I am appalled to hear of the twenty year jail sentence unjustly handed out to seven innocent Baha’is in Iran.
The harsh prison sentences handed down to seven Iranian Baha’i leaders who are absolutely innocent of any wrongdoing is a judgment against an entire religious community…Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, whose Defenders of Human Rights Center represented the Baha’i defendants, said she was “stunned” by the reported 20-year jail terms. “I have read their case file page by page and did not find anything proving the accusations, nor did I find any document that could prove the claims of the prosecutor,” said Mrs. Ebadi in a television interview, broadcast on 8 August by the Persian-language service of the BBC. The flagrantly unjust sentence has provoked vehement protest from governments throughout the world – including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S.A. The European Union and the President of the European Parliament have also joined the chorus of condemnation, along with numerous human rights organizations – including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and FIDH – as well as other groups, and countless individuals. “The trumped-up charges, and the total lack of any credible evidence against these seven prisoners, reflects the false accusations and misinformation that Iran’s regime has used to vilify and defame a peaceful, religious community for an entire generation,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. Ms. Dugal noted that the seven have reportedly been transferred to Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, a facility about 20 kilometers west of Tehran. “The reason for the move is not yet known and it is too early to assess the implications for the prisoners,” she said. “It does, however, clearly impose an added burden to their families, who now have to travel outside Tehran to visit their loved ones.”The seven – Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm – were all members of a national-level group that, with the government’s knowledge, helped see to the minimum spiritual needs of Iran’s Baha’i community.