Posted by: bahareiran | February 12, 2011

Families fear for Baha’is jailed in Iran

Iran drew international condemnation in 2008 for arresting leaders of the Bahai faith, which has no clergy. The religion was founded in Iran in 19th century and is anathema to the nation’s Islamic clerical regime.

Relatives said the seven Bahai were each given 20 years in prison and that the sentences were later lowered to 10 years, although the reduction was made known verbally and not through any official statement.

Iraj Kamalabadi, whose sister Fariba Kamalabadi is among the seven, said the Bahai leaders were transferred last year to Gohardasht prison where violent criminals stay in lice-infested cells next to overflowing sewers.

‘I don’t think that there is any light at the end of the tunnel at this point of time,’ Kamalabadi said in a meeting with the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, an autonomous government body.

‘Their condition continues to deteriorate and there is no improvement so far that we have seen,’ he said.

Kamal Khanjani, the brother of jailed 77-year-old Bahai leader Jamaloddin Khanjani, said that five prisoners were crammed into each cell measuring three by five meters (10 by 16 feet).

Khanjani said he was allowed to speak by telephone once with his brother and, ‘because of his age and the condition of his prison, I knew his health was deteriorating’.

‘But when he was talking to me, his voice was wonderful and strong,’ Khanjani said.

The relatives were optimistic on one point — they believed the Bahai have won sympathy among prisoners through their deeds and backgrounds. Jamaloddin Khanjani is a successful businessman, while Fariba Kamalabadi is a developmental psychologist.

‘In general, the Iranian people have developed further respect and are a lot more sympathetic to their plight,’ Iraj Kamalabadi said.

Iran tried the Bahai leaders on charges of spying for foreigners, spreading corruption, undermining Islam and cooperating with Israel…


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