Iranian Bahá’í leaders’ prison sentences are “deeply shocking”

West Berkshire Bahá’ís have joined members of the Bahá’í International Community in expressing concern at reports that seven Iranian Bahá’í leaders have each received jail sentences of 20 years.

The leaders – two women and five men – have been held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since their arrest in 2008. They were all members of a national-level group that used to attend to the spiritual and social needs of Bahá’ís in Iran.

They categorically deny charges of espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order and “corruption on earth” among other allegations. Their trial consisted of six brief court appearances which began in January this year and ended in June.

Shawn Khorassani, of the West Berkshire Bahá’í Community, said: “Like Bahá’ís around the world, we have followed reports of the fate of these seven Iranian Bahá’í leaders with concern.”

And he echoed Bani Dugal (principal representative of the Bahá’í International Community to the United Nations) when he added: “If the news of these jail sentences proves to be accurate, it represents a deeply shocking outcome to the case of these innocent and harmless people. We understand that their lawyers are in the process of launching an appeal.”

For more information, check out the Bahá’í World News Service