Berlin – On the occasion of the upcoming scheduled trial of seven Baha’i leaders in Iran, the speaker on human rights issues of the parliamentary groups of the German Bundestag Erika Steinbach MP (CDU/CSU), Christoph Strässer MP (SPD), Volker Beck MP (B90/DIE GRÜNEN) and chairman Burkhardt Müller-Sönksen MdB (FDP) declare:
On behalf of our parliamentary groups we demand the immediate and unconditional release of the leaders of the Baha’i religious community. The seven members of this group [known as the Yaran, or “Friends”] – two women and five men – were arrested more than a year ago. They have been accused of espionage for Israel, offending religious sanctities, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and recently in addition to these of “spreading of corruption on earth”. They are threatened by the death sentence. The proclamation of their sentence is expected on July 11th.
The judicial process is politically motivated and is aimed at the Baha’i religious community. Its 350.000 members living in Iran are systematically discriminated against and oppressed. Under the current government, the harassment of the Baha’is has increased, and it ranges from confiscations and defamation campaigns to arbitrary arrests. The arrest of these leaders, who were only allowed to fulfil this function informally, is aimed at further impairment of this religious community.
Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahin Tizfahm are non-violent political prisoners. As members of a religious minority not accepted in Iran, they are likely to be subjected to a show trial, the outcome of which would have been determined long ago.
Our parliamentary groups welcome the fact that the German Federal government is making an effort to safeguard coordinated observation of the process of this trial from within the European Union. Everything possible must be done to release the prisoners, or at least provide a public, constitutional process, in compliance with international standards. Our current concern is about these seven accused leading members. We are, however, just as much worried about the approximately 30 Baha’is who are also imprisoned in Iran exclusively due to their religious convictions.
[Original German at http://www.spdfraktion.de/cnt/rs/rs_dok/0,,48110,00.html; Translation by the Office of External Affairs of the Baha’is of Germany]