Seven Baha'i Leaders Kept Locked Up

May 14, 2010

Author: Hillary May

Source: The Washington Times

Two years ago to date, the top leaders of the Baha'i movement in Iran were enjoying the last peaceful morning they would see in a long time.

While in their homes, four men and two women - a seventh leader had been arrested previously - were dragged off by government officials to one of the world's most notorious prisons: Evin prison in northwest Tehran.

The seven were known as the Friends, a leadership cadre that provided for the needs of Iran's 300,000-member Baha'i community. With no access to an attorney, they were charged with spying for Israel, insulting "religious sanctities" and propaganda against the Islamic republic.

"These charges, particularly of espionage, are absurd," said Joseph Grieboski, president of the Institute of Religion and Public Policy in a statement after the arrest. "The arrest of Iran's top Baha'i leaders has simply been another move to intimidate and undermine the faith's followers."