Thursday * October 2nd 2014

Mahvash Sabet enters fourth year imprisonment; human rights groups speak out, urge action

Amidst a series of public statements by human rights groups supporting the seven imprisoned members of the former Iranian Baha’i leadership group, Amnesty International USA has rallied its members to send greetings cards to the prisoners for the forthcoming Persian new year.
 
According to the Baha’i World News Service, the global support continues as Mahvash Sabet – schoolteacher, mother of two and the first member of the group to be arrested – enters her fourth year of unlawful detention. She was arrested on March 5, 2008 and held in solitary confinement for the first 175 days of her imprisonment.
Mrs. Mahvash Sabet

Mrs. Mahvash Sabet

Individuals and groups leading the effort to exert international pressure on the Iranian government to free Sabet and her six colleagues include International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Iranian League for Human Rights (LDDHI), the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), [Read their joint statement], Minority Rights Group International (Read MRGI’s report), Human Rights Watch (Read HRW’s World Report 2011: Iran), Amnesty International and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Baha’i International Community: International pressure “remains the main source of protection and comfort for these innocent prisoners”

Human rights organizations from around the world have spoken out about the 10-year jail terms received by Iran's seven Baha'i leaders, as well as their recent transfer to harsher prison conditions. In a recent statement, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said, "We call on Iran to free all political prisoners and persecuted minorities..."

Referring to Amnesty International’s Persian new year greeting cards campaign, the Baha’is World News Service writes:

The action call notes that “Nowruz,” which means “new day,” is an ancient Persian holiday celebrating the first day of spring and the coming of the new year.

“On this Nowruz we want to remember several courageous prisoners of conscience in Iran with Nowruz greetings,” said the organization.

Referring to the seven Baha’i leaders, Amnesty International wrote, “Although they have done nothing more than peacefully practice their religion, they were convicted on serious, but baseless, charges including ‘espionage for Israel,’ ‘insulting religious sanctities’ and ‘propaganda against the system.’”

The group also suggests sending cards to seven other Iranian prisoners of conscience, depicting scenes “in keeping with the spirit of the holiday and the message of hope and renewal.”

“The support of Amnesty International USA is greatly appreciated,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

“The awareness generated by Amnesty and other groups – along with expressions of concern by governments and international organizations – remains the main source of protection and comfort for these innocent prisoners and others who are deprived of their rights in Iran,” she said.

Read the full article from the Baha’i World News Service. 

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