(CNN) -- Iran reportedly plans next week to put on trial seven Baha'i prisoners accused of espionage, even though one of their lawyers has become a fellow detainee and the other is outside the country.
The death penalty trial was delayed from last month and now human rights activists are concerned that closed-door proceedings without the lawyers will result in a judicial farce.
Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, said the trial date became known after Iranian authorities sent a notice to Abdolfattah Soltani, a human rights lawyer who was arrested in the aftermath of Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election.
The writ of notification, dated July 15, sets a trial date for August 18, Ala'i said: "It is the height of absurdity to issue a trial notice to a lawyer who has himself been unjustly imprisoned," she said.
Soltani, a well-known human rights lawyer, is affiliated with the Tehran-based Defenders of Human Rights Center, founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. It took up the case of the seven Baha'is last year.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said Soltani was detained along with other human rights activists in the post-election turmoil and is behind bars at Evin, the same prison where the Baha'is are incarcerated. Ebadi was on a speaking tour when Soltani was arrested and has not returned to Iran. >>>
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