Washington: A leading human rights
organisation today said dozens of people of Baha`i faith in
Iran have been detained without any charges and asked Tehran
to stop their persecution.
"The Iranian government seems to be using the
post-election unrest as a cover for targeting the Bahai
community," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North
Africa director, at Human Rights Watch.
The detention of 13 Bahais 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
These arrests come during a broad government
crackdown on opposition activists, Human Rights Watch said in
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, it
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.