Iran `tries seven Bahais for proselytising`

Iran has put on trial seven Bahais accused of proselytising, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the United States said in a statement.

Nicosia: Iran has put on trial seven Bahais
accused of proselytising, the National Spiritual Assembly of
the Bahais of the United States said in a statement on Tuesday.

The six men and one woman, began to appear, individually
or in groups, before the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, which
deals with crimes against the regime.

They are part of a group of leaders or teachers of BIHE
(Bahai Institute for Higher Education), an online university,
the statement said, adding that the authorities announced
their arrest in May for "proselytising."
Iranian media gave no news confirming the opening of the
trial.

The statement added that the defence lawyer, Abdolfattah
Soltani, was also arrested on September 10.

That was announced by Amnesty International and has been
denounced especially by the European Union. Soltani is a
co-founder of the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, along with
Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.
The Bahais, who are barred from higher education and
government posts in staunchly Shiite Muslim Iran, are regarded
as infidels by the majority community and have been persecuted
both before and after the country`s 1979 Islamic revolution.

The statement said seven Bahais are among a group of 19
people arrested on May 21, and that the others have since been
released.

In July, the assembly said they were accused of
"conspiracy against national security and against the Islamic
Republic" for their activities in BIHE.

Iranian Bahais are regularly prosecuted and seven
community leaders were sentenced to 20 years in prison in late
2010.

Bureau Report

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