Following the release from prison of Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi, two leading members of the Bahá’i faith in Iran, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler, issued the following statement today (1 November):
I welcome the fact that two of the seven leading members of Iran’s Bahá’i community have finally been released from prison after being incarcerated for almost ten years. Mahvash Sabet was released in September and Fariba Kamalabadi at the end of October. However, five more leading figures are still in jail.
I thus call upon the Iranian judiciary to release the remaining five leading 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.
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.
Mahvash Sabet was released on 18 September 2017 and Fariba Kamalabadi on 31 October 2017.
According to Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, more than 90 Bahá’is are currently being held in prisons across the country.