In very similar circumstances to the recent detention of Baha’is in Iran, two Christian social workers have been imprisoned in Evin prison since the 15th of July. Apparently their ‘crimes’ are ‘apostasy and violations of national security’…
The independent online Persian news agency Rooz, which is critical of the regime, reported on July 15 that two Christian women, 30-year-old Marsiye Aminsadeh and 27-year-old Mariam Rostampur, had been arrested in Tehran about four months earlier. The pair are social workers who without pay, help people in trouble regardless of race or religion. The two Christians were charged with apostasy and violations of national security and are being held at the notorious Evin Prison. Interrogated on a daily basis, they are held under very harsh conditions with no access to legal or medical assistance. According to Rooz, there are currently at least 50 Christians in Iranian prisons in Tehran, Schiras, Maschad and Urumije, among others.
I am heartened to learn that a non-partisan group called United4Iran is planning a worldwide event on the 25th July to promote Human Rights in Iran. According to their site-
United4Iran does not promote any political agenda. Our only aim is to condemn the widespread and systematic violations of the Iranian people’s human rights and to call for full restoration of their human and civil rights.
We came together to organize a Global Day of Action on July 25th so the citizens of the world can stand together for:
1) Civil and human rights for the people of Iran
2) Stopping the abuse of power—the imprisonment, torture and killing
3) Solidarity with the Iranian people. To our Iranian brothers and sisters: We have heard your voices, and you are not alone.
I am not sure whether it is a good sign or not but it seems that the trial of seven prominent Baha’is in Iran has been delayed. Most probably the group behind it perceive the delay as a way of milking the most political benefit from the situation.
Iranian officials have reportedly told families of the seven Baha’i leaders currently held in Evin prison in Tehran that their trial has been delayed. No new trial date was given.
Held for more than a year, the seven were reportedly to have been tried on Saturday, although this information, too, was based on oral reports from officials, and such reports have often been unreliable in the past.
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 seven are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. All but one of the group were arrested on 14 May 2008 at their homes in Tehran. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008 while in Mashhad.
It does not make happy reading but NGO the Sentinel Project has just issued a report detailing the potential genocide of the Baha’is in Iran. The organisation has released this report because in their view
The Sentinel Project operates on the basic principle that genocide is predictable. However, early warning, which is our first goal, means a lot more than just predicting when and where genocide while happen. Just as there is a difference between “information” and “intelligence,” prediction and early warning differ. The Sentinel Project aims to go beyond simply gathering information and making predictions because early warning means using those predictions for prevention.
The report can be found here.