Thursday, May 15, 2014

Baha’is of Sikkim call for release of Baha’i leaders in Iran

GANGTOK, 13 May: The Baha’i community of Sikkim organized a ‘Community Devotional gathering’ on 11 May at the Government College auditorium to mark the sixth anniversary of the wrongful imprisonment of seven Baha’i leaders in the ‘Cradle of the Baha’i Faith’, Iran.
A press release informs that Baha’i communities around the world are organizing prayer meetings and public events to call for their immediate release and to draw attention of the world to the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.
In India, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is called for organizing special prayers services for the ‘Yaran’, which means ‘friends’ at 40 localities. This special prayer meeting held at Gangtok is one amongst these and was attended by officials, Govt of Sikkim, educationists, Social workers, media persons, and parents of the children attending Baha’i Moral classes, JYSEP programs and members of Baha’i community from various parts of Sikkim.
Six of these seven Baha'i leaders were arrested on 14 May 2008 in a series of early morning raids in Tehran. The seventh had been detained two months earlier on 5 March, 2008. Since their arrests, the seven leaders – whose names are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm – have been subjected to an entirely flawed judicial process. The charges against them are "espionage, propaganda against the Islamic order, and establishment of an illegal administration,” as well as “spreading corruption on Earth” and “waging war against God” – yet the seven former leaders are guilty of nothing more than attending to the spiritual and social needs of the Baha’i community in Iran. They are ultimately sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, the longest of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.
Political and religious leaders, human rights activists, and governments of the world have come to the defense of these Baha’i leaders and their imprisonment. This includes the strong condemnation through appeals and resolutions issued by the United Nations, U.S. State Department, House and Senate, the European Union, the British Parliament, and Amnesty International.
The Baha’i community of Sikkim has urged enlightened individuals to sign the petition at, calling for the release of these seven Baha’i leaders and all other prisoners of conscience, and urge Iran to respect the rights to religious freedom and human dignity.

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