Date of Publish: ۲۵ فروردین ۱۳۸۹

Detained Iranian Baha'is protest against court proceedings

The seven detained Baha'i leaders, (from left to right sitting): Behrouz Tavakoli, Saeed Rezai, (standing): Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naimi, Mahvash Sabet

Seven imprisoned Iranian Baha’is refused to participate in their third court proceedings yesterday in protest to “the presence of non-judicial personnel in a supposedly closed hearing.”

The third session of the trial of the Baha'i leaders was held yesterday, Tuesday, behind closed doors. Their families were denied permission to attend the trial, but according to Baha’i International Community News Service, “numerous officials and interrogators from the Ministry of Intelligence – along with a film crew” were present in court.

The defendants refused to collaborate, following advice from their attorneys, and the court was reportedly adjourned with no announcements regarding the next session.

Diane Alai, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nation in Geneva, emphasized that the detained Baha’is are “innocent” and should be released by the Islamic Republic as soon as possible.

She added: "They are now about to enter the third year of their incarceration on baseless charges which they have categorically denied and for which the government has no evidence whatsoever.”

She urged the Islamic Republic authorities to at least release the prisoners on bail and if they are to remain incarcerated, “the harsh conditions under which they are being held must be improved.”

The charges laid against the group include “collecting classified documents and delivering them to foreigners, assembly and collusion with intent to disturb domestic and international security of Iran, distorting international image of the Islamic Republic and corruption."

The seven detained Baha’is are members of a committee that provided guidance and services to the Baha’i community in Iran.

Currently there are 300,000 Baha’is is Iran and since the 1980s, all activities of the Baha’i community have been outlawed in Iran because the Islamic Republic does not recognize Baha’ism as an official religion.

There are currently 40 Baha’is in Islamic Republic prisons for various charges.