Members of the national coordinating group of the Iranian Baha’i community arrested in spring 2008
The Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) announced today that charges had been laid against the seven imprisoned members of the national-level committee that coordinates the activities for the Iranian Baha’i community. The report quoted deputy Tehran prosecutor Hassan Haddad as having said “the case will be sent to the revolutionary court next week” and that these Baha’is are accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic.” Agence France Presse (AFP) posted an article titled “Iran to try Bahais for spying for Israel“.
The Baha’is deny categorically these charges. No evidence against them has been brought to light. The seven members of a national Baha’i coordinating committee were arrested in March and May of 2008 and have been held in Tehran’s Evin Prison. At no time during their incarceration have they been given access to their legal counsel, Mrs. Shirin Ebadi. Mrs. Ebadi has been harassed, intimidated, and threatened since taking on their case and has not been given access to their case files. The prosecution of the leaders is just one step in a 30-year-long systematic campaign orchestrated by the government to eliminate the Baha’i community as a viable entity in Iran, the birthplace of the Bahá’í Faith. Documentary evidence exists on this campaign.
At this time, some thirty other Baha’is are imprisoned in Iran solely on account of their religion. Close to 80 more Baha’is, have been required to post deeds of property and business licenses as collateral for bail. They have likewise been falsely charged and are awaiting trial.
The Baha’i World News Service issued a statement from the Baha’i International Community, titled: “Jailed Iranian Baha’i should be released, not put on trial, says BIC”.