Status of Imprisoned Baha'is
For two years now, the seven people who were tending to the religious needs of the Baha'is in Iran have been unjustly imprisoned in notorious section 209 of Evin prison in Tehran.
Everything in this case violates not only International human rights law, but even parts of the Iranian Penal Code:
- These Baha'is were in solitary confinement for four to six months.
- Charges were announced nearly a year after the arrests.
- A new charge carrying the death penalty was suddenly added months later.
- They had virtually no access to their lawyers – meeting once for only an hour.
- The trial began over nine months after the charges had been issued.
Mr. President, these seven Baha'is are:
- Ms. Fariba Kamalabadi, 47, a developmental psychologist and mother of three
- M. Jamaloddin Khanjani, 76, a businessman whose enterprises were confiscated several times
- Mr.Afif Naeimi, 48, an industrialist unable to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor because, as a Baha'i, he was denied access to university
- Mr. Saeid Rezaie, 52, an agricultural engineer whose two daughters were among a group of 54 young Baha'is arrested while engaged in a project helping underprivileged youth
- Ms. Mahvash Sabet, 56, a teacher and school principal dismissed from public education for being a Baha'i
- Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, 58, a social worker who lost his government job in the 1980s because of his beliefs
- Mr. Vahid Tizfahm, 36, an optometrist and father of a 10 year old son
These people have never acted against the security of the State. On the contrary, they decided to stay in Iran despite all the hardships suffered solely because of their beliefs, to serve their country and their fellow citizens. One of their lawyers, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, has stated that their case files do not contain a single piece of incriminating evidence. They are innocent and should be released.
Their case has become a symbol of the persecution against all members of this religion in Iran.