Cherie Blair has written a strong piece today drawing attention to the situation of the Bahá’ís in Iran. She states:
The campaign against the Baha’i community reached a new intensity last spring when its seven-strong national leadership was arrested in dawn raids. More than a year after detention without charge or access to a lawyer, the prisoners’ families have finally been told a court date has been set for this Saturday.
We don’t yet know the charges. But Iranian news reports have suggested that the national committee stands accused of everything from “espionage for Israel” to “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”. Such charges carry very serious penalties in Iran, including the death penalty.
What is also very worrying are reports that the case will be heard by the same Revolutionary Court that recently tried, in secret, the US journalist Roxana Saberi. After proceedings lasting only one day, she was sentenced to eight years in jail.
It was only after the international outcry at this parody of justice and the severity of the sentence that she received another trial. This reduced her sentence to a two-year term that was suspended on appeal.
We need the same international pressure now, before the court case, to ensure the seven men and women receive a fair trial and a chance of justice. They must be given full access to their lawyers, who must have time to prepare their defence. The court proceedings must be open to independent observation.
For the full article follow the link at the top of this post. For more UK related background see bahainews-uk.