RAHANA, a human rights organization in Iran, reported today that the Tehran Court of Appeals commuted the prison sentence of the seven Baha’i leaders from 20 years each to ten. While this is a positive development, the Baha’i leaders committed no crime and shouldn’t serve any time in prison.

On August 8th, the sentence of collective 140 years of imprisonment for the Baha’i seven was announced following a show-trial based on fictitious charges. The heavy sentence stunned the Baha’i community worldwide and their attorney, Shirin Ebadi. The charges brought against the Baha’i leaders included 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.

The seven Baha’is are the members of “Friends of Iran” (Yaran Iran), a national-level coordinating group for the Baha’i community in Iran. Six of the group, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm, have been arrested in their home in Tehran on May 14, 2008. Mahvash Sabet was arrested on March 5, 2008 during a visit to Mashad. All official Baha’i governing bodies were disbanded in Iran in 1983.