May 14th will mark the 6th year since seven former Bahá’í leaders known as the Yárán-i-Iran (Friends of Iran) were unjustly imprisoned. These 5 men and 2 women have been condemned to 20 years imprisonment, the longest period of incarceration of any prisoners of conscience in their country.
The Yárán were charged with espionage, propaganda against the Islamic republic, the establishment of an illegal administration, all of which were rejected completely and categorically by the defendants.
The crime they are really charged with is nothing more than this, being members of the Bahá’í Faith, a religion which has been the focus of a systematic, government-sponsored persecution in Iran since the 1979 revolution.
The steep rise in the number of Bahá’ís imprisoned from about 115 to 136 in the last quarter of 2013 speaks to the Iranian regime’s refusal to uphold its campaign promises of its new president to safeguard the human rights of all Iranian citizens.
Through unwavering efforts, on December 20 last year, the Senate, by unanimous consent, passed Senate Resolution 75 (S.Res.75)—which had won the backing of 35 bipartisan sponsors. Similar efforts are underway to increase the number of cosponsors of House Resolution 109 (H.Res.109) from its current 91 cosponsors to approximately 150 before it is put to a vote later this year. These resolutions detail and condemn the “state-sponsored persecution” of Iran’s Bahá’ís. They also call for the release of all prisoners held solely on account of their religious beliefs and express the desire of the Congress that the President and Secretary of State demand their release as well as hold accountable—pursuant to existing legislation—the officials responsible for these glaring violations of human rights.
From the tireless perseverance and hard work of Bahá’ís in Arkansas, Congressional Representative, Tom Cotton, has co-sponsored House Resolution 109. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all the cosponsors of House Resolution 109, as the number of cosponsors will be seen by the Iranian regime as proof the resolution has strong support