The Pasadena Baha’i Community is sponsoring a prayer gathering on Monday, January 11th at 7:30pm to pray for the release of the seven Baha’i prisoners facing trial in Iran. Location will be at a private home: 3330 San Pasqual, Pasadena, 91107. For more info please contact John 626-298-1603.
The trial of the seven leaders of the Baha’i Faith in Iran is currently scheduled for Tuesday, January 12th in Tehran. To summarize, these individuals have been held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran for well over a year without access to their lawyer, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi. The Iranian government’s charges against them are trumped up: “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic” and “spreading corruption thoughout the earth.” This is patently ridiculous and part of the insiduous pattern of persecution that have followed the Bahai’s in Iran since the Faith’s inception in the 19th century.
Today, May 14th, marks the one-year anniversary of the imprisonment of seven Baha’i leaders in Iran, who have spent a year in jail without formal charges or access to their lawyer, Shirin Ebadi. The families of the prisoners were recently informed that a new accusation has been lodged against them by the Iranian government, the charge of “spreading corruption on earth,” which carries the threat of death under Iran’s penal code.
Local Bahá’ís are also writing to their members of Congress, and urging other to do the same, to gather additional cosponsors for two resolutions, H.Res 175 and S.Res.71, currently before the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate respectively, which call for the release of the Iranian Baha’i leaders and other Bahá’í prisoners
Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, said on May 12 that “despite their obvious innocence and the call by many for their immediate release, these seven men and women have been in legal limbo for a year now, against all international human rights standards.”
Ms. Dugal also noted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has frequently emphasized the importance of “justice and human dignity” and “the establishment of a just world system,” such as when he addressed the UN Durban Review Conference in Geneva last month.
“How can the calls of the Iranian leadership for justice in the international sphere be taken seriously if they do not grant justice to their own citizens? In Iran, by all accounts universally agreed upon human rights are routinely ignored, not only for Baha’is but also for women, journalists, and others who only seek dignity and justice,” she said.
7 Imprisoned Baha'i Leaders in Iran
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 May 14, 2008 at their homes in Tehran. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on March 5, 2008 while in Mashhad. Read more about them.
The Baha’i Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions and one of the fastest-growing, with a significant presence throughout the United States. Baha’is view the world’s major religions as part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Major Baha’i tenets include the oneness of humanity, equality of men and women, eradication of prejudice, harmony of science and religion, universal education and world peace.
The Baha’i International community released a statement last week in response to Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, the Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who declared illegal on 15 Feb 2009 the ad hoc arrangements that tend to the spiritual and social affairs of the Baha’i community of Iran. The ad hoc arrangements, which include the Yaran and the Khadimin, the Baha’i administrative leadership at the national and local levels respectively, will close their functioning to remain obedient to the government. To read the letter click here.
The Yaran, which consists of the 7 Baha’is imprisoned since last year (pictured above) remain without access to their lawyer, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, and still face trial in Iran with the possibility of the death penalty. Thankfully, there is action in the House of Representatives and the Senate to condemn the Iranian government actions.
If you haven’t already contacted our Congressman, Adam Schiff, to support H. Res 175, then here is his contact form.