News reports from Iran indicate that seven Baha’i leaders who have been imprisoned for over a year are to go to trial tomorrow, July 11, 2009, although that date may change, as the Iranian government has postponed the trial many times already.
The seven were arrested and have been held without formal charges but the Revolutionary Court has indicated they will be accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” These charges carry a number of possible punishments, including death. It would appear, though, that they are being prosecuted solely because of their religious beliefs.
For more than 100 years, the followers of the Baha’i Faith have faced discrimination and persecution for having progressive ideals that place great emphasis on the unity of religion, the equality of the sexes and the right to education. Bahá’ís have been prevented from following their faith, on penalty of imprisonment and even execution.
Their fundamental rights continue to be violated. Arrests remain widespread and arbitrary. Followers of the Bahá’í Faith can be denied access to higher education and banned from civil service posts. Pensions have been revoked and inheritances refused on grounds of Bahá’í belief. Holy sites and graves have been destroyed.
The names of the seven Bahá’ís on trial in Iran are: Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm.You can see a photograph of them at the US Baha’i website.
An interfaith prayer service for human rights and religious freedom in Iran will be held in Marin County at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere on Saturday, July 11, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Prayers will be offered by the leaders of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Bahá’í communities in Marin. Admission is free and all are welcome.
- Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran
(US Baha’i website)