Iran Press Watch has learned that an article was published earlier this week stating that the Spanish House of Representatives has asked the Spanish government to call for the release of the seven (7) Baha’i leaders [formerly known as the Yaran, or “Friends”] in Iran and to condemn the systematic persecution of the Baha’is. It also condemns the human rights violations committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
According to this report, this motion was introduced by a member of the conservative Popular Party, Juan Carlos Grau, within the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee, and was unanimously approved by all parties represented in that Committee.
According to the article, Juan Carlos Grau stated that the 350,000 Baha’is living in Iran have been persecuted since the inception of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and that Asma Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief since 2004 and a Pakistani Muslim woman, had already referred specifically in a press release dated 20 March, 2006, to this campaign of persecution confidentially ordered by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A similar motion was passed three years ago after the mass arrests in Shiraz, calling on the Spanish government to convey their concern to Iran over the recrudescence of the difficult situation of the Baha’is in the previous months. Grau said that their situation has worsened over the years, particularly with the arrest of the seven Baha’i leaders, who are being held with no regard for the minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners. He also mentioned the three charges against them, namely, espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and the fact that they have been denied access to legal counsel.
Iran Press Watch also wishes to note that this news was first published by an Arab-owned press agency, Emirates News Agency out of the UAE, even before the Spanish media! This demonstrates the tremendous repercussions of and interest in the trial of the Baha’i leaders in the Arab and Muslim world as well as across the globe. Iran Press Watch is pleased to point out that rather than editorialize with negative statements about the Baha’i Faith, as has often happened in other Arab press coverage of the Faith, the UAE article was factual reportage of the Spanish parliamentary action, which is a welcome approach.
Original Spanish Article: http://www.adn.es/politica/20090421/NWS-1029-Congreso-Gobierno-Bahai-Iran-liberacion.html