According to reports by the Baha’i community and human rights activists in Iran, the seven Baha’i leaders refused to participate in the third hearing of their trial on April 13.

At the beginning of the third session of the trial, which was supposed to be open, the families of the Baha’is on trial were barred from entering. Instead, cameramen, ministry of intelligence officials and interrogators were let in. After consulting with their attorneys, the seven Baha’i leaders decided not to participate in this show trial, and refused to enter the courtroom. The Baha’i leaders stated that if regime officials are allowed to participate in the hearing, making it a public session, their family members should be let in as well.

According to Diane Ala’i, the Baha’i International Community’s representative to the United Nations, the Baha’i seven who made up the unofficial leadership of the Baha’is in Iran are “entering their third year of imprisonment without being allowed to at least be released on bail, or even released without it — for they are absolutely innocent.”

The previous court sessions of this show trial were also closed to the public, while cameras were let in. The seven face several charges, including espionage, initiation and expansion of illegal organizations, collecting and transmitting classified information to foreigners in the aim of disrupting national security, holding illegal meetings to plot the actions against the security of the state and spreading corruption on earth. These activities were coordinated with the “usurper regime that is occupying al-Qods” (Israel) and guided by the leadership of the Baha’is, the Universal House of Justice, which is located in Israel. The charge of spreading corruption on earth carries the death penalty.