Monday, 23 June 2008

Reflections as the persecution of Baha’is in Iran continues...

It’s now close to 30 years since this new wave of active persecution and oppression of the Baha’is of Iran started. There is still no relief in sight for the Baha’is living in Iran. Their human rights and livelihood continues to be questioned and a source of angst for their fellow Baha’is around the world. The persecutions and oppressions seem to be growing each day, with no hope in sight. The Baha’is in Iran continue to live under constant siege, and their lives are still threatened every day.

Over the next few weeks I want to highlight the notable incidents of persecution and human rights violations against the Baha’is of Iran that have taken place since August 2007. In the span of less than 1 year, the actions of the Islamic Government of Iran have committed countless atrocities. How can a government justly withhold the basic human rights of any group of individuals? One question forever lingers in our mind as we read about these incidents: “WHY?” Why does the Islamic Government of Iran continue to do this? Why do the persecutions continue? Why are people subjected to such cruelty?

Let us look at the most recent active persecution of Baha'is in Iran:

All seven members of national coordinating committee imprisoned and still remain in prison.

The seven members of the committee that had seen to the minimum needs of the 300,000-member Baha’i community of Iran are still being held by the government. No formal charges have been filed against them, and none of them have been allowed contact with an attorney.

The Baha’i International Community has learned, however, that all seven have now had very brief telephone contact with their families.

After being held incommunicado – Mrs. Mahvash Sabet since her arrest on 5 March and the other six since their arrests on 14 May – on 3 June 2008 Mrs. Sabet and Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi were each permitted to make a short phone call to their families. Since then, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm also have had brief phone contact with their families.

Mrs. Sabet had been held in the city of Mashhad but on 26 May was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran. It is believed that the other six people are also in Evin Prison.

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