Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Iran: Seven Baha'i charged as spies for Israel

For more about Iranian persecution of Bahai see Human rights in Iran and Israel and download the presentation:
Last update - 18:17 11/02/2009       
Iran charges 7 members of Baha'i faith with spying for Israel
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
Seven people belonging to the Baha'i faith are scheduled to stand trial in Iran over charges of "spying for Israel," among other charges, the Iranian ISNA news agency reported Wednesday.
The news agency quoted Tehran's Deputy General Prosecutor Hassan Hadad as saying that the seven defendants also face charges of "desecrating Islam and campaigning against an Islamic republic."
The deputy prosecutor and the news agency did not specify the nature of the espionage the seven are suspected of having engaged in.
The disciples of the Baha'i faith, founded in 1863, are considered infidels in Iran and are subject to persecution which has gained momentum since the rise of the Islamic Republic 30 years ago. At the end of 2008 it was reported that Iran had hanged a Baha'i man on charges of adultery and rape. Approximately a month ago, the secretary of human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi had been arrested on charges that she had maintain contact with members of the Baha'i faith, and suspicion that she herself may have been a member.
In May of last year, Haaretz reported that Iran had held six Baha'i members on similar charges, but it was not clear whether the seven were the same Baha'I leaders arrested in 2008.
The European Union reiterated its deep concern over "the ongoing systematic discrimination and the persecution of the Iranian Baha'is."

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