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Human Rights Commissioner on the anniversary of the arrest of the Bahá’is in Iran

13.05.2016

Prompted by the forthcoming eighth anniversary of the detention of the seven leading members of the Bahá’i faith in Iran, today (13 May) the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler, issued the following statement:

The seven leading members of the Iranian Bahá’i community have now spent eight years in jail. Their arrest and conviction took place on the basis of their religious affiliation, with a total disregard of fundamental rule‑of‑law principles.

I call upon the Iranian judiciary to quash these unlawful judgements immediately and to release the Bahá’is without delay, along with all other prisoners held on account of their religious beliefs.

It is high time to put an end to the persecution of the Bahá’is and other religious minorities on account of their faith. Such measures violate the right to freedom of religion or belief, a right which Iran has undertaken to protect and respect by signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Background information:

The seven members of the ad‑hoc Bahá’i leadership committee were arrested on 5 March and 14 May 2008. They were held without charge for over two years in Tehran’s Evin Prison before being sentenced on 8 August 2010 to 20 years’ imprisonment each. In late 2015 it was announced that the sentences had been reduced to ten years. To date the prisoners have not been granted early release on parole after having completed half their sentence.

According to the latest report from Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, more than 80 Bahá’is are currently being held in prisons across the country.

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