Trial underway for Baha'is in Iran:


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Trial underway for Baha'i leaders in Iran

  • The seven are charged with spying, spreading propaganda against Iran and religious offenses
  • The U.S. State Department has condemned Iran's decision to try the leaders
  • The Baha'i faith are the nation's largest non-Muslim religious minority


(CNN) -- Seven leaders of Iran's Baha'i minority went on trial in Tehran Tuesday accused of spying for Israel, a charge their supporters say is motivated by religious discrimination.
The seven -- two women and five men -- are also accused of spreading propaganda against the Islamic republic and committing religious offenses, charges that can carry the death penalty.
"We understand that no observers were allowed in the court," said Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. "We understand that even the lawyers had to argue their way inside the court -- lawyers who, in any case, had virtually no access to the accused for nearly two years."
At the same time, interrogators from the intelligence ministry and a film crew were seen going into the courtroom, Ala'i said.
"We find this completely outrageous, given that these seven have been held purely because of their religious beliefs, in total contradiction to any human rights standards," she said.
They have been held at Tehran's Evin prison since their arrests in March and May 2008. Their trial was delayed twice. Ala'i said it was because the Iranian regime had no basis for a case.
The U.S. State Department on Monday condemned Iran's decision to try the leaders.
"Authorities have detained these persons for more than 20 months, without making public any evidence against them and giving them little access to legal counsel," the department said in a statement.
Leonard Leo, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom chairman, said his group is "extremely concerned about the fate of the seven" -- who risk facing the death penalty.
"It appears that the Iranian government has already predetermined the outcome, and is once again using its courts as an instrument of religious persecution in blatant violation of international human rights law," Leo said.
"We commend the U.S. government on its strong statement of today and we urge the international community to put the Iranian government on notice that they will be held to account should the sham trial continue this week."
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that reviews information about violations of religious freedom across the world and makes policy recommendations to the president, the secretary of state and Congress.
The Baha'i faith originated in 19th century Persia, but the constitution of today's Islamic republic does not recognize it as a religion and considers followers as apostates.
The Iranian government denies mistreating Baha'is, who number about 300,000 in Iran and are the nation's largest non-Muslim religious minority, according to Baha'i International. But the Baha'is say believers in Iran are victims of systematic discrimination and targets of violence.


Trial underway for Baha'i leaders in Iran -
Next hearing February 7th...

Date set for seven Baha'i leaders' next court session

GENEVA – Iranian authorities have notified the lawyers of seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders that the next session of their trial will be held on 7 February, the Baha'i International Community learned today.

At their first court appearance, held 12 January in Tehran, the charges were read to the seven, who categorically denied the accusations.

"While we know little about what actually took place inside the court, we can now say for certain that these seven innocent Baha'is stood up and firmly rejected all of the charges against them," said Diane Ala'i of the Baha'i International Community.

"We can also say that, based on the international outcry that accompanied the first session of their trial, the world is watching this proceeding closely and that the Iranian government will be held accountable for any injustices," she said.

The charges against the seven, according to accounts in government-sponsored news media, were: espionage, "propaganda activities against the Islamic order," the establishment of an "illegal administration," cooperation with Israel, sending secret documents outside the country, acting against the security of the country, and "corruption on earth."

The seven defendants are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm.

All but one of the group were arrested on 14 May 2008 at their homes in Tehran. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008 while in Mashhad. They have been held in Tehran's Evin prison ever since, spending their first year there without formal charges or any access to lawyers.

For the Baha’i World News Service home page, go to:
They risk sentence of death; for spying? Or is the death sentence for faith?

Makes me laugh how they (muslims) continue to swarm our island in their droves.... And whine and rant and march..... Yet don't stop to see how frickin good they been given it.... Or look to the reason they run to us for shelter/protection/a better frickin life!
Ten Baha'is detained in early January..

Bahá'í World News Service - Bahá’í International Community

The Committee of Human Rights Reporters has published these photographs and identified the individuals as among the 10 Baha’is, including two married couples, arrested on 3 January.

Detention of ten Baha’is leads to fears for other prisoners

27 January 2010

NEW YORK — </SPAN>Concern is growing over the lack of information about the status of 10 Baha'is who were arrested earlier this month in Iran.
In addition to worry about their safety, there are fears that charges against these 10 will be used to create false evidence in court against the seven Baha'i leaders who have been held since 2008 and whose trial is set to resume on 7 February.

"Our concern is that in the absence of any evidence against the seven leaders, the authorities may be attempting to build a case by perhaps forcing these newly arrested Baha'is to 'confess' that they were involved in organizing December's Ashura demonstrations under orders from their 'leadership'," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

"Any such claim would be absurd, given that the seven leaders have been in prison for the last two years," she said.

Since their arrest on 3 January, statements have been made in Iranian state-sanctioned media that the 10 possessed arms and ammunition in their homes as part of an anti-government plot related to the December demonstrations.

The 10 have virtually disappeared into Iran's detention system, said Ms. Dugal.

While it is not known whether any of these 10 were in fact present at the Ashura demonstrations, any suggestion that they were central to the organization of these events or that they possessed arms to be used against the government is completely without foundation, she said.
"In the three weeks since these Baha'is were detained, their families have had no contact with them, aside from a brief telephone message to one family member on 11 January."

While families have been unable to contact the 10, it has been learned that they have been transferred recently to Gohardasht prison in Karaj.
"A cell mate of some of the Baha'i prisoners was recently released, and this individual informed the families of this transfer," said Ms. Dugal. "We don't know exactly what this means, but we do know that families tried to bring clothes and money to the prisoners. The money was accepted by authorities in Karaj, but not the clothing."

The 10 Baha'is who were arrested on 3 January are Mrs. Leva Khanjani, granddaughter of Jamaloddin Khanjani, one of the seven Baha'i leaders, and her husband, Mr. Babak Mobasher; Mr. Artin Ghazanfari and his wife, Mrs. Jinous Sobhani, former secretary of Nobel laureate and human rights attorney Shirin Ebadi; Mr. Mehran Rowhani and Mr. Farid Rowhani, who are brothers; Mr Payam Fanaian; Mr. Nikav Hoveydaie; and Mr. Ebrahim Shadmehr and his son, Mr. Zavosh Shadmehr.

On 12 January, the formal arraignment of the seven leaders was held in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

According to accounts in government-sponsored news media, the seven have been charged with: espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order, the establishment of an illegal administration, cooperation with Israel, sending secret documents outside the country, acting against the security of the country, and corruption on earth.

In court, the defendants explicitly denied all of these charges.

Ms. Dugal said the judge has reportedly indicated that the next session of the trial on 7 February will be open and the families will be permitted to attend. The first court appearance was closed to the public.

The seven "leaders" are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm.

This group of seven and the 10 Baha'is arrested on 3 January are among hundreds of Baha'is who have been detained in the ongoing persecution of Baha'is - a systematic campaign that has increased in severity in the last few years.

Yes there is some updated information..

Update on third trial session of Iranian Baha'i leaders

13 April 2010
GENEVA — </SPAN>Details are emerging from yesterday's court appearance in Tehran of seven imprisoned Iranian Baha'i leaders.
The Baha'i International Community has learned that when the prisoners arrived at the court, their families were not allowed to enter, signaling a closed hearing.
Inside the courtroom, however, the prisoners saw numerous officials and interrogators from the Ministry of Intelligence – along with a film crew which had already set up its cameras.

Concerned over the presence of non-judicial personnel in a supposedly closed hearing, the Baha'is – with the agreement of their attorneys – declined to be party to the proceedings.

The judge adjourned the session and did not announce a date for continuing the trial.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran should immediately set free these seven innocent prisoners," said Diane Ala'i, Baha'i representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
"The dictates of justice demand no less," she said. "They are now about to enter the third year of their incarceration on baseless charges which they have categorically denied and for which the government has no evidence whatsoever.

"At the very least, they should be released on bail and steps be taken to ensure that their trial is conducted fairly, in accordance with international standards of jurisprudence.

"If their confinement is to continue, the harsh conditions under which they are being held must be improved," she said.

Yesterday's session was the third in the ongoing trial of the seven Baha'is, who have been accused of espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order, and "corruption on earth," among other charges.

Their first court appearance was 12 January this year.
The seven defendants are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008 and the others on 14 May 2008