Arbitrary detention and arrest of Iranian Baha’is
UN Human Rights Council – 30th Session, September 2015
Agenda ITEM 4
A few weeks ago, a judge visited a prison in a city in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and spoke with some of the prisoners. Among them was a Baha’i who took the opportunity to inform him that when she became eligible for conditional release, she made a request in writing, but was subsequently told that it had been rejected by the Ministry of Intelligence. Asking to which authority she should now refer to regarding the future of her application, she was told by the judge that she is neither eligible for conditional release nor for furlough, because the public prosecutor is against it. “Whoever you write to,” he added “it will bounce and bounce and will come back to be placed in your case file.” And once again, when she asked what could be done, the judge gave a shocking response, unexpected when coming from a member of the judiciary. He simply said: “You have said yourself that you have nowhere to turn to. So you should quietly, peacefully, and silently finish your sentence and leave.”
Mr. President, the Baha’is in Iran are not only subject to arbitrary detention—since 2005, there have been over 820 of such arrests, which are in violation human rights norms—but throughout the judicial process they face an unjust treatment that clearly violates Iran’s own Penal and Criminal Procedure codes. Where is justice when a person – a law abiding citizen – is told by a judge – the very symbol of justice: “you have nowhere to turn to”?
The Baha’is in Iran ask for no special privilege, but only for their rights, and they hope that the international community and the High Commissioner for Human Rights will continue to put pressure on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to put an end to this manifestly unjust discrimination.