German official calls for immediate release of the seven

May 14, 2013

_DSC8824_Brandenberg gate

Participants in the Five Years Too Many campaign at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Saturday.

Markus Löning, the German Government’s Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, has called on Iran to repeal the judgment against seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders and to release them immediately.

In a statement on 10 May, Mr. Löning noted that the seven “sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in a trial that lacked any transparency and disregarded fundamental rule-of-law principles.”

“I call upon the Iranian judiciary to quash these unlawful judgements immediately. The seven Baha’i leaders and all other prisoners held because of their religious beliefs must be released without delay.”

Mr. Löning’s call followed a statement issued by MP Erika Steinbach on Wednesday last week. “Religious freedom is a fundamental human right,” said Ms. Steinbach. “We support the campaign of the Bahá’í International Community for the immediate release of the seven Bahá’í leaders who already are illegally imprisoned for five years.”

Over the weekend, members of the Baha’i community of Germany and others gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to call attention to the plight of the seven. Held on Saturday, 11 May, it was supported by the Society of Threatened Peoples. The event included talks by civil society representatives, music, and photography, along with readings of prison reports written by Roxana Saberi, Marina Nemat, Pari Wahdat-Hagh, and Olya Roohizadegan.

A video has been produced of that event, which can be viewed here:

Mr. Löning’s statement can be read in English here:

Ms. Steinbach’s statement can be read in German here:

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