Reports say Iran's Baha'i leaders "sentenced"



NEW YORK — The Baha’i International Community has received reports indicating that seven Iranian Baha’i leaders have each received jail sentences of 20 years.

The two women and five men have been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since they were arrested in 2008 – six of them on 14 May and one of them two months earlier.

“If this news proves to be accurate, it represents a deeply shocking outcome to the case of these innocent and harmless people,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

“We understand that they have been informed of this sentence and that their lawyers are in the process of launching an appeal,” said Ms. Dugal.

The prisoners – Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm – were all members of a national-level group that helped see to the minimum needs of Iran’s 300,000-strong Baha’i community, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority.

The trial of the seven consisted of six brief court appearances which began on 12 January this year after they had been incarcerated without charge for 20 months, during which time they were allowed barely one hour’s access to their legal counsel. The trial ended on 14 June.

The defendants were accused of espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order, and the establishment of an illegal administration, among other allegations. All the charges are completely and categorically denied.



4 Responses

  1. Rob Fuller

    August 9, 2010 5:39 am

    This is an absolute disgrace for justice. I cannot see why there is not an international outcry?! These leaders are icons of the Bahai community and clearly innocent. Perhaps the sentencing is led by fear & insecurity!

  2. Concorde

    August 9, 2010 6:42 am


    “Never did I dream that from the darkness of my prison I should ever be able to come to you, though when they read me my sentence I did not believe in it….
    They told me that Abdu’l-Hamid had ordered my everlasting imprisonment, and I said, ‘This is impossible! I shall not always be a prisoner. If Abdu’l-Hamid were immortal, such a sentence might possibly be carried out. It is certain that one day I shall be free. My body may be captive for a time, but Abdu’l-Hamid has no power over my spirit—free it must remain—that can no man imprison ….. Let us spread the Cause of God, for which I suffered persecution.”
    (‘Abdu’l-Baha, 4 Avenue de Camoens, Wednesday, October 25th 1911)

  3. Edward E. Knight

    August 9, 2010 9:19 am

    Bob there is no justice in modern day Iran. The lack of an international outcry back up with teeth reveals the spiritual bankruptcy of its leaders. The world is sadly in need of a Sir Winston Churchill,..’a voice calling out from the wilderness’


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