Global campaign on seventh anniversary of arrest of seven Iranian Baha'i leaders launched
NEW YORK, United States — The Baha'i International Community has today launched a campaign to mark the seventh anniversary of the wrongful arrest and imprisonment of the seven former Baha'i leaders in Iran.
The campaign will run until 21 May 2015. Events are being planned around the world by Baha'i communities and others to call attention to the plight of the seven, who were arrested in 2008. The plight of some 90 other Baha'is in Iran - as well as other prisoners of conscience there - will also be highlighted.
"What the events of the past year have demonstrated ever more clearly to the people of Iran and others from around the world who promote peace and concord is the stark contrast between the peaceful intentions and selfless service of the Baha'i community and the lamentable and inhuman acts of those who, under the influence of ignorant religious prejudice, continue to perpetrate injustices against you," wrote the Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Baha'i Faith, in a letter to Baha'is in Iran earlier this month.
The campaign will take the theme "Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years for the Seven Baha'i Leaders." Each day in the next seven days, events will focus on a different member of the seven, who are Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm.
Facebook event pages in English and Persian have been set up as rallying points and a hashtag has been designated: #7Bahais7years. There is more background at www.bic.org/7Bahais7years
The seven formed the entire membership of the now-disbanded ad hoc group tending to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha'i community in the absence of formally elected Baha'i leadership, which was banned in 1983.
Ms. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008, while the other six were arrested on 14 May 2008. In 2010, the seven were tried and wrongfully convicted on charges of "espionage" and "spreading propaganda against the regime," among other false accusations. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest terms of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.