Statement on the Nine Year Imprisonment of Bahai Leaders in Iran

Office of the Spokesperson

 May 14, 2017

Statement By Heather Nauert, Spokesperson

Nine Year Imprisonment of Bahai Leaders in Iran

Nine years ago, seven leaders of Iran’s Bahai community were arrested and convicted of espionage, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic for activities related solely to their belief in and practice of their faith.  They were unjustly sentenced to 20 years in prison.  Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Vahid Tizfahm, and Mahvash Sabet remain behind bars today, serving an unjust sentence for exercising their freedoms of religion, association and expression..

Their cases are further evidence of Iran’s continued disregard and violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  We condemn their continued imprisonment, as well as reported abuses against them while incarcerated, and call upon Iran to release them immediately, along with all other prisoners of conscience in Iran.

The government of Iran must stop denying its people their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief.  We call on the Iranian government to uphold their own laws and meet their international obligations that guarantee freedoms of expression, opinion, religion or belief, association, and peaceful assembly for all in Iran.