Monday 25 Mordad 1389 [16 August 2010] at 7:49 AM
HRANA News – This morning, the Secretariat of the Group of Human Rights Activists in Iran issued a press release asking for recognition of the human and citizenship rights of Iranian Baha’is, and immediate and unconditional release of the leaders of this religious minority.
The text of the press release is as follows:
Seven leaders of the Baha’i Community of Iran, after a two-year detainment, were condemned to 20 years of imprisonment in a questionable procedure, based on a collection of charges such as “espionage”, “insulting sanctities”, “propaganda against the regime” and “promoting corruption on earth”, by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. At the same time, the accused had refused to attend the hearing (held on 22 Khordad [12 June] of this year) because it was a closed and illegal procedure.
These sentences for Fariba Kamal-Abadi, Mahvash Sabet, Jamal’uddin Khanjani, Afif Na’imi, Saeed Reza’i, Behrooz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm were handed down after a history in which in the year 1362 [1983-4] all Baha’i elected and appointed institutions had been banned, and most of the members of the three National Spiritual Assemblies that managed the affairs of Baha’is had been executed. A temporary body called the “Yaran [Friends] of Iran” was then formed with the full knowledge of the Iranian government, and the seven above-named citizens very openly attended to the basic affairs of the three hundred thousand members of the Iranian Baha’is, the largest religious minority in the country.
Aside from the fact that the charges were all baseless, the condemnation came following more than two years after the illegal arrest of the seven leaders who manage the affairs of the Baha’i community, the largest minority in the country; during their detention they were deprived of the most basic human and legal rights for two years. Apart form the length of the temporary detainment, all seven endured froms of torture, and were kept in enclosures such as individual or joint cells, separate from other prisoners, for the duration.
These prisoners of conscience were also deprived of free access to their lawyers, though reports of inappropriate physical conditions of some of them also circulated.
The Group of Human Rights Activists in Iran, along with other human rights activists, condemns the judicial-security process, and not only considers the arrest and the sentence for these citizens of Iran to be illegal, prejudiced and lacking in the most basic legal and human acceptability, but also believes them to be the embodiment of a breach of generosity, of human dignity and of the foundation of freedom of speech.
This Group charges the government of Iran — and specifically the judicial and security elements — with doublespeak [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublespeak]. It emphasizes the citizenship rights of Iranian Baha’is, recalling Mr Larijani’s acknowledgement of these rights for Iranian Baha’is at the United Nations Council of Human Rights meeting.
The Group of Human Rights Activists in Iran believes that the issue of the seven leaders of Baha’i Community is not separate from the removal of human and citizenship rights from the believers of the Baha’i religion; rights that have been a steady factor in evaluating the condition of human rights in Iran.
The religious government in Iran has executed dozens of Baha’i citizens in prisons, has participated in the destruction of their homes, and has taken steps to destroy their cemeteries. To the long list of the government’s steps to suppress Baha’i belief — and consequently the breach of freedom of thought, of speech and of religion — should be added prevention of expressing views and thoughts, making it difficult to bury deceased Baha’is, prevention from education, arrests and harassment, issuance of heavy sentences, insulting the sanctity of their religion… In this connection, the Group of Human Rights Activists in Iran demands recognition of the human and citizenship rights of Baha’is in Iran, immediate and unconditional release of the leaders of this religious community and the re-establishment of their dignity, and/or the holding of an open court in the context of legal procedures along with documents, as an inalienable right. This Group calls on the international community to show a united and persistent front on behalf of the restoration of these rights.
Secretariat of the Group of Human Rights Activists in Iran — 25 Mordad 1389 [16 August 2010]
Translation by Iran Press Watch