The US State Department called Sunday on Iran to release seven Bahai leaders that have been in prison for for nine years.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement, that the leaders of Iran’s Bahai community were arrested and convicted of espionage, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic for activities related solely to their belief in and practice of their faith.
“They were unjustly sentenced to 20 years in prison,” Nauert said, adding that, “Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, Vahid Tizfahm, and Mahvash Sabet remain behind bars today, serving an unjust sentence for exercising their freedoms of religion, association, and expression.”
According to Nauert, their cases are further evidence of Iran’s continued disregard for and violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“We condemn their continued imprisonment, as well as reported abuses against them while incarcerated, and call upon Iran to release them immediately, along with all other prisoners of conscience in Iran,” Nauert said.
Nauert said the government of Iran must stop denying its people their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief.
“We call on the Iranian government to uphold their own laws and meet their international obligations that guarantee freedoms of expression, opinion, religion or belief, association, and peaceful assembly for all in Iran,” Nauert said.