Wednesday, February 11 the Honorable Frank Wolf of Virginia stated the following in the Congressional Record:
“Madam Speaker, I would like to bring to my colleagues’ attention some deeply disturbing news coming out of Tehran. Tehran’s deputy prosecutor recently announced that the revolutionary court will hear the cases of seven members of the Bahá’í faith accused of spying for Israel. The continued systematic persecution of the Bahá’ís by the tyrannical government of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is unacceptable and must stop. I ask that a report from the Agence France Press be inserted into the record, as well.”
Here is the report from the Agence France Press.
Thank you Congressman Wolf. You are right this is very disturbing and is completely unacceptable. More than nine months ago – on May 14, 2008 – six Bahá’í leaders were arrested in Iran. They have been denied access to legal counsel. Those six and another individual who was arrested in March comprised the entire membership of a national-level coordination group that helped see to the minimum needs of Bahá’ís in Iran. For more information concerning that arrest please see our earlier post.
These arrests were condemned by The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, The US 2008 Congress, the White House, the President of the EU, the United Nations, many newspapers from international publications such as the Wall Street Journal, CNN and BBC to our local newspaper The Arlington Connection.
And yet these seven individuals remain in prison and their lawyer, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has been denied access to them or their files. Then this past Wednesday the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) issued a report quoting deputy Tehran prosecutor Hassan Haddad as having said “the case will be sent to the revolutionary court next week” and that these Bahá’ís are accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic.” There is great fear that the trial could lead to the execution of these seven individuals. So who are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naemi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm? They are teachers, doctors, engineers and businessmen, and like most Iranian Baha’is, they have all experienced varying degrees of persecution since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979. We invite you to learn more about each of these individuals here.