Human Rights Watch to Iran: End Persecution of Baha’is
Dozens Detained Without Charge;
Leaders Face Charges Carrying Death Penalty
(New York, February 23, 2010) –
The Iranian government should immediately stop harassing and arbitrarily detaining members of the Baha’i community, Human Rights Watch said today.The detention of 13 Baha’is on February 10 and 11 follows the arrest of 13 others in early January. The government alleges that those arrested in January helped to organize recent anti-government demonstrations but has not made public any charges against those detained in February. These arrests come during a broad government crackdown on opposition activists.“The Iranian government seems to be using the post-election unrest as a cover for targeting the Baha’i community,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “These arrests are only the latest chapter in the government’s systematic persecution of the Baha’i.”Unlike Iran’s Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian communities, which are accorded constitutional protection, the Iranian government does not recognize the Baha’i Faith and considers its adherents to be apostates from Shi’a Islam. Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, the Iranian government has put in effect various discriminatory policies against the Baha’is, including limiting access to education and employment.Since October 2009, authorities have detained at least 47 Baha’is in Tehran, Mashhad, Sari, Semnan, and Yazd, according to the United Nations office of the Baha’i International Community (BIC) in Geneva. In May 2008, the government arrested seven leaders of the Baha’i community in Tehran, who have been held in detention since then. Their trial began on January 12, but has been postponed to April 10.
Link to HRW: