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

12.05.2017

The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler, today (12 May) issued the following statement on the detention of leading members of the Bahá’i faith in Iran:

The seven leading members of the Iranian Bahá’i community have now spent nine years in jail. Their arrest and conviction completely disregarded fundamental rule of law principles.

There must be 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.

The sentences originally imposed on the leading members of the Bahá’i faith were reduced to ten years, a term which the detainees have now served almost in full. Against this background, I call upon the Iranian judiciary to finally quash these sentences and to release the Bahá’is without delay, along with all other prisoners held on account of their religious beliefs.

Background information:

The seven members of the ad hoc Bahá’i leadership committee were arrested in spring 2008. In August 2010, having been held without charge for over two years in Tehran’s Evin Prison, they were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment each. In late 2015 it was announced that the sentences had been reduced to 10 years.

To date the prisoners have not been granted early release on parole after having completed half their sentence, a move which would be possible under Iranian law.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir, more than 90 Bahá’is are currently being held in prisons across the country.

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