ABN NEWS-Ten NGOs wrote to the EU authorities expressing deep concern over the case of 32
Iranian Bahá’ís who were sentenced to a collective 238 years in prison in essence for practicing their faith.
The NGOs pointed out that it has been the biggest mass arrest of Baha’is in Iran in the last decade and the
amount of torture and abuse they have suffered has been extremely severe compared to similar cases. While
eight of them have already started serving their long-term imprisonment, the Court of Appeal is due to
consider the cases of the other twenty four on June 15, 2016. Amongst them are parents whose children will
be abandoned if the appeal is rejected.
In separate letters sent to several key EU officials dealing with Iran’s affairs, the NGOs urge them
to call on the government of Iran to quash the convictions and sentences against these 32 Bahá’ís
and release those in prison immediately.
The mass arrest of Bahá’ís took place in Golestan province from October 2012 to January 2014 by
the Ministry of Intelligence and under the supervision of the Judiciary. The detainees were
subjected to physical torture, sexual and verbal abuse and threats against their family members,
included false accusation for drug possession and subsequent death sentences. When one of
them protested against such inhumane treatment, she was told by her interrogator that: “any kind
of treatment against Bahá’ís is permissible.”
The NGOs demanded the EU officials to urge the government of Iran to carry out a full
investigation into the alleged torture and wrongful detention of the 32 Bahá’ís leading to unfair
trials in which they were charged with ‘propaganda for the Bahá’í faith and against the Islamic
Republic through membership in an illegal organisation,’ and ‘collaboration with hostile states to
promote the sectarian, anti-Islam and anti-Shia objectives of imperialist states’.
Raising concerns over the outcome of the appeal process, the NGOs stated: “the decisions
rendered by the courts in these cases violate the international norms and domestic laws and
criminalise the day to day existence of these private citizens by creating a false narrative that the
practice of their faith constitutes an action against Islam and the State.”
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