Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Netherlands condemns the trial of Iranian Bahá’is

February 20, 2009 Netherlands is concerned about the trial of seven leaders of the Bahá’i community in Iran. The seven have been held since May, without any access to legal assistance, on charges of blasphemy and spying for Israel. The trial opens this week.
The leaders of the Bahá’i, a religious minority in Iran, are facing a possible death sentence if convicted of the charges. The Netherlands fears that the trial will not be fair, and it has asked Iran through the EU to allow an independent observer to monitor the judicial process.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen is seriously concerned about the fate of the Bahá’is: ‘The Netherlands will continue to work hard to eliminate human rights violations and the oppression of religious and ethnic minorities. We will do this bilaterally, by repeatedly calling the Iranian authorities to account for their human rights policy, and internationally, by bringing the plight of religious minorities to the attention of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.’At the initiative of the Netherlands and several other member states, the EU has issued a declaration objecting to this instance of religious discrimination. Not only are many Bahá’is being detained without formal charges, they are also excluded from Iranian universities and denied certain permits.

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