Iranian Bahai activist sentenced to two-year jail term

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[There has been many news articles about the arrest and prison sentence of Mrs. Jinous Sobhani, the former aide to Nobel laureate Mrs. Shirin Ebadi. Iran Press Watch has carried some of these articles. The one below has new and complementary information and therefore it is being reproduced for your ease of reference.

The Editor
Iran Press Watch]

(M&C NEWS, Sep 30, 2010, 17:12 GMT) Tehran – An Iranian Bahai and human rights activist has been sentenced by a Tehran court to a two-year jail term, opposition websites reported Thursday.

Jinous Sobhani was sentenced by the revolutionary court, in charge of national security violations, after she was arrested last December during demonstrations against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the reports said.

Sobhani was also the secretary of the Human Rights Defenders Centre run by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.

She is currently free on bail, but expected to return to jail to serve out her sentence.
Bahaism, a monotheistic religion promoting the unity of all religions and mankind, is not recognised or allowed to be practiced in Iran, whose official religion is Shia Islam.

Bahai missionaries are arrested and detained – unlike Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian missionaries, whose faiths are recognized and protected by the government.

In another case not yet confirmed by Iran, seven leaders of the Bahai religion – two women and five men – were reportedly sentenced last month to 20-year jail terms for espionage and propaganda against the Iranian Islamic system.

The government did say the seven were arrested in 2008 and confessed to their crimes, including having supplied classified information to foreigners through personal contacts with Western diplomats in Tehran.

Several Western countries have expressed concern over the charges and denounced the arrests as persecution of Iran’s largest religious minority.
Tehran rejected the allegations and said the issue had nothing to do with religion.

Ebadi, of the Human Rights Defenders Centre, and her legal team were supposed to lead the defence of the seven Bahais, but Ebadi has been abroad since June last year. She fears arrest if she returns because of her opposition to Ahmadinejad.



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