Amid turmoil, Iran set to try 7 Baha'i leaders
09-Jan-2010 (one comment)

(CNN) -- A trial for seven Iranian Baha'is that has come to symbolize the persecution of followers of the faith is set to unfold next week with added controversy and global attention.

Recent turmoil and governmental crackdowns on protesters in Iran have raised concern about the fate of the seven Baha'i community leaders, who have been held at Tehran's Evin prison since their arrests in March and May 2008.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said this week that Iranian officials have been blaming the Baha'is for anti-government demonstrations.

"These allegations are not only without merit, but downright fabricated," said Leonard Leo, chairman of the commission, which acts as an independent advisory board to the U.S. government.

"If the Iranian government moves forward next week with the trial of the seven Baha'i leaders, the U.S. government and international community must demand fair and transparent proceedings in accordance with international human rights standards," Leo said.

After two delays, the trial is scheduled to open Tuesday.

On Thursday, prominent Indians of the Baha'i faith held a news conference in New Delhi, urging their government to intervene.

"This trial is designed to harass and intimidate, and is one more in a long line of persecution of this community," said Maja Daruwala, director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. "Our country has a long record of pluralism and tolerance and... >>>

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Ali Najafi


by Ali Najafi on

I just posted this comment on an earlier news item. While this passage was part of a letter to the Baha'is of Iran, I think that it applies to so many Iranians that want Iran to be a country ruled with justice, dignity, integrity, and compassion for all citizens.

"Keep alive in your hearts the feeling of confidence that the future of Iran holds bright promise... the conviction that concern for justice will protect the nation from falling prey to calumny, and the belief that love will ultimately conquer hatred and enmity."
"You have demonstrated in the example of your lives that the proper response to oppression is neither to succumb in resignation nor to take on the characteristics of the oppressor. The victim of oppression can transcend it through an inner strength that shields the soul from bitterness and hatred and which sustains consistent, principled action."