On May 14, six of the seven members of the coordinating group for Iranian Baha’i activities were taken from their homes in the middle of the night by Iranian intelligence officials and transported to Evin prison in Tehran. They now partake of the same injustice already meted out to the seventh member of their group imprisoned in Mashhad on March 5, 2008. (story
-US State Department strongly condemns the arrests and published a statement on their web site saying they urge the authorities to release all Bahᒭs currently in detention and cease their ongoing harassment of the Iranian Bahᒭ community. –
-The Anti-Defamation League posted, World Leaders Should Press Iran to Free Religions Prisoners –
On May 15, the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the United States issued an urgent letter asking the friends to assist these sorely tried, much loved friends by immediately contacting their congressional representative (not senator).
To save time, a form letter has been prepared that you can use and modify for this purpose, as you wish. Please follow the simple instructions below and act quickly as the lives of our friends in Iran are in immediate danger:
Locating the contact information of your congressional representative:
1. First find your 9-digit zip code here: http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp
2. Then go here to find your congressman/woman and their contact information:
The letter below uses standard format for writing letters to government officials (for those not familiar with the format):
Your name and address at the top above the date
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Your Congressional Representative’s Address goes here next
The Honorable Lloyd Doggett
201 Cannon House Office Bldg.
(Independence and 1st St, SE)
Washington DC 20515
Dear Congressman Doggett,
My name is _____________ and I live in your district. I am a member of the Bahai Faith. I am writing to seek urgent action regarding the summary arrest of the leaders of the Bahai Faith in Iran. I also would like to ask you to co-sponsor House Resolution 1008 condemning the persecution of the Bahais in Iran. H. RES. 1008 is the tenth congressional resolution since 1982 on the Bahais of Iran. This resolution condemns state-sponsored persecution of Irans largest religious minority (300,000 members). The resolution also condemns the Iranian governments continued imprisonment of innocent Bahais without due process and a fair trial.
Dear Congressman Doggett, while the Iranian governments extensive human rights violations against Bahais and others are well-known, the latest news coming from inside Iran is particularly disturbing. During the early morning hours on May 14th, the officers of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry raided the homes of six members of our Faith. These six individuals, along with a seventh person who has been in captivity since March of this year, comprise the current leadership of the Bahai Faith in Iran.
For additional information, see these stories:
Bahai News: http://news.bahai.org/story/632
Summary arrest of Bahai leaders in Iran is not without precedence. However, the last time such wholesale arrests took place was in the early 1980s, when three successive membership of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Iran were either abducted or arrested and all but two members were never heard from. They are presumed dead.
On the morning of May 17 a government sponsored news agency appears to be setting the stage for connecting these seven individuals to a terrorist bombing in the city of Shiraz in southern Iran. The bombing occurred on April 12, 2008 and, according to official news, resulted in 12 deaths and 190 injuries. The story of this latest fabrication against the Bahais can be found here: http://www.iranpressnews.com/source/040342.htm (in Persian)
Bahai teachings renounce violence of any sort. Yet, this is the latest attempt by the Iranian government to accuse Bahais of subversive activities. The government also reported that it had discovered a U.S.-Israeli sponsored terrorist network inside Iran that not only had devised the Shiraz bombing but had plans for additional terrorist bombings throughout the country: http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0805176583165226.htm
The government has long accused Bahais of being agents of foreign powers, especially Israel and the U.S. The above two stories appear to be preparing the grounds for, once again, announcing ties between the Bahais and the U.S. and Israeli governments and their collusion in acting against the interests and safety of the Iranian people. The charge is tantamount to treason which, according to Iranian laws, is punishable by death.
Recent history has shown that the current Iranian regime does value international opinion and does respond to public pressure. I hope that you take urgent action in this matter and not only sponsor H. RES. 1008 but publicly voice your support for the long-persecuted members of the Bahai Faith in Iran.
Your name and address is repeated here