Lord Avebury: Savage sentences



Posted by lord avebury

Savage sentences

The seven Baha’i leaders who had been detained in Tehran’s fearsome Evin prison for 20 months without charge have finally been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment after they were finally accused of espionage, propaganda against the Islamic order and establishment of an illegal administration.

These convictions were handed down after the defendants were allowed one hour’s consultation with their lawyer, and after several brief court appearances in which no evidence was presented on any of the charges.

The facts are at news.bahai.org/story/786, and the reaction of Human Rights Watch is at www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/08/10/iran-free-bahai-leaders. Lets hope there will be demands for the release of the seven from big hitters like Cathy Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his regime may have demonstrated repeatedly that they don’t give a toss for what the rest of the world thinks of their relentless persecution of the Baha’is, but it should be said that using secret trials on false charges to lock up the leaders of a small and harmless minority for a lifetime is gratuitously evil.

PS The Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon William Hague MP, has issued the following statement:

“I was appalled to hear of the 20 year prison sentence handed out to the seven spiritual leaders of the Bahá’í faith in Iran. This is a shocking example of the Iranian state’s continued discrimination against the Bahá’ís. It is completely unacceptable.

The Iranian judiciary has repeatedly failed to allay international and domestic concerns that these seven men and women are guilty of anything other than practising their faith. It is clear that from arrest to sentencing, the Iranian authorities did not follow even their own due process, let alone the international standards to which Iran is committed. The accused were denied proper access to lawyers, and there is evidence that the trial was neither fair nor transparent.

I call on the Iranian authorities urgently to consider any appeal against this decision, and to cease the harassment of the Bahá’í community. I further call on the Iranian Government to ensure that the rights of all individuals are fully protected, without discrimination, and that it fulfils its obligations to its own citizens as set out in the Iranian constitution.”

Source: http://ericavebury.blogspot.com/2010/08/savage-sentences.html


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