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Iran 'Bars Jailed Baha'i Leader' From Attending Wife's Funeral

Jamaloddin Khanjani (standing, third from left)

Jamaloddin Khanjani (standing, third from left)

One of seven Baha'i leaders serving prison terms in Iran is reported to have been refused permission to attend his wife's funeral, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Jamaloddin Khanjani, 77, is serving a 10-year term in Gohardasht prison in the northern town of Karaj, west of Tehran. He was detained at least three times before his latest imprisonment in May 2008.

His wife of more than 50 years, Ashraf Khanjani, died on March 10 at the age of 81. She had been ill for some time.

Diane Ala'i, the representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva, told Radio Farda on March 13 the refusal to let Khanjani attend his wife's funeral on March 11 shows the Iranian government, despite its claim, has no compassion or "Islamic justice."

She said Iranian Intelligence Ministry officers filmed and took pictures of mourners at Ashraf Khanjani's funeral in Tehran, which was attended by 8,000-10,000 people from Tehran and other cities.

Ala'i added that several members of Khanjani's immediate family, including his son and two grandchildren, also were repeatedly subjected to arrest and incarceration.

The seven Baha'is were sentenced to 20 years in prison in August, on charges of acting against Iran's national security, collaboration with foreign countries, and "corruption on earth," among other things. Their sentences were later reduced to 10 years each.

The Baha'i faith is not recognized under the Iranian Constitution, and its estimated 300,000 followers are subjected to systematic harassment and persecution.