Trial of seven Baha'is delayed, no new date set

18 October 2009

GENEVA — Although the trial of seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned in Iran for more than 17 months was scheduled for today, when attorneys and families arrived at the court offices in Tehran they were told it would not take place. No new trial date was given.

"The time has come for these seven innocent people to be immediately released on bail," said Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

"The seven, whose only 'crime' is their religious belief, are once again in legal limbo, held with no idea of the legal process ahead of them. The whole charade cries out for an end to their unlawful detention," she said.

The seven are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm.

Official Iranian news accounts have said the seven are to be accused of "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic." They have also been charged with "spreading corruption on earth."

Last week, it appeared likely that the trial would indeed be postponed again, since attorneys for the seven had not yet received the proper writ of notification.

"The fact that their attorneys did not receive proper notification and that there is no new date for the trial is just one among many gross violations of Iran's own legal procedures, not to mention the violations of due process recognized by international law, that have marked this case from the beginning," said Ms. Ala'i.