lights and suns.”
    Much love to you, my dear sister, Bryanna!

    Reply
  9. Jagdish

    March 6, 2009 10:23 pm

    Its gratifying to see these Indian taking a stance against the persecution of Bahai’s in Iran. Now the Indian government needs to use its political muscle and force the Iranian government to stop these persecutions. Hope the UPA government has the determination to take up these issue with the Iranian government.

    Reply
  10. Christine Richards

    March 9, 2009 2:09 pm

    My love and thanks to the people of India who have signed this open letter. It takes courage and a strong moral character to stand up for the wrongs in the world. You will be blessed for the good you are doing in the world.

    I am impressed by Bryanna Jackson and the comments she wrote. The world would be a wonderful place if all people had her maturity and compassion. Bryanna, I am honored to have ‘met’ you.

    Reply
  11. Bryanna Jackson

    March 9, 2009 11:03 pm

    I must thank Christine and Barmak for their comments. You make me sound better than i am. Truly, as I human being, I sometimes do the things that I told you not to, but be prepared: One day I will play a large roll in freeing this earth of it’s prejudices, and so will your children and nieces and nephews. One day you will hear our names, and I hope you are proud. This is my goal: to help the people of the world, and i will. We all will. All that I ask is that we all take a step forward, just one small step. And I’m not trying to say I’m going to save us all, because i won’t. No one can do this alone. All countries must work together. Also, i do not mean to sound unappreciative to what India has done,I only hope that wee move move farther. I hoppe you all find the courage to unfurl the wings that i knowyou all have,though perhaps hidden. Discover your wings, and soon you may soar.But remember, as you soar, do not fear the ground below, for God will be there to catch you if you should fall.
    P.S.- Barmak, the quote you used, i know it because my mother often reads quotes to me from the holy books. It’s one of my favorites. So, thank you.

    Reply

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