The Prime Minister has promised to continue raising Britain’s concerns with Iran, over the issue of the seven Bahá’ís being detained in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.
Gordon Brown’s comments came during Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons, in response to the MP for Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik.
“I have become deeply concerned about the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran facing trial by the revolutionary court on 11 July on serious but unsubstantiated charges, with no evidence being offered against them,” said Mr Opik, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of the Bahá’ís group.
Describing current circumstances in Iran as “very difficult issues”, Mr Brown expressed his “disappointment at the restrictions that (Mr Opik) has mentioned on the freedoms of the Iranian people, with people due to stand before a closed court on 11 July.”
According to information conveyed by the authorities at Evin to the family members of the seven Bahá’ís who have been imprisoned for more than a year, a trial date has been set for 11 July. The seven were arrested in the spring of 2008 and have been held without any formal charges or access to their attorneys. Official Iranian news reports have said the Baha’is will be accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”
“Some people in Iran are seeking to use Britain as an explanation for the legitimate Iranian voices calling for greater openness and democracy. However, we will continue, with our international partners, to raise our concerns with Iran, including on the issue that the honorable Gentleman raised,” Mr Brown said.