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Old 05-14-2015, 12:20 PM   #1
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Seven Days Seven Years

Dear Friensds Prayers Needed, Many communities suporting this event

#7Bahais7years

On 14 May 2015, the Baha段 International Community will be coordinating a global campaign to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of the seven Iranian Baha段 leaders.

The campaign will run for seven days, from 14 through 20 May 2015. On each day, the focus will be on one of the seven, who continue to endure harsh conditions in two of Iran痴 most notorious prisons.

Each individual will be commemorated on the following day:

14 May: Mahvash Sabet (Bio)

15 May: Fariba Kamalabadi (Bio)

16 May: Jamaloddin Khanjani (Bio)

17 May: Afif Naeimi (Bio)

18 May: Saeid Rezaie (Bio)

19 May: Behrouz Tavakkoli (Bio)

20 May: Vahid Tizfahm (Bio)

On 21 May, the campaign will be summarized and concluded.

God Bless and Regard Tony
 
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:21 PM   #2
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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The Story

From this link - https://www.bic.org/story-seven-impr...80%99i-leaders

The story of the seven imprisoned Iranian Baha段 leaders

For seven years, seven Baha'i leaders have been wrongly imprisoned in Iran.

Their 20-year sentences are the longest given to any current prisoners of conscience in Iran. Their harshness reflects the Government痴 resolve to oppress completely the Iranian Baha'i community, which faces a systematic, 田radle-to-grave persecution that is among the most serious examples of state-sponsored religious persecution in the world today.

Baha'i communities around the world continue to call for their immediate release and the release of all innocent prisoners of conscience in Iranian prisons.

Six of the seven Baha段 leaders were arrested on 14 May 2008 in a series of early morning raids in Tehran. The seventh had been detained two months earlier on 5 March 2008.

Since their arrests, the seven whose names are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm have been subject to an entirely flawed judicial process that has completely ignored international requirements for human rights and legal protections.

During their first year in detention, the seven were not told of the charges against them and they had virtually no access to lawyers. Their trial, conducted over a period of months in 2010 and amounting to only six days in court, was illegally closed to the public, demonstrated extreme bias on the part of prosecutors and judges, and was based on non-existent evidence.

典he bill of indictment that was issued against our clientswas more like a political statement, rather than a legal document, said one of their lawyers, Mahnaz Parakand (link is external). 的t was a 50-page documentfull of accusations and humiliations leveled against the Baha段 community of Iran, especially our clients. It was written without producing any proof for the allegations.

The seven continue to endure harsh conditions in two of Iran痴 most notorious prisons. The five men are incarcerated at Gohardasht prison in Karaj, a facility known for its overcrowding, lack of sanitation, and dangerous environment. The two women remain at Tehran痴 Evin Prison, infamous as a place where brutal interrogations and torture are common.

A global outcry about their unjust imprisonment continues.

In May 2013, four top UN human rights experts called for their immediate release. In May 2014, influential Iranian personalities, human rights activtists, journalists and a prominent religious leader boldly gathered at the home of one of the seven (link is external) to commemorate the sixth anniversary of their imprisonment. Later that year, faith leaders from every major religion (link is external) gathered in London to call for their release.

Since 1979, more than 200 Baha段s have been executed, hundreds more imprisoned and tortured, tens of thousands denied employment, education, freedom of worship, and other rights all solely because their religion is declared to be a 塗eretical sect.

This persecution has intensified in recent years. Since 2005, more than 700 Baha段s have been arrested, and, as of April 2015, at least 100 Baha段s, including the seven, are wrongfully imprisoned.

The increase in arrests has been accompanied by a rising tide of violence (link is external) against Baha段s, marked by incidents that include arson attacks, anti-Baha段 graffiti, hate speech, the desecration of Baha段 cemeteries, and assaults on schoolchildren.

The persecution of Iranian Baha段s extends from cradle to grave. Baha段 infants have been imprisoned along with their mothers. In primary and secondary school, Baha段 children are frequently harassed and insulted by teachers. Young people are denied rightful access to higher education. Adults are banned from government employment and discriminated against in virtually every other sector of the economy. Baha段 marriages are not recognized. The elderly are denied rightful pensions. This all-encompassing discrimination extends even to death: Baha段s are denied the right to proper burial, and unprosecuted arson and vandalism at Baha段 cemeteries carries the persecution beyond the grave.
 
Old 05-14-2015, 12:23 PM   #3
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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timeline

7Bahais7Years Timeline

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the arrest, detention, trial and imprisonment of the seven Baha段 leaders, including the major international actions that have taken place in their defense.
2015

Link to this info - https://www.bic.org/7Bahais7Years-Timeline
 
Old 05-14-2015, 12:24 PM   #4
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Innocent of All Charges

Link - https://www.bic.org/Innocent-All-Charges

Innocent of All Charges

The charges leveled against the seven Baha段 leaders reflect the depth of animosity and prejudice directed towards them as well as a degree of ignorance regarding the basic principles and history of the Baha段 Faith.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the Baha段 community in Iran is being persecuted solely because of its religious beliefs, the Iranian government continues in both public and private forums to justify its behavior with unsubstantiated accusations.

Specifically in the case of the seven Iranian Baha段 leaders, there was never any evidence presented to support the charges:

On the charge of forming or managing a group that aims at disturbing national security:

There was no evidence to support such a charge against the seven.

The 釘aha段 Administration is generally understood to comprise annually elected governing councils that operate at the national, regional, and local levels as well as individuals and groups who are formally appointed to assist with various aspects of the community痴 work and needs. This system of Baha段 administration was dissolved in Iran in 1983.

The seven defendants formed a group who oversaw the affairs of the 300,000 Baha段s in Iran on an informal basis in the absence of a formal Baha段 administration. This arrangement was made with the full knowledge of the Iranian government, which had routine dealings with them since 1983.

Among the Baha段 practices that the group coordinated were the education of children and youth, arranging opportunities to study and learn about family life, the advancement of women, upholding high personal moral standards, freeing themselves and their communities from prejudice, and inculcating a spirit of service to humanity.

Iran is a signatory to Article 18 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which upholds the right 鍍o have or to adopt a religion or belief of [one痴] choice, and 鍍o manifest [one痴] religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

The government, in having declared as illegal even this informal arrangement for seeing to the needs of the 300,000 Baha段s in Iran葉he country痴 largest religious minority幼learly seeks to debar Baha段s from practicing any of the communal events associated with the worship and practice of one痴 religion, including marriages, funerals, and other basic elements among the adherents of any religion.

On the charge of spreading propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

The authorities sought to cast the written communications of the Baha段s in Iran to government officials, including presidents Khatami and Ahmadinejad to appeal against the violation of their basic human rights as aiming to harm the regime through letter-writing. There is no evidence whatever to support the contention that these individuals have ever sought to malign the authorities.

On the charge of engaging in espionage:

To assert that the interaction between the seven defendants and the United Nations and its related institutions about the rights of the Baha段s in Iran, to which the seven have plainly admitted, is an admission of having engaged in espionage is utterly without foundation, legal or otherwise. In relation to the charge that the seven were spying for Israel, such an allegation is absolutely false; it stems entirely from the fact that the international headquarters of the Bah癇 Faith is situated in modern-day Israel. This is so purely as a result of the banishment of the Faith痴 founder by the Muslim Persian and Ottoman empires in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1868, eighty years before the state of Israel was founded, Bah癇u値l疉 was exiled to perpetual imprisonment in the city of 羨kk. He died there and that is where he is buried.

On the charge of gathering classified information with the intention of disturbing national security or of making it available to others:

There is no evidence whatever that the Yaran even had access to, let alone possessed and passed along to others, top secret, secret, highly confidential, or confidential government documents.

On the charge of collaborating with foreign governments hostile against Iran, by some of the accused having taken trips to a number of European countries, such as Turkey and Germany, and by meetings of some of the accused with Australian and Canadian ambassadors:

To support this contention, reference was made to meetings of some of the accused with Australian and Canadian ambassadors and to trips undertaken to a number of European countries, such as Turkey and Germany. It is not illegal in Iran to meet with representatives of foreign diplomatic missions. The topic of these meetings was the situation of the Bah癇s in Iran. Concerning the trips, none of the defendants concerned were prohibited from making these trips and none of these countries are considered hostile by the Iranian government; to the contrary, they all have diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties with Iran; otherwise, they would not have embassies in Iran. Further, none of these actions can be interpreted as involving 田ollaboration with foreign governments.

On the charge of having assembled for the purpose of conspiring to commit offences against national security by having attended conferences held at the Defenders of Human Rights Center:

All conferences held at the Defenders of Human Rights Center took place in the presence of journalists and domestic news agencies and always in coordination with and under the supervision of the local police.
 
Old 05-14-2015, 12:25 PM   #5
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Violations of legal procedures

Violations of legal procedures Link - https://www.bic.org/Violations-legal-procedures

Under international law, the seven Baha段 leaders initially sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Iran should never have been arrested in the first place.

The charges against them clearly stem from their religious beliefs and activities and freedom of religion is protected by numerous international covenants and treaties, most of which Iran itself is party to.

But even under Iranian law, the seven prisoners have repeatedly been denied their rights. According to specialists, the case has been marked by a number of major violations, for example:

Iranian law requires that detainees be quickly and formally charged with crimes. The seven Baha段s were held at least nine months before any word of the charges against them were uttered by officials, and even then it was at a press conference, not in a court setting.
The right to legal counsel is spelled out in Iranian law. The seven were denied access to their lawyers for more than a year and then only allowed barely one hour of contact before their trial began.
Detainees who have been charged also have the right to seek bail and to be released pending trial. The Baha段 leaders were denied bail, despite numerous requests.

典hese are basic issues, in international law and Iranian law, said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha段 International Community to the United Nations.

典hey were waiting for more than a year without charges, and they were for a long time denied access to their lawyers. These are black and white concerns, not subject to interpretation, she said.

Protections under Iranian law

The Iranian Constitution also offers a number of protections for defendants in terms of legal process, even if the government does not always heed them.

One of these is the right to be promptly informed of charges. Article 32 of the Constitution states that in cases of arrest, 田harges with the reasons for accusation must, without delay, be communicated and explained to the accused in writing

The seven Baha段s were not presented with any charges during the first nine months of their imprisonment and have, in fact, never been directly informed of the charges against them as required by law.

The right to an attorney of one痴 choice is also spelled out in the Iranian Constitution. Article 35 states: 釘oth parties to a lawsuit have the right in all courts of law to select an attorney, and if they are unable to do so, arrangements must be made to provide them with legal counsel.

Those accused also have the right under Iranian law to have a lawyer present during the investigation and legal procedure. This right was denied to the seven Baha段 leaders for more than a year. When their rights were finally granted, they were allowed only half an hour to meet with their attorneys. Further, many attempts were made to dissuade them from using as their attorney Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and other members of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, which Mrs. Ebadi founded.

Mehrangiz Kar, a prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, said that even though the Iranian Constitution excludes Baha段s from the full rights of citizenship, the laws regarding legal procedure and due process still apply to them.

典hose parts of the legal system that deal with the process of investigation and the processes of the trial, they do have very good rights for the accused, said Ms. Kar. 鄭nd you cannot find any exception in these articles that separate Baha段s and Muslims.

In the area of punishment, however, Baha段s do not have the same rights as Muslims or the three officially recognized religious minorities in Iran. 的t is in the Islamic Penal Code that everything is against Baha段s, she said.

While the Constitution itself does not spell out the right to bail, it does uphold the idea of the presumption of innocence, which is recognized as the legal foundation for any sort of pre-trial release.

Article 37 of the Constitution states: 的nnocence is to be presumed, and no one is to be held guilty of a charge unless his or her guilt has been established by a competent court.

Illegalities of their detention

None of Iran痴 regulations concerning 鍍emporary detention were observed in this case. Contrary to the law, the seven Baha段 leaders were held in temporary detention for more than two years without a writ of conditions for release, without the judicial authorities having provided evidence of grounds for the extension of the detention, as required by law. Further, once the preliminary investigations were completed and a hearing date set, the judiciary had no right to extend the writ of arrest.

Statutes governing the operations of prisons in Iran restrict the holding of inmates in solitary confinement to not more than 20 days; immediately following their arrests, one of the seven was held alone for 175 days and the other six for 105 days.

Further, an inmate may only be held in solitary confinement with the approval of the prison痴 governing council and only in cases involving 電isciplinary violations; there is no provision that allows the holding of inmates in solitary while an investigation is being carried out against them. The seven were held in solitary confinement without any disciplinary violation or a notice from the prison痴 governing council.

International law

Iran is specifically a party to many of the international treaties that spell out human rights in international law.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is perhaps the main such instrument. In 1975, Iran became one of the first countries in the world to ratify the covenant. The covenant spells out clearly the concept of freedom of religion or belief, as do other human rights treaties.

Article 18 of the ICCPR, for example, states that 甜e]veryone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

The ICCPR also spells out specific rights to due process 努ithout distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

These include freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention, the right to be 菟romptly informed of charges, and the right to legal counsel.

Article 9 of the ICCPR states that 甜n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.

It also states that 甜a]nyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

The seven Baha段s were accepted as 殿rbitrarily detained by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, further giving legal force to this issue.

Article 14 spells out the right to legal counsel, stating everyone has the right 鍍o defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing.
 
Old 05-14-2015, 12:27 PM   #6
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Photos

Link to Photos - https://www.bic.org/media/media-photos

May Gods Bounty Bless them all, may Gods most Great Justice be theirs and all who are oppressed soon.

God Bless and Regards Tony
 
Old 05-14-2015, 06:29 PM   #7
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Senate and House resolutions

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Link to Photos - https://www.bic.org/media/media-photos

May Gods Bounty Bless them all, may Gods most Great Justice be theirs and all who are oppressed soon.

God Bless and Regards Tony
In the United States, today, the community throughout the country called their respective Senators and Congressmen/women requesting them each to co-sponsor resolutions in both the Senate and Congress.

At the minimum, it continues to raise awareness among elected representatives as to the ongoing concerns or their constituency.

These resolutions also are made public, thus raising some level awareness among the general population.

Internationally, the chorus of countries calling for an end to the repression is part of the overall landscape.

.
 
Old 05-15-2015, 04:35 AM   #8
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I do sympathize with this campaign. But why is there such silence about the Bah's in other places, like Egypt and Burma?

gnat
 
Old 05-15-2015, 12:37 PM   #9
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnat View Post
I do sympathize with this campaign. But why is there such silence about the Bah's in other places, like Egypt and Burma?

gnat
Dear Gnat - Then bring it out dear friend, post it. I have not heard!

But still say a prayer or two and share! When one says a prayer for oppressed and persecuted peoples, it is for the whole of humanity, we then also focus on the particular cases when known.

God bless and regards Tony
 
Old 05-15-2015, 02:03 PM   #10
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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The Letter to the Bride

Fariba Kamalabadi痴 Letter to Her Beautiful Daughter the Bride - Iran Press Watch

This is a moving letter, tear alert if you read. Will add it to this post later.

God bless them all - Regards Tony

Fariba Kamalabadi, who has been sentenced to twenty years of prison for being a member of the Baha段 Yaran (informal leaders of the Baha段s of Iran − the 擢riends), has not been given permission to attend her daughter痴 wedding. This mother, who has spent the past seven years in prison, has not been given a single day痴 leave so far. Mrs. Kamalabadi had even requested to be present at the wedding ceremony of Taraneh, her daughter, with hand cuffs, but her request was denied − hence the attendance of the mother at her daughter痴 wedding was instead replaced by a letter, the text of which has been provided to Roozonline. In this letter, which was read at the wedding ceremony, she spoke of her suffering and asked: 展hat are they afraid of that leads them to not allow a mother to attend her own child痴 wedding?

The text of the letter is as follows:


My Taraneh, my beautiful bride

At this moment, in which I am holding a pen and writing, a sea of joy is stirring within me, waves of delight are pounding on the shore of my heart. Some may believe that pain and suffering are continuously accompanied by sorrow and grief, but this is not the case. It is possible to fly in a limitless sea of joy, and fly in the blissful skies while at the height of pain and suffering. What is this pain and what is this joy?

This pain is the pain of being apart, the pain of a mother being far from her child for these many years, without the aid of the tongue which creates loving poetry for her. In her thoughts has held her tight and given her warmth; without the use of her eyes she has witnessed her growth, and now with the eye of the soul she is observing her all elegant and graceful in a white wedding gown.

This pain is the pain of being apart, the pain of a child who has been separated from her mother, who without getting her fill of the right to have a mother has nevertheless grown and developed. In bitter moments of life when she needed the warmth of a mother, she did not have her by her side. Now also, at these most glorious moments of her life, at her wedding ceremony, she finds her mother痴 place empty.

This pain has a pleasant fragrance, because it is filled with the fine perfume of joy; this joy is the joy of a mother who finds her child to now be a graceful youth, determined and steadfast, her conduct serene, her choice extraordinary, her dreams lofty; and who admires her choice.

This joy is the joy of a child who discovers the meaning of being far from one痴 mother, and who by taking steps in the path of service enriches this meaning − now hand in hand with Farid she threads the path of service steadfastly.

My dear Taraneh and Farid-

I know you will forgive me for my faults. I know you will accept my excuse for not being present in these most joyful moments of your life. You well know that I am with you with every fabric of my being, every cell of my existence, and my prayers fill the atmosphere of your ceremonies. You are aware that I employed every effort in order to attend; you know I asked for leave to attend your wedding, and today after seven years of imprisonment, even on such a special occasion, they did not approve my request. You are aware that upon rejection of my request for leave, I requested to be sent there for just a few hours with handcuffs, and accompanied by officials. Even my cellmates submitted written requests to the officials in this regard.

Although the initial agreement with my request brought immense joy and hope, and you tried to change your plans and adjust to the new circumstances, after just a few days the request was rejected. After this rejection was announced, when I left their office, they sent for me again and promised to consider my third request, which was to hold the wedding ceremony at Evin Prison. Plans were approved to designate a room in the sentencing building for us to hold the ceremony with the attendance of a maximum of ten people, and I informed you of this final decision via a phone call. Although you were saddened to hear that they rejected the idea of sending me to you, you nevertheless trusted the promise of those in charge regarding this last option, and clinging to this opportunity, you changed your plans to the new arrangements; however they finally informed me that they had rejected this third option as well − this is how I was deprived of being present at the most precious moment of one痴 life.

Do you see the level of transparency in treating prisoners? And what surreptitious torturous methods are employed? As if they are dealing with a lifeless object such as a stone or a piece of wood such that no matter how you strike it, play with it or throw it here or there, it would not feel anything. (But they are deeply wrong − because at that time, it is not us but it is they, themselves, who are just as stones and pieces of wood, and devoid of any humane feelings, and hence are incapable of comprehending the profound feelings between a mother and her child.)

What are they afraid of? Are they afraid of a mother who has to spend twenty years of her life in prison only having committed the crime of believing in the Baha段 Faith, and who after having spent seven years in prison has to be deprived of participating in the wedding ceremony of her child just for a few hours? My crime is the most beautiful crime in the whole world. It is a crime of which not only I but all future generations will be proud. It is a crime for which over the annals of history, all the saints and prophets have suffered great distress, as well as severe calamities due to the same crime. My crime is to worship the One God, and to acknowledge the truth of all God痴 religions. My crime is to work to bring about the principle of the unity of mankind, and universal peace. My crime is to cultivate a longing to serve humanity in my mind, and a love for all human beings in my heart. My crime is to make efforts to revive our sacred country, Iran, and to promote its honor and exaltation.

Let me tell you more about joy again, how with its radiance and unparalleled sparkle it renders any emanation of pain and suffering dim, and even banishes it altogether.

My lovely Taraneh- if you were seemingly deprived of the bounty of having a mother, you have instead been graced with an added blessing, of an even kinder mother, another Fariba who embraced you lovingly. The same way that you have been blessed by the open embrace of many other mothers: Alia Zarinkar, Firooza Ouladi, Fariba Eshraghi, and many other dear ones, and now with an incapable pen, and inadequate words, honor their love and sacrifice.

Another reflection of joy and happiness is mine: Although I may have been deprived of my life with my two daughters, I have been honored by the presence of other beloved daughters here, of whom I and all of Iran and Iranians may well be proud.

Individuals with matchless nobility and capacities who have spent the days of their lives, their talents, and their youth in prison, in exchange for gaining pride and honor for our dear Iran. This is the reality of our ideals: The world must become one family, and human interactions become loving like the interactions between mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and brothers and sisters.

November 2014

Evin Prison

Last edited by tonyfish58; 05-15-2015 at 02:07 PM.
 
Old 05-15-2015, 10:14 PM   #11
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Another link to a daughters plea

My innocent mother is in jail

May the world become aware of these injustices. Change must be requested, must be made by positive actions!

God bless and Regards Tony
 
Old 05-16-2015, 05:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Dear Gnat - Then bring it out dear friend, post it. I have not heard!

But still say a prayer or two and share! When one says a prayer for oppressed and persecuted peoples, it is for the whole of humanity, we then also focus on the particular cases when known.

God bless and regards Tony
Although there is persecution of religious minorities in Burma/Myanmar, the situation for the Bah's there seems to be decent right now. But here are some other examples. It constantly surprises me that we hear so little about them:

Iraq:

Baha段s living in Sulaimani, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, fear a tarnished reputation following the arrest of Hamed Kamal Muhammad bin Haydara in Yemen since December 2013.Hamid Kamal Bin Hadara, 50, was detained by the National Army and taken to Sanaa for imprisonment. He has been accused of spying for Israel, attempting to convert Muslims, and affecting the country痴 instability. He was subjected to various tortures, including electric shocks. Mrs. Kamali was permitted to visit him after 9 months, 的 didn稚 recognize him for he had lost 30 kilos because of the tortures he received, she wrote in a letter to the House of Justice, pleading for help.

Baha’is in Kurdistan Region fear false allegations against their religion | The Kurdistan Tribune

Egypt:

The Ministry of Endowments organised a workshop on Wednesday and Thursday to 途aise awareness amongst imams on the 堵rowing dangers of the spread of Baha段sm, the ministry said.
The workshop, held in Abasseya痴 Al-Nour Mosque, is also intended to maintain 渡ational security and stability as Baha段 thought allegedly 鍍hreatens Islam specifically and Egyptian society in general, according to the ministry.


http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2014/1...-bahai-threat/

Yemen:

(Sanaa) The Yemeni government should drop all charges against a member of the Baha段 faith, which violate his basic rights to freedom of religion.

Authorities have detained Hamed Kamal Muhammad bin Haydara, 50, without trial since December 2013. They have often denied him access to lawyers and family and subjected him to torture, his wife, Elham Muhammad Hossain Zara`i, told Human Rights Watch. The authorities allege that Haydara attempted to convert Yemeni Muslims and collaborated with Israel.


Yemen: Drop Charges Against Baha

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