Leading Indians Join the Wave of Support for Baha’is and their Rights in Iran

A Call to the Government of Iran:
Release Innocent Baha’i Detainees Facing Trial Immediately

We have learnt that the seven Baha’is, detained in Tehran without charges since May 2008,
are going to undergo trial at the Revolutionary Court very shortly. The Iranian Deputy
Public Prosecutor has recently announced that the seven Baha’is are accused
of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the
Islamic Republic. Amnesty International “considers the charges to be politically
motivated and those held to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely because
of their conscientiously held beliefs or their peaceful activities on behalf of the Baha’i community.”

We are appalled to note that during the nine months of their arbitrary detention, the seven Baha’is have been denied access to their legal counsel, Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, and that the five male detainees are now being held together in a 10m² prison cell without basic amenities like beds.
We are also deeply concerned that Ms. Ebadi has not been allowed access to the files of the detainees.
Instead, she continues to be threatened and harassed. In June 2008, prominent citizens of India had appealed to Iran to “abide by the international human rights conventions it has ratified and release these detainees immediately.” Along with many governments, parliamentary leaders and human rights organizations around the globe, we, the undersigned, call once again on the Government of Iran to dismiss the arbitrary “politically motivated” charges against the seven innocent Baha’i leaders and release them immediately and unconditionally.
At the very least, if the Baha’is are put on trial, we urge Iran to abide by the provisions of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it has ratified and is legally binding. This entails, among others, that the detainees:
– Be granted at the very least a “fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal”.
– Be “presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law”.
– Be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of their defence and be able to communicate
with the counsel of their choice.
These citizens of Iran are innocent of the charges framed against them. They are law-abiding, loyal to their
government and working towards the betterment of society.
The Government of Iran should release them immediately or, at a minimum, try them fairly. This is one of the basic rights of every man and woman on this planet. Should the detainees be denied a fair trial, it would be an affront to the very notion of fundamental rights. ■
– February 2009
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
Justice J.S. Verma, Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India – Former Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission
Justice Rajinder Sachar, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court – Former President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
Soli J. Sorabjee, Former Attorney General for India – President, United Lawyers’ Association
Dr. Syeeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission of India
Prof. Tahir Mahmood, Member, Law Commission of India – Former Chairperson National Commission for Minorities
Dr. Mohini Giri, Founder, Guild of Service India – Former Chairperson, National Commission for Women
Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, JNU – Member, National Statistical Commission
Mr. D.R. Kaarthikeyan, Former Director, Central Bureau of Investigation
Maulana Khalid Rasheed, Farangi Mahali, Naib Imam Eidgah, Lucknow – Member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board
Archbishop Vincent Concesso, Archbishop of Delhi, Sacred Hearts Cathedral
Swami Agnivesh, President, World Council of Arya Samaj – Former Chairperson, UN Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
Fr. Philip Kuruvilla, Youth Director of the Orhtodox Church of India
Aamir Khan, Actor – Producer – Director
B. George Verghese, Senior Columnist – Visiting Professor, Center for Policy Research
Miloon Kothari, Coordinator Housing and Land Rights Network – Former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing
Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Tapan Kumar Bose, Secretary General, South Asia Forum for Human Rights
Mukul Sharma, Director, Amnesty International India
Madhu Kishwar, Founder, Manushi – Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
Ajay Mehta, Executive Director, National Foundation for India
Dr. Mira Shiva, South Asian Focal Point, International Peoples Health Council
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate – Member, Social Jurist
S.K. Sharma, President, Society for the Protection of Human Rights in Uttarakhand

Dr. S.K. Barua, Director, IIM Ahmedabad
V. Raghunathan, Former Professor IIM Ahmedabad – Author
Arun Bharat Ram, Chairman SRF Ltd – Chairman CII Family Business Council
Ishwar Subramanian, Managing Director AkzoNobel, India
Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, Teamlease Services
Sudhir V. Kamath, Managing Director 2i Capital (India) Private Limited
Suki Iyer, CEO Metamorph Learning Pvt. Ltd.

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7 Responses to “Leading Indians Join the Wave of Support for Baha’is and their Rights in Iran”

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