MRG concerned by reports of lengthy jail sentences for Iranian Baha'í leaders


minority rights group international17 August 2010

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is deeply concerned by reports indicating that seven Iranian Baha’í leaders have each received jail sentences of 20 years.

The seven prisoners are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm. They deny charges of espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order, and ‘corruption on earth,’ among other allegations.

‘Given that independent observers were not allowed to attend the trial, and the history of persecution that the Baha’í community has faced in Iran, the outcome will do nothing to encourage faith in the Iranian justice system,’ says Carl Soderbergh, MRG’s Director of Policy and Communications.

‘MRG calls on Iran to quash the convictions and release the defendants immediately,’ he added.

The two women and five men had previously been held without charge for 20 months in Tehran’s Evin prison since they were arrested in 2008. According to the Baha’í International Community they were allowed barely one hour’s access to their legal counsel during their incarceration.

There are some 300,000 Baha’í in Iran. Their right to practice the religion is not recognized. Religious leaders are often arbitrarily arrested and detained without charge and the community also faces incidents of forced conversion to Islam.




2 Responses

  1. Concorde

    August 22, 2010 7:14 am

    Justice is, in this day, bewailing its plight, and Equity groaneth beneath the yoke of oppression. The thick clouds of tyranny have darkened the face of the earth, and enveloped its peoples. Through the movement of Our Pen of glory We have, at the bidding of the omnipotent Ordainer, breathed a new life into every human frame, and instilled into every word a fresh potency. All created things proclaim the evidences of this worldwide regeneration. This is the most great, the most joyful tidings imparted by the Pen of this wronged One to mankind. Wherefore fear ye, O My well-beloved ones? Who is it that can dismay you? A touch of moisture sufficeth to dissolve the hardened clay out of which this perverse generation is molded. The mere act of your gathering together is enough to scatter the forces of these vain and worthless people…
    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, XLIII)


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