The seven Iranian Bahá’í leaders sentenced to 20 year prison terms are yet further victims of the Iranian regime’s flagrant disregard towards its human rights obligations under international law. From arrest to sentencing, it seems clear that the authorities concerned did not even follow domestic due process.
The leaders have been convicted on charges ranging from insulting religious sanctity in Iran to espionage for Israel, allegations for which no evidence has ever been produced in open court, and which they flatly deny. The conduct of the Ministry of Intelligence and the Judiciary has been highly dubious, and suggests that the trial was seen as a formality with little relevance to a predetermined verdict.
The Board of Deputies is appalled at the manner in which these leaders have been treated. For two years they were imprisoned without trial. It appears that, during this time, six of the seven were held for 105 days solitary confinement and another for 175 days.
The Board of Deputies is deeply concerned by the ongoing repression of minorities in Iran. The President of the Board, Vivian Wineman, said, “In the 1980s, scores of Iranian Bahá’í leaders were summarily rounded up and executed. I pray that we are not on the verge of a repeat of such atrocities.”
“We are most grateful to our Jewish friends and colleagues for their ongoing support,” the UK Baha’i community’s Secretary of External Affairs, Dr Kishan Manocha, said. “Freedom of religion is one of the most precious of human rights and it is important for faith communities to stand together in defending this right.”Reports from Iran indicate that Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm were each sentenced to 20 years in prison on 8 August on a number of groundless charges.
The seven were charged with, among other things, espionage, propaganda against the Islamic republic, the establishment of an illegal administration – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants.
Their crime, though, is nothing more than being members of the Baha’i Faith, a religion which has been the focus of a systematic, government-sponsored persecution in Iran since the 1979 revolution.
In fact “We the Bahais of Jews background will be much more grateful to our Jewish friends and colleagues If they help us in starting Baha’i Teaching activities in the State of Israel. “Freedom of religion is one of the most precious of human rights and it is important for faith communities to stand together in defending this right.”Above Picture : Shirin Tahzib & Kishan Manocha, NSA of Baha'is of UK in the Holy Land
We hope our voices will be heard by the authorities in the Government and at the same time Universal House of Justice will also implement different teaching projects for our Jewish brethen in Israel.