[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
22 Bahman 1359 [11 February 1981]
The Honourable Head of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Hamadan
We will respectfully bring to the attention of Your Honour and the other honourable judges some details regarding the submitted bill [verdict]:
The Revolution that achieved victory in Iran, under the name of the sacred religion of Islam, is the harbinger of glad tidings for the lofty and humanitarian thoughts of the noble Qu’ranic verses such as, “There shall be no compulsion in the [acceptance of] religion” [Al-Baqara, verse 256], and “Your religion is for you and my religion is for me” [Al-Kafirun, verse 8], so that by crystallization and materialization of human dignity, the real meaning of the verse, “Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you” [Al-Hujurat, verse 13] would become visible in the realm of being.
It is natural that those who are adorned with divine righteousness, and sit on the throne of judgement, have an effective role in the creation of humanitarian conditions, which are inspired by the verities of the Qur’anic verses, since their hearts are full of divine light and their souls are affected by the fear of God.
Far from any flattery, it is our perception that the presence of Your Honour and the honourable judges of this court will serve to protect Islamic justice and the Quranic teachings and it will be a solace to our hearts, the hearts that, as time has passed, have been troubled by the lack of compassion of the brothers who could have walked by their action in the path of love and compassion and followed the illumined Quranic verses, but chose to walk on a different path.
Honourable Ayatollah and distinguished judges: Your conscious mind and true faith, during the legal procedures, have certainly found out to what extent the accusations have been influenced by other issues and how the veils of prejudice have eclipsed the light of justice and prevented its spark. However, with Your Honour’s permission, I will refer to some of these instances and [try to] avoid a prolonged talk.
- Before the arrest of the members of the Assembly, and perhaps at the beginning of the victory of the Revolution, a group of people [published] a letter with fake content that was attributed to the Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran, and submitted the letter to all the Baha’is. The last few lines of this letter deserve attention because the Assembly and its members were clearly threatened and accused of specific [misdeeds] (the exact letter that was sent and the response of the National Assembly is attached.). It is not surprising to observe that this letter was included later on with the documents and evidence of the public prosecutor and became the basis for accusing the defendants in this case. Because it was obvious that, years before that, a group opposed this group [the Baha’is], acting intentionally and using any means, were distorting the public mind, and that now, although our country is in need of tranquility more than ever, gaining trust and expanding justice and ensuring the public welfare, [this group], by fabricating and spreading the falsified letters or selecting the writings of this religion out of context, or [using] similar evidence, is distorting the minds of the respected authorities, [all of] which, at last, resulted in the arrest and trial of the members of the Assembly.
They made the religious zeal of the people of the nation, which was the best support for the country’s progress and development, the means of harassing and persecuting the Baha’is, and neglected the fact that the purpose of sending the Messengers [of God] and revealing the [heavenly] Books and Divine Verses was for nothing but to strengthen the human foundation and expand the moral principles of the people; within all of the holy books of different religions, evidences of such truth exist. They forgot the main secret of the holy religion of Islam, which is to strengthen the affection and conscience and the respect for the human race, and to avoid sin.
Therefore, it is appropriate for them to be complained about and objected to, not because they have harassed and persecuted the Baha’is, but because they have ignored these divine secrets and have deprived the people of the gift of understanding this truth. The truth is that the spread of such conditions and thoughts will further damage the [spiritual] beliefs and social foundations, rather than harm the Baha’is. It is the legal and religious responsibility of all those who look at the issues with insight to prevent the continuation of such situations, and we are sure that Your Honour and the respected judges will be aware of this meaning and will prevent its perpetuation.
- The unity of the Baha’is, which was mentioned in the beginning of the indictment, has been misinterpreted, and it is forgotten that the words of God are full of admonition and orders for the establishment of unity and coherence, and the supreme leader of the Revolution pays attention to the realization of such a quality amongst all the segments of the Iranian nation.
- In this case file, Haji Mohammad Ebrahim Derafshi, whose name has been referred to in several letters from the Assembly to the law enforcement authorities, has appeared as “the investigator”, and at another time as “the appellant”, ’ and again another time as “the witness” or “the informant” and it has been forgotten that using one person in a few different [roles] in a [legal] case is inconsistent with the basic principles of justice.
- What was emphasized in the bill of indictment at the beginning of the trial was the observation of Article 23 of the Constitution based on the prohibition of inquisition of beliefs. However, during the search of the houses of some members of the Assembly, many religious books were seized that have not yet been returned, indicating that the case, since the beginning of the arrests, has not been able to escape the effects of religious prejudice; as a result, Article 23 of the Constitution has been violated.
- Some pages [documents] which were presented during the trial were attributed to the authorities of the Baha’i religion. And regardless of the fact that the necessary explanation had been given, in principle, their preparation, being recorded in the case file, and their presentation, [are all] contrary to Article 23 of the Constitution.
- The articles from the Baha’i News, referred to and presented [as evidence] during the trial, were from the time when none of the accused in this file had even reached the age of maturity.
- The majority of the prosecutor’s evidence was related to cities other than Hamedan and has no connection with the Spiritual Assembly of Hamedan, whose members are accused in this case.
- The complaints of the Assembly to SAVAK and other law enforcement authorities, which were only against the injustice, and a request to prevent the unjust abuses or to investigate the violation, without having legal status, are considered as evidence of the allegations of linkages to SAVAK, while the abuse case and the persons who were the instigators of the incident were never investigated.
- The complaint of the Baha’is of the villages around Hamedan who were forced to flee their homes as a result of raids, the looting of property and furniture, burning of their houses and shops, and cutting down trees, has been considered as a document of incitement against the government, with forgery of signatures and weakening of the committees; although, according to the following:
- The existence of records of complaints of these people to the law enforcement authorities before the Revolution and the request for investigating the said violence;
- The existence of broken furniture, houses, etc., which can prove the occurrence of those attacks;
- The order of the Sharia judge of the time against the violence towards Baha’is and for the prevention of such actions, and agreement that they can stay in their own places;
- The disagreement of some authorities from the committees at the time, regarding the settlement of the mentioned [individuals] in their own areas;
- The non-settlement of most families in the area, because most of them were settled in Hamadan;
- The forging of the signature, the proof of which was easily possible, and accusations against the Assembly and its members without the proof of conditions explained in Penal Code, are reasons for wonder, because the topic of the claim is correct and those who claimed are present and are ready to agree with the facts and the validity of their own signatures;
- The assistance of the Assembly in providing a place for temporary settlement in Hamadan, and providing living expenses for them, has been considered as provocation against the government, these events occurred before the victory of the Revolution; the accusations are unjustified. Many of the Muslims in this city and even in different parts of Hamadan, are aware of these real events and the honourable head of the court and the judges can justly investigate to obtain the information about the details of the matters.
- The telegram sent to the respected authorities and religious heads about the objection to the confiscation of properties of the Baha’i community, [registered] in the name of the Omana (Trustees) Company, and also requesting that attention be turned to the rights of the Baha’is in the Constitution, were considered as causing provocation and sedition; while the first right of an individual, from a human point of view, in accordance with the law and all the divine scriptures, is the right to seek justice and to plead with the authorities to investigate the matter. Regarding the demand for attention to the rights of the community in the Constitution, according to Imam Khomeini and the prime minister of the time, it has been announced in the mass media. and because Baha’is around Hamadan were away temporarily, if this Assembly has made a request to the authorities on behalf of the Baha’is from a village, it was not contrary to the truth, nor an inexcusable fault, and if the Assembly has paid money for the cost of these telegrams it was because this group was expelled from their homes and did not have any money to provide for their daily expenses.
- Article 14 of the Constitution asks the government and general public to observe the rights of non-Muslims. Assuming that the latter part of this article [this principle is right for those who do not conspire and act against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran] is to be cited, despite its inaccuracy, Clause 169 of Constitution does not consider any current act[ion] or omission [of action] to be prosecutable before the enactment of the law.
- [The Assembly’s] connection with the government of Israel is due to the existence of the centre of the Baha’i administration in Haifa. There are a few pages containing untrue and fake documents on this subject, for which, with the permission of Your Honour, I will give a few explanations:
The existence of the centre of the Baha’i religion in Haifa and the sending of oblations are considered as “connection”, [notwithstanding the fact] mausoleums built over the resting places of the sacred personalities of religions have no connection with the government of the lands around those buildings. And this concentration has nothing to do with the government that rules the lands around the shrines. The most holy [city of] Najaf is the resting place of Amir al-Mo’menin [Imam Ali], may thousands of greetings be upon Him. If this revered place is, for the same reason [as in the accusation against the Baha’is], the religious centre of the Shi’ite theological school of the world—there is no fear, and no one can doubt—,this centralization could be the proof of political connection of the Iranian Shi’ites with the government of Iraq. Similarly, [the cities of] Acre and Haifa are also places where the sacred bodies of the central figures of Baha’i community are buried. Since these two cities are considered the spiritual and religious centre for the Baha’is, is it justice and equity to consider this connection as [proof of] connection of the Baha’is with the government of Israel? The resting places of the religious authorities should be looked after as a proof of the purity of intention and belief, and this [protection] requires money, which is provided through the pious and charitable acts and donations of the religious and faithful people and is spent under their supervision. Repair and protection of what was mentioned provide opportunity for the continuity of pilgrimage, and, of course, there is no connection with the government where these resting places are situated.
For example, the illumined City of Medina is the resting place of Mohammad Mostafa, peace and blessings be upon Him and His family, and the mosque of al Al-Aqsa, the first Qiblah (point of adoration) of Islam, is the path of the Mi’raj [ascension] of Khayrol-Anam’s [Mohamad] to heaven. Is it possible to be so cruel as to assume that money sent by the Muslims from around the world of Islam for the protection of these holy places is meant to support the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel? And to accuse them of protecting these two countries? If we cannot make these accusations about the Muslims, would it be fair to accuse the Bahai’s, because some of them have previously sent money to Acre and Haifa to be spent for the construction of these mausoleums by their leaders and under their supervision? Or to accuse them of helping or having connection with the country or government of Israel? In addition, what foreign currency and according to which evidence, has the Spiritual Assembly of Hamadan, sent currency out of Iran that could support this claim?
- The accusation of hiding the documents and papers—while all archival materials, letters and records of the Assembly had been handed over to the authorities of the Prosecution Office—is not surprising, because as they searched carefully through the previously mentioned materials, and no matter how carefully and precisely they searched, nothing could be found to prove the connection of the Assembly with governments or politics, and since the presumption was not the principle of innocence, it was hopelessly assumed that there were documents and papers whose delivery was refused.
- Members of the Assembly have been accused of spying. The proof of this accusation, according to the moral standard “the onus of proof rests on the claimant”, should be documented on ascertained facts, because how can the provision of justice be observed on the report of someone, without knowing who, when, where and whether that person was truthful, had no bad intentions, or whether or not the report was based on documented proofs? In addition, as the activities of SAWAK were against the law and unreliable, how can a case report such as this be the basis for the enforcement of law?
- A declaration under the title of ‘Hamvatan’[Compatriot], prepared and published by the National Assembly of Iran, was considered to be a document for provocation, spreading rumours and accusations such as these; while firstly, whatever was in the contents of the letter was correct and [described] exactly [what] happened, and second, if, God forbid, you suppose it was contrary to what happened, how can it be the reason for criticizing the members of the Assembly of Hamadan?
Honourable Ayatollah and noble judges,
There are moments through which man finds a sensitive responsibility and mission. In that moment, only the light of faith and fear of God and love for justice bring this mission close to a good conclusion, because there are those who dress the truth in the robe of injustice and throw dust of sorrow in the face of justice. They do not see “God’s hands over their hands” and forget “ do not let the hatred of a people for having obstructed you [from al-Masjid al-Haram] lead you to transgress” [Noa, Verse 2] and become deprived of all divine favours, and for this reason, the presence of Your Honour and other esteemed judges in this case is a source of hope for our waiting and worried families—that by issuing a verdict with impartiality and justice they may benefit from your Islamic and human affections, and by seeing their fathers and wives in the family, pray and thank them.
With greatest respect,
[Seven names and signatures]
Dr. Firouz Naiemi
Dr. Naser Vafaie
Mohammad- Bagher [Soheil] Habibi
Mohammad -[Sohrab] Habibi