Helping the hidden victims of persecution in Iran

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By Michael Boren

Simin Ziaie flips through the pages of 215 men, women and teenagers.
Their faces represent multitudes of families and personalities. One is a 17-year-old girl who taught Sunday school, another an educator, another a doctor.
But the faces all share one thing in common: they no longer exist because of religious beliefs.
And Ziaie fears her childhood friend, Fariba Kamalabadi, may be next to die.
Kamalabadi, 47, has been imprisoned since spring 2008 with six other Bahai faith members.
“She was in a solitary room for four months,” Ziaie, 48, said. “She got very sick. She had pneumonia; she has heart problems. I mean, she needs to come out of the prison as soon as possible.”
There are no formal charges against the Bahai group, which has been denied contact with attorneys. The group is accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” according to Iranian news reports. The espionage charge results in the punishment of death.

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