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'Office' Star Appeals For End To Baha'i Persecution

Persecution of Baha'is in Iran is getting more and more Western media attention, with the trial set to begin next week of seven Baha'i leaders accused of spying for Israel.

Actor Rainn Wilson, a member of the Baha'i faith who plays paper salesman Dwight Schrute in the U.S. version of "The Office," has weighed in with a commentary for

They've been accused of all manner of things including being "spies for Israel," "insulting religious sanctities" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic."

They've been held for a year in Evin Prison in Tehran without any access to their lawyer (the Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi) and with zero evidence of any of these charges.

When a similar thing happened in 1980, the national leadership of the Iranian Baha'i community disappeared. And this was repeated again in 1981.

In fact, since 1979, more than 200 Baha'is have been killed, holy places and cemeteries desecrated, homes burned, civil rights taken away and secret lists compiled of Baha'is (and even Muslims who associate with them) by government agencies.

RFE/RL spoke to the sister of one of seven Baha'is on trial this week. She said that her sister was detained solely on the basis of her faith, which is not recognized by the Iranian Constitution.

Other faiths in Iran are also being squeezed. As RFE/RL reported yesterday, a house of worship belonging to Sufi dervishes has been destroyed by the authorities.

-- Luke Allnutt

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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