EU's Ashton demands freedom for Bahai prisoners in Iran

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The European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton (EUbusiness, 02 April 2011, 00:11 CET) – (BRUSSELS) – The European Union’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton said Friday she was “disturbed” by Iran’s reported doubling of a jail term for seven leaders of a religious minority, and demanded their freedom.

“I am disturbed by recent information that the original 20-year prison sentences against seven former Bahai leaders may have been reinstated,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief said in a statement.

“I therefore call on the Iranian authorities to immediately release the seven Bahai leaders, whose sentencing appears to be motivated by their belonging to a minority faith, and to put an end to the persecution of religious minorities in Iran.”

The seven, sentenced last August to 20 years in jail, had their penalty halved by appeals judges in September.

“I call on the Iranian authorities to clarify the legal situation of the seven individuals concerned,” Ashton said. “They and their lawyers should be given the requisite access to all relevant documentation regarding their cases.”

The Bahai, barred from higher education and government posts in staunchly Shiite Muslim Iran, are regarded as infidels and have been persecuted both before and after the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

The Bahais consider Bahaullah, born in 1817, to be the latest prophet sent by God and believe in the spiritual unity of all religions and all mankind.

Bahai leaders believe a total of 47 members of their religion are imprisoned in Iran simply for their beliefs.

http://www.eubusiness.com/ Source: http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/iran-religion-bahai.9do , Persian: http://www.iranpresswatch.org/fa/post/2680

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3 Responses

  1. Concorde

    April 3, 2011 7:47 am

    May God bless Mrs Ashtons efforts;
    ” If any man were to arise to defend, in his writings, the Cause of God against its assailants, such a man, however inconsiderable his share, shall be so honoured in the world to come that the Concourse on high would envy his glory. No pen can depict the loftiness of his station, neither can any tongue describe its splendour.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings CLIV)

    Reply
  2. Professor Farhad

    April 4, 2011 7:43 am

    For many times on the news items regarding the group of seven unjustly imprisoned Iranian Baha’is, particularly when those items are reported by the international news agencies, I have noticed that they have been referred to as the “ Baha’i LEADERS”.

    The readers of these articles should kindly note that there is no such thing as “LEADER” or “LEADERS” in the Baha’i Faith. Hence, those seven unjustly imprisoned individuals who are repeatedly referred to as Baha’i “Leaders” are NOT, nor have ever been the leaders of the Iranian Baha’is. The affairs of the Baha’i communities are looked after and safeguarded by the “Spiritual Assemblies” who are the bodies of 9 members, elected amongst and by the adult (21 and more years old) Baha’is of those communities and none of those elected members are considered or seen as a “leader” either.

    That would be much appreciated if the international news agencies would be more prudent in their reporting as not to create any misconceptions.

    Reply

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