Appeal to Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Le Monde, February 5, 2010
Seven Baha’is are at risk of the death penalty in Iran today. In detention for 20 months, these five men and two women, ranging in age from 36 to 72 years, have been accused by the Iranian judiciary system of committing “corruption on earth” and of being “spies for Israel”. The group of seven, who are known in their community as the “Yaran” or “Friends”, were acting as mediators toward different agencies of the Iranian state at the time of their arrest, trying to mitigate the oppression weighing heavily on the Baha’is of Iran, who have been the subjects of constant harassment by the Islamic Republic for 30 years.
Baha’is, who constitute the largest religious minority in Iran, are considered to be non-citizens and “unprotected infidels”. Easy targets, this peaceful community numbering 300,000 is being accused of causing all the problems which are the result of political and social tensions within the country.
Today, official newspapers are accusing them of being the organisers of the troubles which are convulsing the country, an accusation which is as unlikely as all those that have proliferated for more than a century.
As the trial of the seven “Yaran” approaches, arrests, the desecration of cemeteries, pillaging, and fires destroying the property of Baha’is have multiplied. Complaints registered by Baha’is are ignored. As of today, 48 Baha’is are in prison, and 75 more, awaiting their trials, have been released after having paid exorbitant amounts for bail, or having surrendered titles to property or commercial licenses.
For thirty years, access to university has been denied to them, nor do they have the right to benefit from a pension. They cannot be hired in the public sector, and their employers in the private sector have to request a driver’s license on their behalf. Those who attack them are never questioned legally. The harassment extends to insulting school children participating in flag-raising activities.
You, Your Excellence, have yourself in the past deemed that they must be reduced to “a state of subsistence”.
Baha’is for fifty years have been putting into practice, in Iran and elsewhere, the principles of the equality of men and women and the right to education, and have been expounding, among other tenets, harmony between science and religion. By virtue of this, they are winning growing support among the Iranian population.
We ask that the systematic maltreatment, orchestrated by the reactionary wing of the clergy and the government, cease, that liberty of conscience be recognized in Iran and that these men and women be freed.
Rosine Haguenauer, researcher, biology
Aitana Perea-Gomez, researcher, biology
Fethi Benslama, university student psychoanalysis
Malvyne Derkinderen, researcher, biology
Jacqueline Léon, researcher, linguistics
Anne Plessis, university student, biology
Genevieve Bordet, university student, linguistics
Sophie Louvet-Vallée, university student, linguistics
Cecile Sakai, university student, Eastern language and civilization
Anne Cecconello, ecology, urban studies
Jean-Pierre Hourdin, business executive
Michel Volovitch, university student, biology
Sophie Vriz, university student, biology
Jean-René Duhamel, researcher, neurosciences
Anna Montagnini, researcher, neurosciences
Eric Castet, researcher, neurosciences
Juliette Sablier, doctoral candidate, neurosciences
Daniel Diatkine, university student, history and economy
Anouchka Ibacka, linguistics student
Sophia Jomni, teacher, medical-social science
Hélène Kontzler, university student, economy
André Lapidus, , university student, economy
Claire Pignol, , university student, economy
Florencia Sember, doctoral candidate, economy
Catherine Tourre Malen, university student, anthropology
Bruno Hoen doctor at university hospital, infectious diseases
Michel Botbol, psychiatrist
Paul Kessler, researcher, physics
François Gros, honorary professor at Collège de France, biology
Lydie Koch, researcher, physics
Henri Korn researcher, biology
Dominique Schiff, researcher, physics
Gérard Toulouse, researcher, physics
Joyce Blau, university student, Eastern studies
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, university student, sociology
Joseph Parisi, researcher, physics
Translation by Iran Press Watch
Source: Lo Monde, http://www.lemonde.fr/opinions/article/2010/02/05/appel-a-l-ayatollah-sayed-ali-khamenei-guide-supreme-de-la-republique-islamique-d-iran_1301458_3232.html#ens_id=1190750
See Persian translation here: http://www.roozonline.com/persian/news/newsitem/article/2010/february/09//-06e808d2ab.html
February 23, 2010 1:33 pm
This is a noble, heartfelt appeal, beautifully stated. My thanks to Le Monde and the signatories of this open letter. My community also hopes that “liberty of conscience be recognized in Iran and that these men and women be freed.”