According to a report by Iran Press Watch, the Appeals Court in Iran has sentenced seven Baha’i leaders to 20 years in prison. This sentence, which was initially handed down in August 2010 by Iran’s Revolutionary Court, was reduced on 15 September 2010 from 20 to 10 years. This change has since been ignored, with the 20 year sentence being affirmed today.
As many of you already know, there has been a long history of persecution against the Baha’is in Iran, which has escalated since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The regime’s treatment of the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders is indicative of its systematic persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran as a whole.
“The baseless nature of the charges against the seven proved that their indictment is founded entirely on religious persecution,” said Diane Ala’i, a representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.
“Their trial was actually the trial of an entire religious community, an attempt to further intimidate and further ostracize all Iranian Baha’is, who number more than 300,000, simply because they hold a different viewpoint from those in power.”
The international community continues to condemn the treatment of the Bahai’s in Iran and calls on the Iranian government to respect the human rights of all its citizens. Human rights In an address commemorating the Iranian New Year, President Obama of the United States condemned the Iranian government for the treatment of its citizens, including the Baha’is. This latest development in the case of the seven Baha’i leaders of Iran has occurred just after the appointment of a special investigator by the United Nations Human Rights Council to monitor Iran’s compliance with international human rights standards.
A historical background of the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran can be found in the Baha’i International Community’s report, “The Bahá’í Question: Cultural Cleansing in Iran”.