Iranian Baha'i leaders may face new accusation on anniversary of imprisonment


NEW YORK, 12 May (BWNS) – The seven Baha’i leaders currently imprisoned in Iran are facing the anniversary of their arrest this Thursday, along with new and extremely grave accusations, after spending a year in jail without formal charges or access to their lawyer, Shirin Ebadi.

“Despite their obvious innocence and the call by many for their immediate release, these seven men and women have been in legal limbo for a year now, against all international human rights standards,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

“Moreover, their families have recently been told of a possible new charge – ‘the spreading of corruption on earth,’ which goes by the term ‘Mofsede fel-Arz’ in Persian and carries the threat of death under the penal code of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Ms. Dugal.

“The sequence of events surrounding their detention exposes a shameless travesty of justice. Notwithstanding their having been subjected to intensive interrogations, it took a full seven months before they were given even a single pretext for their detention. On February 10, 2009, the Iranian Student News Agency quoted Tehran deputy prosecutor Hassan Haddad as having said that the investigation of these individuals was complete and that ‘the case will be sent to the revolutionary court next week’ and that these Baha’is are accused of ‘espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.’ The international protest expressed by governments and civil society was immediate and widespread, causing the Iranian authorities to review their approach.

“Now a new wrongful accusation reportedly has been added some three months after the investigation was supposed to have concluded. The charge of being spreaders of corruption was used against the Baha’is who were executed in the years immediately following the Islamic revolution. That it may now be resorted to in this case is a further demonstration that the authorities have no basis for any allegation against these seven individuals, other than blatant religious persecution. This action against the Baha’i leadership reflects the government’s sharply increased persecution of the entire Iranian Baha’i community of more than 300,000 members.

“The upcoming anniversary of their arrest offers an important milestone and we ask that the international community re-state once again in the strongest terms its demand for their immediate release, or, at least, for a fair and open trial that meets international standards of justice,” said Ms. Dugal.

Ms. Dugal also noted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has frequently emphasized the importance of “justice and human dignity” and “the establishment of a just world system,” such as when he addressed the UN Durban Review Conference in Geneva last month.

“How can the calls of the Iranian leadership for justice in the international sphere be taken seriously if they do not grant justice to their own citizens? In Iran, by all accounts universally agreed upon human rights are routinely ignored, not only for Baha’is but also for women, journalists, and others who only seek dignity and justice,” she said.

The seven are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. All but one of the group were arrested on 14 May 2008 at their homes in Tehran. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008 while in Mashhad.

[Source: Baha’i World News at]


6 Responses

  1. FE

    May 12, 2009 7:58 pm

    They are looking like angels. They have acted as angels. They are angels.
    Astonishing how prosecutors think they can mislead the public . By their running centuries backward they passed the islamic, christian, judaic and other rootprinciples of law and arrived at stoneage, where the ignorant lived who thought there is no need for constitution, laws and rules. We should pray that the Allmighty will wake them up to Fear of God ,Justice , Constitution and Law which are the basics of Islam .

  2. amigo

    May 13, 2009 12:05 am

    The regime knows quite well that Bahais are not subversive,but as they are a challenge to the ideology of IRI and as they have been a challenge to the maullahs since its birth, they are trying to strangulate the Bahai faith at any cost,and believe it or not they have turned the detention and harassment of Bahais into a very good business by asking very high amounts of bail out for their release.This is the way the regime is making up the money they are spending on propaganda against Bahai Faith in Iran.
    Lets pray for all the victims of injustice of any nature to be freed !

  3. Anonymous

    May 13, 2009 2:48 am

    Forgive me for asking this question, but I am not an Islamic legal scholar. Is there a precise definition of spreading corruption on the earth?

  4. Irani

    May 13, 2009 9:23 am

    I hope soon, the IR rulres will be put on trial for spreading corruption on the earth as they should be.

  5. sb

    May 13, 2009 12:32 pm

    These humble, peace-loving people are witnesses, followers of peaceful teachings who offer the best hope of their troubled land. The thought of death sentences exercised against these innocents is unbearable, outrageous, and devoid of humanity.

    How pitiful and small are the prosecutors of Iran! How serene and lofty the faces of these seven people.

    Surely the leadership that sent these seven Baha’is to prison on such utterly false charges can foresee the international disgrace that will be theirs if death penalties are exacted. Is the Iranian leadership prepared for the whirlwind of outcry arising from such an unthinkable course?

  6. Nasrin

    May 13, 2009 7:43 pm

    Is there anymore corruption on the earth than the mullahs in Iran and what they are doing to the people specially women, children, youth? how could they on earth call others specially baha’is corrupt?


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