[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Date: 27 Shahrivar 1359 [18 September 1980]
Mr. Abolhassan Banisadr, president
His Excellency Hojatoleslam Hashemi Rafsanjani, esteemed speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly
Ayatollah Mousavi Ardabili, prosecutor general
Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, head of the Ministry of Interior
Ayatollah Ghoddousi, revolutionary public prosecutor
The unreasonable and cruel sentence issued by the Office of the Prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution of Yazd, which resulted in the murder of seven Baha’is in that city on the morning of Monday, 17 Shahrivar 1359 [8 September 1980], not only deeply saddened the hearts of their relatives, friends and acquaintances throughout Iran, but also astonished and saddened the Baha’is around the world about the reckless actions and unjust rulings of some revolutionary courts. It also worried many noble people in Iran and other parts of the world that in this land, the most basic human rights fall victim to religious prejudice and unwarranted hatreds, that the biased opinions and rulings burn the livelihood of an innocent group, and the mischief of a small number of seditious individuals tarnishes the face of the universe.
Everyone wonders how it is possible for a group that seems to be sitting at the seat of justice, and should rule and vote according to justice and fairness, to be able, based on their own admission, to rely on a petition with more than one thousand signatures, or an anonymous report from the Islamic Revolution Document Center, without presenting any document or evidence, and consider the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Yazd as an espionage element, and to sentence seven Baha’is, some of whom have been residing in Yazd and some in the nearby villages, to death, execute the sentence and name such a cruel ruling the continuation of the revolution.
“Has the time not yet come for believers’ hearts to be humbled at the remembrance of Allah?”
Is it not time to come to our senses and think about how hundreds of thousands of Baha'is who have been living in the cities, villages, and different parts of Iran for more than a century can be called spies? Can the Baha’is of different countries be accused of spying on Iran because they have come to visit the Baha’i holy places in Iran, or because they are worried today about the destruction of some of these places or the oppression of the Baha’is of Iran? And is it acceptable that the political groups would choose eighty-five-year-old villagers around Yazd for their espionage missions? It is clear to every pious and knowledgeable individual that these accusations are completely baseless and full of slander.
From the day when it was claimed in the Friday prayer sermon in Yazd that 1,500 kilograms of espionage evidence had been found during the arrest of a number of the Baha’is of Yazd, it was clear that the fire of sedition was being ignited and that they had again intended to slaughter an innocent group by leaving them to the bloody razors of fanatics. Otherwise, in the midst of a multitude of problems, they would not have suddenly attacked, unjustly slandered, and incited the people against, an oppressed group that has not opposed the government in any way, and has not even mentioned one of the hundred oppressions against them.
Baha’is throughout Iran, and especially in Yazd and its vicinity, have long been familiar with such attacks and provocations. For more than a hundred years, Baha’is have been repeatedly attacked in Yazd; they have been killed, and their homes and properties have been looted. When several hundred Baha’is were martyred in Yazd and its surrounding villages for their beliefs, in the Islamic lunar years 1307, 1308 and 1321 [1890, 1891 and 1903], according to the statement from the Office of the Prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution of Yazd, they were neither accused of spying for the “usurper Israel” nor did the “reports from the Islamic Revolution Document Center” explicitly proclaim them as an “espionage element”, yet they were killing the Baha’is.
In those days, they killed the Baha’is for their beliefs and did not condemn them as individuals who had sold themselves to foreign governments, and they could not call them the agents of Zionism because they went on pilgrimage to their holy places in Akka and the sham regions which were part of the Ottoman Empire in those days. However, the situation has changed today. It can no longer be explicitly said that through inquisition of their beliefs, they deem Baha’is worthy of execution because of their spiritual and heartfelt beliefs. So another excuse must be sought, and if the excuse of being a Baha’i is not enough, they will accuse them of espionage or make a thousand other accusations. The goal is to persecute and oppress the Baha’is. They have only changed the excuse and its outward appearance. Yes, they have assumed the oppressed to be helpless, unaware that He has sworn not to forgive anyone’s cruelty. “The wrongdoers will come to know what ‘evil’ end they will meet.”
During the Middle Ages, a university in Portugal burned a man alive every so often to prevent an earthquake. Now the announcement of the prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution of Yazd says, “With this revolutionary act (killing seven innocent individuals), they have given a positive response to the message of the blood of the martyrs.” Indeed, on what pretexts and excuses can malice, prejudice and ignorance be justified?
Over the past few days, the Baha’i community throughout Iran has witnessed how a large number of our dear compatriots have, with great emotion, been consoling the oppressed and sympathizing with them in the face of this cruelty. For this reason, Baha’is will never attribute the wrongdoing of a small group to the mostly kind people of this land. They have always been confident that in the wake of these occasional incidents and oppressions, what is lasting is this same fidelity, kindness and love that transforms a beastly life into a heavenly life, and they hope that these dark clouds of hatred, religious animosity, hypocrisy and enmity will gradually disappear, that everyone will live together in peace and comfort and that the dust of oppression and smoke of tyranny will not darken the mirrors of hearts. They know that such a day will arrive; that in place of the thorns of malice and jealousy, the flower of oneness and sincerity will blossom in hearts, and the ill-wishers will no longer be able to encourage and incite the simple-minded to commit acts of oppression.
It is requested that that esteemed official pay close attention to this plea for justice and order that a group made of pious and honest individuals address this matter, and ask the prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution of Yazd to expose all the evidence regarding the [so-called] espionage of these seven innocent individuals to the public so that the innocent victims will be acquitted of the baseless accusations attributed to them and the means to invalidate the claim of the prosecutor’s office, and the bad intentions of a small number of spiteful individuals in issuing this cruel verdict will be revealed to all.
Although the innocence of the Baha’i community in relation to affiliation with political groups may have become clear to many of the officials by now, this is a point that must become known by all the people of Iran, particularly with the help of noble, disinterested and fair-minded individuals, and means should be provided so that a stubborn and jealous enemy does not provoke the ignorant masses every day to satisfy his own vile desires and harass, persecute and murder a group of innocent people.
This is the request of the relatives of the oppressed victims of Yazd that is communicated to you, and they are confident that you will pay attention to its contents and will prevent what happened to us from happening to another group, through appropriate means.
We offer heartfelt prayers for your success in adjudicating the rights of the oppressed.
From the families of:
- Azizollah Zabihian
[Hand-written note] brother Houshang Zabihian
- Jalal Mostaghim
- Fereidoun Faridani
[Hand-written note] spouse – Homayoun Faridani
- Nourollah Akhtar-Khavari
[Hand-written note] brother Azizollah Akhtar-Khavari [signature]
- Mahmoud Hasanzadeh
[Hand-written note] Tahereh Hasanzadeh [signature over name]
- Ali Motahhari
[Hand-written note] Rezvan Motahhari [signature over name]
- Abdol-Vahhab Kazemi
Hand-written note] daughter of Abdol-Vahhab Kazemi – Nayyereh Kazemi-Manshadi [signature]
Through: Post Office Box [redacted]