Date Set For ‘Show Trial’ Of Baha’is In Iran

The Iranian government seems determined to go ahead with a ‘show trial’  of seven wrongly imprisoned Baha’is in Iran.

According to information conveyed by the authorities in Evin prison to the family members of the seven Baha’is who have been imprisoned in Tehran, Iran, for over a year, their trial date has been set for 11 July 2009. This information has been provided to the family members only orally and, as information conveyed by officials concerning the judicial process has often proved unreliable, it is possible that the Iranian authorities may find some reason to change the trial date.

The seven were arrested in the spring of 2008 and have been held more than a year without formal charges or access to their attorneys. Official Iranian news reports have said the Baha’is will be accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”

The trial is apparently scheduled to be held at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. This is where American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi was recently convicted of espionage and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. She was eventually released, but only after an international outcry at the clear politicization of the case and manifestly unjust legal procedures.

“These seven individuals are facing completely false charges,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. “They – along with the some 30 other Baha’is currently in prison in Iran – are innocent of any wrongdoing and are being held solely because of their religious beliefs.”



Supporters Of Ayatollah Boroujerdi Concerned For Baha’is In Iran

I was heartened to read this recent statement by the supporters of Ayatollah Boroujerdi expressing sympathy for the plight of the Baha’i community in Iran.

With escalation in detentions, arrests, and threats of execution towards our Iranian Baha’i countrymen in recent times, supporters of Mr. Boroujerdi demand an investigation and greater attention by the international community to the ongoing violation of the basic rights of the Baha’is in Iran.

However, supporters of Mr. Boroujerdi believe that unfortunately, in dealings and the behind-the-scenes relations between nations, the issue of human rights is often sacrificed for temporary interests and political pragmatism.  As such, raising awareness of this important issue falls on the shoulders of opposition groups, who, faced with great tyranny, have reechoed the suffocated cries of the shattered Iranian community.

In addition to believing in freedom of religious expression and the freedom of worship by other religions, the supporters of Mr. Boroujerdi express their sympathy for the Baha’i community, and urge full implementation of the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and full observance of those provisions in Iran.

Since the beginning of Ahmadinejad’s administration, the systematic suppression of civil movements, heterodox intellectuals, and members of other religions has accelerated.  Among these groups, the suppression of our Baha’i countrymen has been especially intense and malicious.  The denial of the right to education for Baha’i students, the denial of basic civil rights, the repeated violation of their rights as citizens in the guise of “legal encounters,” and the issuance of excessively harsh sentences and baseless allegations such as bombings or engaging in terrorist acts in an environment of opacity devoid of proper legal recourse have all painted a bleak picture for the future of our fellow Baha’i countrymen in Iran.