Seven jailed Iranian Baha’is make brief contact with families

19 June 2008

NEW YORK, United States — Seven prominent Baha’is imprisoned in Iran have each been allowed a brief phone call to their families, the Baha’i International Community has learned.

The calls were the first contact with the jailed Baha’is since six of them were arrested on 14 May in pre-dawn raids at their homes in Tehran. The seventh was arrested in March in the city of Mashhad.

The Baha’i International Community has learned that on 3 June, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet and Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi were permitted to make short phone calls to their families. Mrs. Sabet had been detained in Mashhad on 5 March but on 26 May was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran, where it is believed the others are also being held.

Later it was confirmed that Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm also have made brief phone calls to their families.

No charges have been filed against any of the seven, who comprise the entire membership of a coordinating committee that saw to the minimal needs of the 300,000-member Baha’i community of Iran.

In 1980, all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran were taken away and presumed killed as they were never heard from again. A year later, after the Assembly had been reconstituted, eight of the nine members were arrested and killed.

Besides the seven committee members imprisoned in Tehran, about 15 other Baha’is are currently detained in Iran, some incommunicado and most with no formal charges.