Australia’s Foreign Minister calls for immediate release of the seven Baha’i leaders

May 6, 2013

Senator The Hon Bob Carr (Labor NSW) Official Portrait 16 March 2012

Bob Carr, Foreign Minister of Australia

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, has issued a call for the immediate release of seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders in Iran.

The statement comes in conjunction with a national forum scheduled for Tuesday, 7 May, that is part of the international Five Years Too Many campaign.

“We call for the immediate release of prisoners of conscience including the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders: Afif Naeimi, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mahvash Sabet, Saeid Rezaie, and Vahid Tizfahm,” said Senator Carr, in a statement posted today on his official web site.

Senator Carr’s statement will be read at tomorrow’s program, to be held at the NSW Parliament House in Sydney, where leaders of major faith communities in Australia will offer prayers and then place red roses on seven empty chairs to symbolise the five men and two women imprisoned for their faith.

Four relatives of the seven leaders will address the public forum, scheduled to be held 12:30-2:00.

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will be represented at the event by Berowra MP Philip Ruddock, who was a high ranking cabinet minister in former governments.

In his statement, Senator Carr said the Australian Government reiterates its concerns at continuing human rights abuses in Iran including those affecting the Baha’i community.

“These concerns were most recently voiced in March this year, in a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“In that statement, Australia expressed its concern at the use of the death penalty, intimidation and arbitrary arrest of human rights and political activists, suppression of personal freedoms and the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, including Baha’is.

For more information, visit the event page at the website of the Baha’i community of Australia, at this link.

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