Open letter to President Ahmadinejad on Situation of Baha'i Detainees
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Paris, June 1st, 2008
We are writing to you to express our utmost concern regarding the fate of seven members of the Baha’i community who are currently in prison.
Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm were arrested in Tehran on 14 May 2008, by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. They are members of the national coordinating group of Baha'i in Iran, an informal body that was formed with the knowledge of the government to assist the 300,000-member Baha'I community in the country. Another member of the same Committee, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, has been arrested in Mashhad in March 2008 and is reportedly still detained.
We urge the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to communicate the place of detention of those seven persons, the exact charges brought against them and the date of their trial. We also urge you to allow independent international observers to observe their trial. The right to a fair trial, including public hearings, the prohibition of discrimination based on religious beliefs and the right to freedom of religion are all enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), that has been ratified by Iran.
We express the hope that you will take those elements into consideration and are looking forward to your prompt reply.
Ms. Souhayr Belhassen
President of FIDH
Mr. Joe Stork
Middle East and North Africa Division
Human Rights Watch