[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM Persian]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Gooya News

[Date:] 24 Dey 1388 [14 January 2010]

 

Trial of Seven Baha’is, an Evidence of Severe Religious Oppression, Rahe Kargar

The court hearings for the “Group of Yaran of Iran,” who had the responsibility for administrative activities of the Baha’i community in the absence of the National Spiritual Assembly, began on Tuesday, 22 Dey 1388 [12 January 2010] at the Revolutionary Court, Branch 28. This branch of the court had previously sentenced Roxana Saberi on charges of espionage to eight years in prison, and after making use of the propaganda, had set her free and allowed her to leave Iran. The prosecutor of this branch, who functions in place of the interrogator, is connected to the country’s intelligence apparatus. The members of the “Group of Yaran” [are] Fariba Kamalabadi Taefi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naiemi, Saied Rezaie, Behrouz Tavvakoli, Vahid Tizfahm, and Mahvash Sabet, who have been under detention since Ordibehesht 1387 [April/May 2008].

The court hearings of these seven Baha’is are proceeding under a condition in which their defence lawyers have not yet had access to their files.  Yet, their charges have been announced as “spying for foreigners,” “propaganda against the government,” “collaboration with Israel,” “participation in gathering classified documents and providing them to aliens with the aim of disturbing the security of the country,” and “corruption on earth.”  The “Tabnak” website has referred to them as “the seven Baha’i terrorists who are accused of taking terroristic actions, including guiding and leading the bombing at the Hoseiniyyeh Rahpouyan of Shiraz and spying for the occupying Israeli regime. It has mentioned that “the arrested individuals have never denied their relationship with the occupying regime of Israel, and even their headquarters are located in Haifa.”

A court with such a bill of indictment and such a past record, and one that is using an intelligence agent as the prosecutor and does not allow the lawyers to access the files of their clients, cannot be anything but a kangaroo court with completely political and intelligence-related aims. The allegations against the seven Baha’i prisoners have been put together in such a way that they could lead to the issuance of an order for their execution. This fact, under a condition in which the Islamic regime has resorted to naked force for fear of its death, could cost these prisoners their lives.

It goes without saying that all of the allegations against the “Group of Yaran” are made-up allegations and have been a product of the intelligence systems of the regime.  The only crime of these Baha’is is having a different religious belief.  The Baha’i community of Iran, during the 150 years since the founding of the religion, has continuously been subjected to the worst kinds of harassment and persecution by fanatic Shias, whether during the Qajar dynasty, when they would parade the lit-candle-studded] bodies of the Baha’is and Babis through the alleys and streets and then cut them into pieces, or during the time of the Islamic Republic when they have executed so many of the believers of this religion that one could call it the religion of the martyrs. The hatred and enmity against the Baha’is, though always accompanied by the oppression of the Baha’i community in the most severe form, has taken on a more cruel form now that the power is in the hands of the proponents of Mesbah Yazdi and the Hajjatiyyeh Institute group.

Our agency strongly condemns the oppression of the Baha’i community and the Baha’is in the country based on unfounded excuses, and considers it to be a form of oppression against all people of diverse thought and believers in other religions.  It is an oppressive policy that is not limited to the Baha’is, but has also assailed the Dervish and Sunni communities.  Freedom of religion or lack of religion is one of the fundamental principles of democracy.

Our agency strongly condemns the efforts of the Islamic Revolutionary Court to allay their shameless enmity and hatred by issuing orders of prison sentence or execution for the arrested Baha’is and other political prisoners, and asks all seekers of freedom and equality and human rights defence foundations and agencies to object with all of their power to this policy of oppression and cruelty.

Executive Committee of the Agency of the Revolutionary Workers of Iran (Rahe Kargar)