Times Newspaper Tuesday, June 21, 1983

SIXTEEN BAHA’IS HANGED IN IRAN

London – Sixteen Baha’i sect members condemned to death in Iran on espionage charges have been executed in secret, a sect official said in London yesterday. They included 10 women who were hanged on Sunday night in prison at Shiraz, Baha’i spokeswoman Mary Hardy told Reuters. She added that six men were executed on Saturday night. The 16 belonged to a group of 22 prominent Baha’is for whom President Reagan last month made a plea for clemency after learning that they had been sentenced to death. Reagan said more than 130 Baha’is, members of a 19th century offshoot of Shi’ite Islam regarded by many Iranians as heretical, had been killed since the Iranian revolution began.

“Our information has come from inside Iran,” said Hardly, who is national secretary of the British Baha’is. “It is the largest number of Baha’is killed at one time and we are horrified, especially at the idea of 10 women hanged for their faith.” She said the 16 had refused to recant their Baha’i faith despite being beaten and tortured. Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini was quoted last month as saying Baha’ism was not a religion but a Washington- backed political party.