Fear of Impending Executions
FEAR OF IMPENDING EXECUTION OF IRANIAN BAHÁ'ÍS
Seven members of the Bahá'í religion are due to face court in Iran next week on the basis of contrived charges. Bahá'ís followers in South Africa and worldwide fear they could be executed and call for urgent international action.
The seven Bahá'ís are accused of "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic."
"These accusations are manufactured," said Kully Zipethe, Secretary General of the Bahá’ís of South Africa. "We call on our government to take a diplomatic stand on this issue and for human rights organizations and the media to protest the clear violation of their human rights. The seven detained Bahá’ís must be released immediately or given fair trial.”
Those facing charges are most probably seven members of a body known as the "Friends in Iran", who are the leaders of Iran's largest religious minority. The Bahá'í religion began in Iran but is banned and Bahá'ís have long faced persecutions.
At no time during their incarceration since early 2008 have the detainees been given access to their legal counsel, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi. Ebadi has been harassed, intimidated, and threatened since taking on their case and has not been given access to their case files.
"It has taken more than eight months for the government to accuse these individuals of any crime," said Zipethe, "during which time no evidence against them has been brought to light. We pray to God to help them and their families."
Profile of the seven imprisoned Bahá'ís:
Open letter of Apology to the Bahá'ís of Iran: