On August 8, the seven Baha’i leaders were found guilty of « Spying for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, propaganda against the regime and spreading corruption on earth » by branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Prior to the court’s decision, they had been held in « temporary » detention for more than two years.
FIDH and LDDHI recall that on May 14, 2008, six Baha’i leaders were arrested by Ministry of intelligence agents, and brought to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Another Baha’i community leader was also arrested on March 5, 2008, in Mashhad after being summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence office. The seven people who were arrested are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, Mrs Mahvash Sabet and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm, all members of the committee that coordinates the activities for the Iranian Baha’i community, a religious minority which regroups an estimated 300,000 members. Their lawyers intend to appeal the court’s decision.
Members of this religious community have been persecuted by the Irani authorities for many years, seemingly for their religious beliefs. Indeed, in 1993, a confidential document was published by the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which proved the existence of a governmental strategy to harass the Baha’i community in Iran. Over the past few months, the repression seems to have increased significantly, as on Friday, July 2, 2010, fifty Baha’i homes were destroyed in Ivel, a small village in northern Iran, according to media reports.
"Several days after Iran was examined by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, where FIDH submitted a report on discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, including the Baha’i, the authorities have once again proven their disrespect for international human rights law and principles by condemning innocent people for the simple exercise of their basic right to freedom of religion" said Karim Lahidji, vice-President of FIDH.
FIDH and LDDHI call upon the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the seven Baha’i community leaders and to put an end to the governmental policy consisting of harassing its members. The Iranian Government should act in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as international human rights instruments ratified by the Islamic Republic of Iran.