UPDATE: Iran: Sentencing of 7 Baha’is to 20 years in jail on politically motivated charges
Amnesty International has condemned the sentencing of seven members of Iran's Baha’i religious minority to 20 years in jail on a series of politically motivated charges. The five men and two women, leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran who were arrested over two years ago, were convicted on Saturday 7 August of crimes including "espionage for Israel", "insulting religious sanctities" and "propaganda against the system” by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. This is an update on Iran: Baha’i seven face court and death
Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm have denied all the charges against them and lawyers for the seven have indicated that they will appeal.
"This verdict is a sad and damning manifestation of the deeply-rooted discrimination against Baha'is by the Iranian authorities," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director.
"These seven Baha’i leaders, some of whom are elderly, are prisoners of conscience jailed solely on account of their beliefs or peaceful activities on behalf of the persecuted Baha'i minority.”
"The seven were held for months without charge before being subjected to a parody of a trial.. They must be immediately released."
The seven Baha'is, who were arrested between March and May 2008, faced several postponements to their trial while they remained in detention. Their lawyers were rarely allowed to visit their clients and were initially denied access to the court room. One of their lawyers, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, has been unable to return to Iran since June 2009. In February 2010, she told Amnesty International that the seven’s file was empty and the accusations baseless.
The Iranian authorities blamed the Baha'is, among other groups, for orchestrating much of the unrest that took place on the Ashoura religious holiday in December 2009.
The Iranian authorities blamed the Baha'is, among other groups, for orchestrating much of the unrest that took place on the Ashoura religious holiday in December 2009, the last mass demonstration that took in the aftermath of Iran's disputed presidential election in June 2009. The Baha’i community denies any such involvement.
"The authorities tried to make the Baha'i minority scapegoats for the unrest when there is no evidence that they were involved," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
The Baha'i religion is not recognized in Iran’s Constitution and Baha’is have no legal protection.
The Iranian authorities also deny Baha'is equal rights to education, work and a decent standard of living by restricting their access to employment and benefits such as pensions. Iran’s 300,000-strong Baha’i community are not permitted to meet, hold religious ceremonies or practice their religion with other believers.
10 August 2010
- Iran: Urgent concerns in submission to the 20th session of UPR Working Group
- Update: Bahrain – Trial date scheduled for human rights defender Ms Maryam Al-Khawaja
- SUDAN CHRISTIAN WOMAN MERIAM IBRAHIM & FAMILY ARRIVE IN ITALY & MEET WITH POPE FRANCIS
- World Cup ban? Iran's women just don't care
- Letter to Obama Administration on Egyptian State Violations of Human Rights
- Over 220 Global Organizations Call for Immediate Release of Seven Imprisoned Women Human Rights Defenders in Egypt
- Send your support to Yara Sallam and other human rights defenders imprisoned in Egypt
- URGENT: Join the international campaign against Egypt’s repressive protest law!
- Arbitrary Arrests and Detention of Women Human Rights Defenders
- URGENT ACTION NEEDED: INNOCENT SUDANESE MOTHER WILL FACE PUBLIC FLOGGING AND EXECUTION, SIHA CONDEMNS TODAY'S RULING IN HAJ YOUSIF COURT IN KHARTOUM
- Egypt: #noprotestlaw campaign abridged toolkit
- Disposable Victims: Laws and Practices on Gender-related Killings of Women and Girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran
- 35 Years of Forced Hijab: The Widespread and Systematic Violation of Women's Rights in Iran
- No One is Safe: Abuses of Women in Iraq's Criminal Justice System
- Early and Forced Marriage in the Islamic Republic of Iran