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Aug 9, 2010

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Seven Baha'i leaders in Iran have each received 20-year prison sentences, according to reports received by the Baha'i International Community, the group said Sunday.

"If this news proves to be accurate, it represents a deeply shocking outcome to the case of these innocent and harmless people," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

Word of the sentences came from an Iranian-based group called the Committee of Human Rights Defenders, according to Diane Ala'i, another Baha'i U.N representative. The Baha'i International Community is working to confirm the reports, she said.

The leaders were accused of espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order, and the establishment of an illegal administration, among other allegations, according to the Baha'i International Community. The group denied all charges.

"We understand that (those sentenced) have been informed of this sentence and that their lawyers are in the process of launching an appeal," Dugal said in a statement Sunday.

The Baha'i leaders–two women and five men–have been held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison since they were arrested in 2008. They are considered the nation's top-ranking Baha'is

The leaders' trial comprised six brief court appearances beginning last January, after they had been held without charges for up to 20 months, the Baha'i International Community said.

The group said the trial, during which the accused had roughly one hour's access to legal counsel, ended June 14. The verdict is believed to have been handed down Sunday, Ala'i said, though she had no details on the nature of the convictions.

Iran's 300,000-strong Baha'i community constitutes the country's largest non-Muslim religious minority.

The Baha'i faith originated in 19th century Persia, but the constitution of today's Islamic republic does not recognize it as a religion and considers the followers as apostates.

A U.N. State Department report released earlier this year blasted the Iranian government for its treatment of those practicing the Baha'i faith.

The report said Iran's government prevents Baha'is from gathering in homes to worship and bans Baha'is from public schools, universities, the social pension system and government leadership posts unless they conceal their religion.

"The government repeatedly pressured Baha'is to recant their religious beliefs in exchange for relief from mistreatment," the report said.

  • rik Theocracies suck.
  • jesus That;s the real problem-theocracies and those want to establish them.
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... It just shows how much they respect Human Rights... It is about all the Countries in the World starts respecting the rights of Their People and the Other People in the World!!! Because if they don't stop their hate... GOD will put a stop of it for them!!! GOD has given them all warning... Including the United States!!!
  • Agape These are the most peaceful of all people. Persia (let's not call it Iran) and Mohammedans (let's not call them Muslims) are really asking for Heavenly judgement. That 9.0 Earthquake is just around the corner...
  • Sangi Dear Agape: The Baha'i Faith upholds the Divine origins of Islam, of the Qur'an and exalts and teaches love for the Prophet Mohammad as it does for the founders of other Great Religions. Never do the Baha'is disparage nor accept disparaging remarks against Islam or Muslims in a broad stereotyped brushstroke. Prejudice is bad. No matter what.
  • PeterM The U.N. has a State Department? Seriously?
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... I would love to see the United States drop out of the UN and kick Them out of Our Country!!! They do not deserve to be here...
  • JLP This is exactly what we will have in this country if we allow the Muslim population to get even close to a majority. Either convert to Islam or be harrased, imprisioned or killed.
  • Chuck Steak Ditto ditto ditto (and oh, did I say ditto?!)
  • muir And with that you are no better than the rulers in Iran.
  • Jimmy We are coming dangerously close to that with Christians in the US right now. "Believe my way or be persecuted." The sword cuts both ways.
  • PAUL finally someone who knows what they are talking about.
  • Arclight Exactly. Enough is enough. No more religious tolerance. Period. Back to separation of church and state. Freedom of action goes as far as the end of the next person's nose. Keep your palace of obediance to yourself and don't come near my door with pamphlet or book or towel on your head. The Unwelcome mat is open for business.
  • Spawned Peace over Religion, isn't it obvious by now!
  • David Johnson @Jimmy You said, "We are coming dangerously close to that with Christians in the US right now. "Believe my way or be persecuted." The sword cuts both ways."
  • Amen brother! I can't tell much difference between the Religious Right and the Taliban. Both would rule with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other. We all must vote for the Dems in November. It is our very freedom that is at stake.

  • siegfried @david and jimmy there's two sides to the sword of intolerance...

  • siegfried and I'll give you a hint you both sit on the other

  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... Between the muslin and Hispanics were are losing Our Country completely!!!

  • Bobby Where's the UN condemnation of this persecution??

  • CTOldCorps Why? What would hollow words from the UN matter?

  • Jimmy's up there in the article. At least twice. Reading comprehension for the win, please, Alex!

  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... Going after Israel instead!!!

  • pmo5010 anyone who does not adhere to the dominant religion are always going to be considered apostates, because they believe that it should be so easy to accept the "truth" and so therefore, they have already turned and betrayed the almighty of whatever dominant religion there is.but, needless to say, this is another testament to the "sharing" between cultures and religions that mr. ahmadinejad advocates.

  • Enlighten Mr. Ahmadinejad is just a political tool of the Imans.
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... Why is it that some religions have to try and force Their beliefs on everyone else??? Why can They just be satisfied with Themselves instead!!!
  • Enlighten Where is the outrage by the Islamic people of not just America but of the whole world.
    Where is their voice.......? Silence is all I hear. Sharia Law abounds and it is against Democracy.
    In silence they try to gain our trust in America. What will happen when they gain political power.
    Who said it? We will be defeated from within. Democracy is in the balance.
  • JUSTICETO ALL The same place where you can hear Islamic people fight to save Darfur. There killers and that is what they do best.
  • NCpirata Enlighten – I completely agree. People are so concerned with being super PC to not offend anyone theyre going to end up losing their own rights to Sharia law before they even noticed it happened. When we expect a country such as Iran or Saudi Arabia to operate under rational/reasonable law we are wasting our time as they operate under Sharia Law which is a fearful and oppressive rule that ignores human rights and seeks to destroy "apostates." It has begun to happen all over europe and now in the US also. Sharia law is infiltrating our system and unfortunately will continue to untill America wakes up and recognizes the threat that is intentionally and deceptively creeping in. Theres a difference between religious tolerance and hypocritical rulings and law. In the new healthcare plan, Muslims are excluded from paying the fee/tax for not buy healthcare, this is dhimmitude of Sharia law in action in the US already. Wake up America!
  • Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness Well said. Events are unfolding (faster and faster) precisely as outlined in The Bible. It is time for the world to wake up! I can hear the sound of the white horses already
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... The Good Ones have guns to Their heads and can't do anything!!! look at the United States to where 2 percent of the People run this Country... How can you expect any difference any place else??? The Rich always take advantage of the poor and Middle Class...
  • stephen The UN is increasingly becoming a shill for Islamic states and jihadist doctrine. Their push to have any criticism of Islam branded a 'hate crime against humanity' is just a start.
  • Enola Gaye Hi, my name is Enola and I'd like to teach all theocracies a lesson. Please let me off of my leash and let me do what I do best. One by one, I'll put their god to the ultimate test.
  • Random Go ahead, live in your world of anhilation if it makes you sleep better. I wish people like you had the same fate as the innocents of war. People unconnected to government that would never pick up a weapon – just wasted away. Put the shoe on the other foot.
  • General Dr Bad Your ignorance of Islam never ceases to amaze me. Stop thinking the entire world is as Stupid and Uneducated as you are.
    and good thing Iran is your ONLY Problem.
  • RedRock99 We understand completely what Islam is all about. We have been observing it's God-fearing work for decades. It's about brutality against their own kind and intolerance of others. It's about a religion that at a fundamental level can be twisted to get thousands of people (not just a few nut-jobs) to blow themselves up, killing their own people, yet be able to justify their actions under-pinned by their religion. It's about a religion that consistently shows us that hate rules over love. And, the silence from the American-Muslim community is deafening. Maybe, it's because they fear their own flock.
  • jamesnyc This is the kind of crap the muslims want to bring here. That is why we don't want that mosque anywhere near Ground Zero
  • outawork Since Iran wants nuclear weapons we ought to give them a live demonstration of 3 or 4 of ours.
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... That would never happen because of the Oil!!!
  • drcid As Blurred Vision would paraphrase; "We don't need no education. We don't need your thought control. Hey Ayatollah! Leave those kids alone. All and all you're just another brick in the wall.'
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... You sure need something!!! Otherwise why do you kill your own people and Others??? You better watch out GOD has warned you before and had warned you again!!! If You want to exist you better straighten out before GODS puts You out of Your Misery...
  • Sword of Rostam Another nail in the heart of the Islamic Republic. The best way to get rid of that regime is for everyone to declare they are Bahai.
  • anthony W. constantino All Muslims are going to burn in hell. That's where all the dead muslim terrorists of 9-11 are now. Mohamed sucks Jesus rules
  • Manuel Iran is also systematically destroying the country's pre-islamic past. Every time the Iranian archeologists find something, the government takes over and start demolishing it. It is sad.
  • David R. Scott These Iranians are just low life religious fanatics. We have the same element here in the rip-publican party. A bunch of lying, bigoted racist who will do anything to screw AMERICA. Screw all BAD Iranians and ALL BAD RIP-PUBLICANS.
  • David Johnson Dude, if I had a hero it would be you! I salute you, sir!
  • mjhorn213 Actually, I just read about the relationship between Muslims and Baha'i's the other day in my history class. The reason why Muslims dislike the Baha'i faith is because Muslims see Muhammad as the last and final prophet. They even call him "the seal of the prophets". Baha'i's believe in another prophet that lived in the 18th or 19th century (I can't remember which one). This is where the animosity comes from. Most muslims believe in the 5 pillars of Islam, a peaceful way of living, which doesn't include Jihaad. Jihaad means struggle, and a lot of the people that follow jihaad see the struggle as dealing with anyone that doesn't believe in their religion, their way of life, or anyone that they feel is a threat to them. That's where you get the crazy people that think it's ok to harm or hurt people they view to be in their way. I'm a Christian, fyi, but I thought it's important to know what Muslims are really about; normally a peaceful "Allah" loving community, with a minority that takes things into their own hands.
  • Bill M. This religious group has been the target of inhuman treatment by Islam for 150 years. I don't know how they take it. It's enough. Even the people of Iran tried to take power into their own hands and were not successful. And before we know it, Iran will have nuclear capability. Imagine. They are doing this to totally innocent people. Think what excuses they will come up with to attack Israel or the United States. The government in that country needs to go.
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... They would have to be real stupid to shoot Nukes into Israel... Because before they would get there... Israel would shoot Nukes into every Arab Country and that would be the end of the Middle east all together!!!
  • Bill Ross This is not as simple as it appears to us here in the West.. I have been to the Evin Prison in Tehran; their way is definitely not ours; we cannot expect their legal process to follow ours; the theocracy (State dictatorship) has been in place for 30 years now, the Bahai and any others proclaiming the virtues of beliefs other than Islam should be well aware by now that they are in serious danger in that country so why take the risk? even if the convert someone, the conversion could be a death sentence too!
  • SanFranciscoGirl Why take the risk? Because it is more important to be true to ones self. Why should Baha'i's (or anyone) cower simply because their *peaceful and just* belief system differs from their fellow Persians? I can't think of a worse torture than forced into denying my true self and the person I choose to be.
  • JUSTICETO ALL I think we need to treate Muslim as wonderfully as they tyreate christians in their countries. How about some equility.
  • Cascadoux All Christians, Muslims, Jews, as well as, Hindus and the like, we should all be very careful how we side against each other. When we're done destroying those of other faiths, by sheer practice and beliefs of our own, we will nullify each other and end up destroying ourselves. It seems that we human beings need to always have a "we against them," to feel good about ourselves. Good Luck and Peace!
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... If there is a end of the World as we know it... The One Country that will still be standing is Israel!!! The Jews all way stay while Their Enemies Die!!!
  • Glad2BeInUS If Bahais can't go to school, they can't get good jobs. They can't worship together. They can't leave the country. They can't have pensions. What happens when they get old? How do they survive?
  • Sherwin exactly... the government is trying in every way to not let them survive.... because they fear change from their old order to the new world order
  • JCthinker Of course there was no water-boarding or other torture measures inflicted upon witnesses and defendants in Iran, that most humane of all counties.
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... No they just shop off your head instead of giving you a trial!!!
  • Phatt Bastid Here's som more informaiton on the religion of hate and how they want to destroy us all. The 12th Imam: What Is An Imam?What is the 12th Imam? According to Islamic belief, an Imam is an anointed leader or ruler. Especially among the Shia beliefs an Imam is thought (though not required), to be a prayer leader or cleric when the word is capitalized. Sunnis too believe an Imam may be a prophet; Shiites believe not all prophets can be an Imam but an Imam can also be a prophet. An Imam is said to be anointed by Allah and a perfect example of leading mankind in every way. The Shiite interpretation is that only Allah can appoint an Imam and no man has the power to do so. The 12th Imam is said to be a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, having divine status as did each of this succession of sons. The 12th Imam is also called the Hidden Imam and the Mahdi (guided one). The 12th Imam: Who Is The 12th Imam?Within the Shiite, (which is predominate in Iran), it is prophesied that there is a coming 12th Imam who is the great spiritual savior. This Imam is named Abu al-Qasim Muhammad or also called Muhammad al Mahdi. He is said to have been born the son of the 11th Imam, Hasan Al-Askari and his wife, the granddaughter of an Emperor. There are conflicting statements of her name being either Fatima or Nargis Khatoon. Most accounts of the story say that al Mahdi went into hiding as a child around the age of 5 years (about 13th Century). It said he has been ‘in hiding’ in caves ever since but will supernaturally return just before the Day of Judgment. According to the Hadith the criteria for the Hidden Imam are:He will be a descendant of Muhammad and the son of Fatima Will have a broad forehead and pointed nose Will return just before the end of the world His appearance will be preceded by a number of prophetic events during 3 years of horrendous world chaos, tyranny and oppression Will escape from Madina to Mekkah, thousands will pledge allegiance to him Will rule over the Arabs and the world for 7 years Will eradicate all tyranny and oppression bringing harmony and total peace Will lead a prayer in Mekkah which Jesus will be at his side and follow in Remarkably, the 12th Imam theory plays heavily into the world’s current concerns with Iran. The Shiite Muslim President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, is deeply committed to the Islamic Messiah, al Mahdi. There have been many through the years claiming to be the Hidden Imam but Ahmadinejad believes he is yet to come. He claims that he is to personally prepare the world for the coming Mahdi. In order to save the world, it must be in a state of chaos and subjugation. Ahmadinejad claims he was “directed by Allah to pave the way for the glorious appearance of the Mahdi”. This apocalyptic directive includes some very scary proclamations. The 12th Imam: Why Is This Especially Important Now?
    While Christians look for Jesus’ 2nd coming, the Jews await the Messiah and Muslims await the 12th Imam. However, of the three, Allah’s designated Mahdi is the only one who demands a violent path to conquer the world. Mr. Ahmadinejad, and his cabinet, say they have a ‘signed contract’ with al Mahdi in which they pledge themselves to his work. What does this work involve? In light of concerns over Iran’s nuclear capabilities, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reportedly stated Israel should be wiped off the map. He spoke to the United Nations in September ’05. During that speech he claims to have been in an aura of light and felt a change in the atmosphere during which time no one present could blink their eyes. Iran’s PM is also said to have spoken in apocalyptic terms and seems to relish conflict with the West whom he calls the Great Satan. This is while he proclaims he must prepare the world for the coming Mahdi by way of a world totally under Muslim control. He is working hard to bring about the world-wide horrors that must be in place for their al Mahdi to bring peace. This notion and goal, along with a violent hatred of infidels, America and Israel reminds us of Biblical prophecies of the coming anti-Christ and the pledges of millions to a deceiving False Messiah who will claim to bring peace. Could this 12th Imam Mahdi and his servant Ahmadinejad spark the last days of the coming true Savior?
  • rivirivi The horrible problem is that all religions teach separatism. Each group considers their group as the only group beloved by our creator. If we all realize once and for all that if there is a creator who is limitless then everything and everyone from the smallest particle to the biggest clump of multi-universes exist WITHIN the limitlessness of it all. We are practically swimming within the limitless energy of God. Humans get confused to this vast concept of God and have "invented" a human-like image of what God is supposed to look like. I say we are so small compared to everything else, yet we create, we dream, we learn, we have emotions, we have the ability to choose. Do we really think that God can do any less because he is so big we cannot understand it? Do we really want to believe God would be happy if this group kills the other group He also created? Let's be united intelligent people of this miracle of a self-sustaining planet Let's unify our human race and choose to honor our presence within by making the best choices as to help each other achieve happiness, good health, a warm meal, a helping hand. Why is that so difficult? It would not be if we acknowledge we are all connected, we are all beloved and we should be kind to one another. Down with all separatistic religions and their greedy power over leaders. All of them!
  • oaria This is sad, and they can try to hurt the Baha'is in Iran, but can not do anything to the rest of the world! Everyone is invited to investigate independently this world embracing Faith. It's about Unity. Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i faith says: So powerful is the light of unity that it can illumine the entire earth! let's act!
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... The problem is the Biggest Religion wants to force others to believe in Their Faith!!! Instead of living with respect of each other...
  • Santosh Kumar Muslims call for democracy only when they are a minority. The same muslims will not allow any other religion when they are a majority. Islam thrived in the dark ages without media and criticism but today with much media coverage and criticism islam cannot survive. Its like the sane collective intelligence of the world is finally flashing light in the dingy dark corners.
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... That sounds just like the Catholic religion doesn't it??? The only difference is how they are doing it!!!
  • Barry77 More evil from Islam. Nothing new here.
  • rivirivi Let's rest assured that none of that will ever happen in America. We can be polite and tolerate all kinds of beliefs, but when this or that belief starts tramping and shortening our liberties, it will not take. It does not matter if Islam has 3 billion believers, here in America any religion which stops us from thinking individually, stops us from complaining if something is not right, will not take, will be called out and will eventually disappear. Islamists have made their last mistake to try and conquer America. We free people and free women will not tolerated it. It will not happen, ever.
  • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever... I wish You would tell that to the catholic Church... They are trying to take the rights from those less fortunate than them!!!
  • Jorge Where is UNHRC, Where is Amnesty International, why the absolute silence on the abuse that is a norm in all Muslim countries, why is it that a Muslim Republic it is all right trample on peoples beleifs, without rights for any other religion, why is it that in Saudi Arabia you cant be caught reading a Bible, even in private, that is a punishable "crime". Why is it that only Muslims have rights, even to abuse all other religions, Must be that when you have mountains of OIL, YOU HAVE A DIVINE RIGHT TO ABUSE THOSE WHO DONT

  • OSLO — The lawyer for a woman sentenced to death by stoning in Iran for adultery has fled to Norway where he is considering seeking asylum, he said in Oslo Sunday.

    "In a way you can say that I have asked for asylum," Mohammad Mostafaie told AFP on the sidelines of a press conference in Oslo shortly after arriving in Norway after fleeing his country by way of Turkey.

    The human rights lawyer added that he had already obtained a visa allowing him to stay in the Scandinavian country for a year, but wanted to wait with the actual asylum application until he had had a chance to discuss the matter with his wife in Iran.

    Mostafaie has been representing Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, who was sentenced to death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery.

    Her sentence, which has sparked an outcry in Western countries, has been temporarily halted by judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani.

    Mostafaie, who says he has rescued 18 of his 40 clients facing death sentences in Iran in recent years, has himself faced increasing pressure from the authorities in Tehran and says he was finally forced to flee after a warrant was issued for his arrest at the end of July.

    He told the press conference Sunday that he did not think his departure would have a negative impact on Mohammadi-Ashtiani's case, since other lawyers were prepared to pick up where he had left off.

    And "this will highlight Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani case even more," he said, adding that he did not think Tehran would dare to allow her stoning sentence to be carried out or to harm her physically in other ways.

    "I do not think she will be hurt ... The Iranian authorities have already paid a huge price for the case (and) the international reputation of Iran has already been negatively affected because of the way it has been handled," he said.

    Mostafaie fled Iran on July 29, first by car, then on foot and finally riding over a mountain pass on horseback across the Iranian border to Turkey.

    "The most difficult part was that I've never sat on a horse in my whole life," he confided.

    "I had to do that for five hours across the mountains where it was cold and snowy ... At the border I had to run across, with police posts on both sides ... and ran the fastest I've ever done," he said.

    Mostafaie said he had not been planning to travel on to Norway when he left Iran, and had simply been trying to get away from the authorities.

    His wife Fereshteh Halimi had already been arrested and taken to the infamous Evin prison in Tehran, where she was held in isolation for 14 days, he said.

    "The only reason she was arrested was that the authorities wanted me to turn myself in," he said, adding that he had been sick with worry, but had decided it was best to leave.

    Mostafaie, who learned Saturday that his wife had been released, was arrested when he arrived in Turkey due to an alleged passport problem and held in custody for six days.

    But a human rights group had put pressure on the Turkish government to release him and the Norwegian embassy in Ankara helped buy him a ticket to Oslo.

    The lawyer said he was glad to be in the Norway and that he hoped his wife and seven-year-old daughter could soon join him.

    Norway has long criticised Iranian death sentences and last month summoned the Iranian ambassador in Oslo to protest Mohammadi-Ashtiani's stoning sentence.

    Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said Sunday in a statement he was "very pleased that human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaie is now safe in Norway."

    The foreign minister lamented that "the pressure on courageous defence lawyers such as Mostafaei is so great that they are compelled to flee," calling on Iran to respect human rights and fulfill its international obligations.

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