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Iran Baha'i Leaders Scheduled In Court On Election Anniversary

The seven Baha'is imprisoned since spring 2008 (photo: Baha'i World News Service)
The seven Baha'is imprisoned since spring 2008 (photo: Baha'i World News Service)
Seven Iranian Baha'i leaders incarcerated since 2008 are scheduled to appear in court on June 12, the Baha'i International Community representative to the United Nations in Geneva has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Diane Ala'i said on June 2 that it was not clear why the hearing has been set for the anniversary of Iran's disputed presidential election.

The seven have been accused of "acting against Iran's national security," "collaboration with foreign countries," and "corruption on earth," among other charges.

There have been three hearings of their case so far this year, but the last, in April, was adjourned when the Baha'is refused to appear in court.

"The Baha'i leaders refused to attend the trial when they saw that their families were denied entry to the court, while Intelligence Ministry officials and interrogators, along with a film crew, were there," Ala'i said.

No evidence has been presented in the court sessions so far, she added.

"The International Baha'i Community and human rights defenders call for a fair and open trial for these seven Baha'is as well as their immediate release. They are completely innocent," Ala'i told Radio Farda.

The seven include five men -- Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm -- and two women, Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet.

According to the Baha'i International Community, there are currently some 35 Baha'is in detention in various cities of Iran.

The Baha'i faith began in Iran in the 19th century, and currently has an estimated 5 million followers worldwide. While Baha'is regard their faith as within the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, Iran's Shi'ite government regards Baha'ism as an Islamic heresy.

There are some 300,000 Baha'is in Iran, a community that human rights groups say has faced serious repression under the Islamic republic.