Action to Demand Release of Seven Baha’i Leaders Unjustly Imprisoned
Sunday April 1, 2012 will mark 10,000 total days that seven leaders of the Baha’i community have spent behind bars in Iran. On this day, United4Iran and local communities are raising awareness in 12 cities across the globe through mobile billboards featuring a call to “Free Baha’i Leaders: Prisoners of Conscience in Iran.” Click here for the press release.
Seven leaders of the Baha’i community have to date spent 10,000 total days behind bars in Iran solely on the basis of their faith. United4Iran joins the Baha’i International Community in raising awareness about their unjust imprisonment and urging their immediate release.
The Seven Baha’i leaders are:
- Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi
- Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani
- Mr. Afif Naeimi
- Mr. Saeid Rezaie
- Mrs. Mahvash Sabet
- Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli
- Mr. Vahid Tizfahm
Prior to their arrests in 2008, the seven were members of an informal national-level group that attended to the spiritual and social needs of Iran’s Baha’i community. They were each sentenced to 20-years imprisonment after six brief court sessions characterized by a lack of due process.
Some 20 months after being held without charge in Tehran’s Evin prison, the seven leaders were charged with, among other things, “espionage”, “propaganda against the Islamic republic”, “establishment of an illegal administration” – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants.
The five men are currently serving out their sentence at Gohardasht prison, some 50 kilometers west of Tehran. The two women are in Evin prison after previously being held in Gohardasht and a brief stay in appalling conditions at Qarchak prison.
Bani Dugal, the Baha’i International Community’s principal representative to the United Nations, said, “The seven were, and remain, totally innocent of any wrongdoing. Ten thousand days of their lives have literally been stolen from them forever – days that they would have dedicated to the service of their fellow countrymen. The day is long overdue when these prisoners are freed to be able to make their contribution to the country they love.”
Last year, United4Iran appealed for urgent action because there were indications that the lives of Mrs. Kamalabadi and Mrs. Sabet may be in danger due to threats from other prisoners they were being held with.
We are urging you now to continue to ask for their unconditional release. An online letter can be found and customized here.
In May 2010, the international community came together and created a project to replicate the Seven Baha’i leaders’ prison conditions. The video is below.