Reports of a trial date for Baha'i leaders falsely accused of espionage

24 June 2009

According to information conveyed by the authorities in Evin prison to the family members of the seven Baha'is who have been imprisoned in Tehran, Iran, for over a year, their trial date has been set for 11 July 2009. This information has been provided to the family members only orally and, as information conveyed by officials concerning the judicial process has often proved unreliable, it is possible that the Iranian authorities may find some reason to change the trial date.

The seven were arrested in the spring of 2008 and have been held more than a year without formal charges or access to their attorneys. Official Iranian news reports have said the Baha'is will be accused of "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic."

The trial is apparently scheduled to be held at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. This is where American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi was recently convicted of espionage and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. She was eventually released, but only after an international outcry at the clear politicization of the case and manifestly unjust legal procedures.

"These seven individuals are facing completely false charges," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations. "They - along with the some 30 other Baha'is currently in prison in Iran - are innocent of any wrongdoing and are being held solely because of their religious beliefs."

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