Cherie Blair QC – one of the United Kingdom’s leading human rights lawyers and wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair – is calling for Iran to ensure that seven leaders of the Bahá’í faith – held in prison for more than a year without charge or access to their legal counsel – be given a fair trial and a chance of justice.
In an article published in Thursday’s edition of The Times, Mrs Blair writes that, in the aftermath of Iran’s disputed Presidential election result, there is a risk that the ongoing threat to the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority may be overlooked. “They face a very uncertain, dangerous future,” writes Ms Blair.
Read Cherie Blair’s article here (Times Online)
The five men and two women, detained in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since the spring of 2008, helped see to the minimum needs of Iran’s Bahá’í community after all Bahá’í institutions were banned by the Iranian government. Their informal committee was disbanded along with all local-level Bahá’í administrative groups in Iran in March this year. Family members of the seven have recently been told that they will face trial on Saturday 11 July. Spurious allegations made against them include “espionage for Israel”, “insulting religious sanctities”, “propaganda against the Islamic republic” and “spreading corruption on earth.”
“We must urge that the Iranian Government give the leaders of the Bahá’í community a fair trial,” writes Mrs Blair, “and allow independent observers access to ensure this happens. We must also call on Iran to live up to their international obligations to protect all their citizens and allow them to hold and practise their religious beliefs, without discrimination or fear.”
Mrs Blair’s article also pays tribute to Iranian lawyer and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, who announced that she would defend the Bahá’í prisoners. As a result, Dr Ebadi’s “offices were raided and shut down, angry mobs appeared outside her home and she, and her family, received renewed and serious threats to their safety,” writes Mrs Blair.
“Shirin Ebadi is a courageous woman and a brilliant advocate. But we can not let her carry this burden on her own,” Mrs Blair says.
July 10, 2009 12:44 am
Iran’s Dictator, Aya Ali Khamenei and his Qurbonalis should be draged to International Criminal Court not only for their crimes against you Baha’is but for their crimes against ALL Iranians and ALL humanity. Now that the veils have been lifted and the world has seen what the dictator and his men are capable of and have been doing to us Iranians as forever recorded on Youtube videos, there is no excuse for any world leader to escape or deny the truth anymore. The time has come for the world to side with the peoples of Iran and end the reign of Gog and Magog before they nuke the world in an unparalled fiery ordeal that wipes out millions more innocent people.
July 10, 2009 2:09 pm
Thanks you Cherie Blair for your highlighting the plight of Baha’is in Iran. It is such a peaceful religion that recognises all human beings as one. How can this Iranian regime take its racism to the degree that it arrests, tortures and executes people just because they are different? And Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust , so you can appreciate what Baha’is are going through. I have family that was executed in Iran because of this but the world does nothing. How can in this century the world allow such racism and barbaric behaviour in Iran go on? PLEASE can the UN and the West help us. Recently you have seen how the Iranian regime murders and oppresses its “own” people just to stay in power and how it tries to censor information going out. It is not ‘meddling’ for the West to stand for Democracy and Rights and do something about the Iranian oppression and murders. Now a prominent human rights lawyer who works with Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin has been arrested .
July 17, 2009 2:39 am
I, too, am appalled by all this news coming from Iran, by how young men and women are arrested, handcuffed, and pushed off the roof tops – no vicious animal does this to its enemy, let alone to its own kind! If they kill non-Muslims, I understand that but to kill your own kind in this manner shows absolute cruelty and these actions must not be ignored by the international community! However, we all know that overthrowing these so called “clergies” who are nothing but bunch of cowards, hiding behind their filthy robes, takes a concrete planning and requires the support of all powerful nations, and not just France, UK, China, Russia, and/or US. These villains (the clergies) are good at twisting any action or statement to gain sympathy toward their regime and, most probably, will have the support of other Islamic nations! People of Iran are tired, but then 30 years ago, majority of these people went on the street and brought in Khomeini – is this their karma! I am not suggesting that the