Friday, 27 June 2008

Intimidation of Bahá’ís and their friends... Baha’is in Iran continued persecution

Intimidation of Muslims who associate with Bahá’ís

In April 2008 a number of major news agencies (including Agence France Presse and Reuters), carried news of death threats that had been received by Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, whose defence of victims of human rights violations throughout Iran has included public statements deploring the treatment of Iran’s Baha’is.

The stories made reference to the fact that death threats against her had increased in recent months and referred explicitly to three anonymous handwritten warnings she had received at her office. One of these warnings signed by “The Association of anti-Baha’is” stated: “Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, we told you to give up your un-Islamic and Baha’i-based faith but you have continued serving the foreigners and the Baha’is and even your daughter is involved. So we will kill her, so you understand.”

Press articles feature in:

Efforts to drive Baha’is out of towns and villages and to weaken small Baha’i communities:

Following the attack on the home of the Bahrami Family in Abadeh in January 2008, officials attempted to justify the bulldozing of the house by asserting that this was connected to a town-planning scheme; as indicated in previous reports, however, the Baha’is in Iran are certain that this action is part of a larger plan to uproot the long-standing Baha’i community of Abadeh, most of whose members are descendants of the early believers.

Shortly after the incident, Mr Bahrami was summoned to the office of the governor to meet the governor, the Mayor of Abadeh, the head of the City Council and the director of the Ministry of Intelligence. Using threats, insults, intimidation, and psychological pressure, they forced Mr. Bahrámí to sign an agreement to sell his house and his factory at a very low price. Subsequently, from legal advice given to him, Mr. Bahrámí wrote to the same officials indicating as the agreement had been signed under duress it was not valid. Mr. Bahrámí has continued to receive expressions of support from Muslim friends, neighbours, and officials, including a member of the City Council who commended him for not surrendering to the pressures placed upon him.

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