(BNUK) The United Kingdom government has reiterated its concern for seven Bahá’í leaders imprisoned in Iran on the first anniversary of their detention.
Foreign Office Minister of State Bill Rammell MP renewed calls on behalf of the UK government for the seven to be guaranteed a fair trial.
“A year ago today, 14 May 2008, six Iranian Bahá’ís; Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm were arrested,” said Mr Rammell. “Mrs Mahvash Sabet had been arrested in March of that year. The five men and two women made up an informal national committee, serving the needs of Iran’s 300,000 strong Baha’i community.”
“Despite being formally charged in February with spying for Israel, “insulting religious sanctities” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” – charges which could attract the death penalty – they are still awaiting trial,” said Mr Rammell.
Mr Rammell stated how the European Union has, on a number of occasions, expressed its deep concern for the wellbeing of the seven detainees, who have been denied access to legal counsel.
“I would like to reiterate these very genuine concerns today, and renew calls for the Iranian government to ensure that the lives and rights of these individuals are protected and that they are given a fair trial in accordance with international standard,” he said.