European Union Expresses “Deep Concern” Over Seven Baha'i Prisoners

February 18, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Bahá'í World News Service

The European Union yesterday issued a statement expressing its “deep concern” over Iran’s plans to bring seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders to trial for espionage and other charges soon. The Baha’i International Community has called for their immediate release, maintaining their innocence and characterizing the regime’s claims as an “escalation of its systematic crackdown on the Baha’is.”

The EU statement coincided with increasingly sharp anti-Baha'i rhetoric from Iranian officials, who said a trial for the seven might come within a week.

The seven Baha'i leaders have been imprisoned in Tehran for more than eight months, during which no formal evidence has been brought against them and they have not been given access to their legal counsel, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. Another 30 Baha’is are imprisoned in Iran, while 80 other prisoners have been released on collateral.

The European Union said it was concerned that, “after being held for so long without due process, the Baha’i leaders may not receive a fair trial.

“The EU therefore requests the Islamic Republic of Iran to allow independent observation of the judicial proceedings and to reconsider the charges brought against these individuals.”

The document was endorsed by the entire 27-nation membership of the EU, along with Turkey, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, and Moldova.