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Baha'i Leaders In Iran Charged With Spying For Israel

02/12/09 Source: RFE/RL

Bahai leaders arrested in Iran. In the front row seated from the left are Behrouz Tavakkoli and Saeid Rezaie. Standing from the left are Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Jamaloddin Khanjani and Afif Naeimi. On the far right is Mahvash Sabet, detained since March. - read more

PRAGUE -- The International Baha'i Community says it is concerned that seven imprisoned members of the Baha'i faith are to be tried for charges including "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic."

Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i community's envoy to the UN, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that the International Baha'i Community "rejects all the accusations."

"They are just common Iranians who wanted to serve their society and their country," she added.

Tehran Deputy Prosecutor Hassan Haddad said the case will be sent to a revolutionary court next week.

Pressure on religious minorities, including Baha'is and Gonabadi Dervishes, has increased in Iran in recent years.

The Baha'i faith is not recognized in the Iranian Constitution.

The European Union has expressed "serious concern about the continuing systematic discrimination and harassment of the Iranian Baha'is on the grounds of their religion."

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