Nine years ago, seven innocent men and women were rounded up by Iranian authorities and thrown into the infamous Evin prison solely because of their religious beliefs.
The seven were the ad hoc, appointed leaders of the Iranian Baha’i community, which has undergone severe persecution since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Over the last 38 years, more than 200 Iranian Baha’is have been killed or executed, hundreds have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have lost jobs or businesses or have been deprived of higher education.
Currently, there are about 90 Baha’is in Iranian prisons – all held because of their religious beliefs and activities.
Under international law, the seven Baha’i leaders, who were initially sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, should never have been arrested in the first place.
The charges against them clearly stem from their religious beliefs and activities – and freedom of religion is protected by numerous international covenants and treaties, most of which Iran itself is party to.
But even under Iranian law, the seven have been repeatedly denied their rights. The violations include:
Though Iranian law requires that detainees be quickly and formally charged with crimes the seven Baha’is were held for at least nine months before any word of the charges against them were uttered by officials, and even then it was at a press conference, not in a court setting.
The right to legal counsel is spelled out in Iranian law but the seven were denied access to their lawyers for more than a year and then only allowed barely one hour of contact before their trial began.
Detainees who have been charged also have the right to seek bail and to be released pending trial. The Baha’i leaders were consistently denied bail, despite numerous requests.
And having by now served nine years of a 10 year sentence, the seven have been eligible for immediate release for several years now but the authorities have chosen to keep them incarcerated.
Read more at https://www.bic.org/not-another-year-9th-campaign/their-imprisonment-illegal#MOjSVsHEH3ERdcfZ.99