Stop the repression against Baha’i

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI) express their deepest concern regarding the ongoing repression against the Baha’i community in Iran.

According to the information received, in the night of 9 to 10 February 2010, six members of the Baha’i religious minority were arrested, in Tehran, at the their houses, by agents of the Ministry of Information. They are allegedly accused of "involvement in disturbances". Their whereabouts and their place of detention are not known to date.

Furthermore, on 7 February, the second session of the trial of the seven Baha’i leaders was held. During the first session, held on 12 January 2010 the seven defendants categorically denied all the charges. According to several government sponsored media, the charges were: “espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order, the establishment of an illegal administration, cooperation with Israel, sending secret documents outside the country, acting against the security of the country, and ’corruption on earth’”. Both first and second sessions were closed to the public, recorded by camera, while only procedural issues have been so far covered.

Mrs. Mahvash Sabet was arrested in Mashhad on 5 March 2008, after being summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence office. The rest of the Baha’i, Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm, were arrested on 14 May 2008. Since then, they have been detained at the Evin prison in Tehran. They are all members of the national coordinating group of Baha’i, an informal organ formed with the knowledge of the government, to assist the 300,000-member Baha’i community in Iran.

Concerns are further reinforced following the arrest on 3 January 2010, of ten other members of the Baha’i community, whose charges may be used as false evidence for the trial of the Baha’i leaders. According to the Baha’i International Community, the ten arrested are expected to be forced to confess that they participated in the organisation of the peaceful demonstrations in Ashura, on 27 December 2009, following the orders of their “leaders”. One of them, after being denied contact with his family, access to a lawyer of his own choice, has already “confessed” his participation in the demonstrations. They are all currently detained in the prison of Gohardasht.

FIDH and LDDHI call upon the Iranian authorities to immediately cease all kinds of intimidation and harassment against the Baha’i community and release all persons arbitrarily detained. Iran should, under all circumstances, respect the international standards related to the right to a fair trial. In addition, FIDH and LDDHI urge the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a member State to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to respect the right to freedom of religion and belief protected by international human rights law.

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