News

Adnan Rahmat-Penah remains in limbo (Sen’s Daily – June 2nd)

In the past six months, as Rahmat-Penah, a Baha’i from Shiraz, has been waiting in`Adel-Abad prison, the date for his sentencing trial has been rescheduled several times.  THe sentencing process was first scheduled for April 16, then moved to the 17, then once again to the 30th. His family was finally told that the revolutionary court would hand him his sentencing on May 23rd, but once again they were sent away. Officials blame filing for the delay.

Omid Djalili: ‘I’m taking on the Iranian government on behalf of women. It’s nutty’ (The Telegraph – June 4th)

Omid Djalili is a British-Iranian comedian of the the Baha’i faith. This week, he launched Prison Poems, a collection of poems by his former teacher, Mahvash Sabet, who is currently imprisoned in Evin prison. The Baha’i writer is one of over a 100 imprisoned in Iran for nothing more than their faith. The poems depict life in a women’s prisons and the diversity of characters, many of them imprisoned unjustly, sequesterd there. Djalili hopes the publication of Sabet’s books will bring light to the situation of women and Baha’is in Iran.

Opinion

Roxana Saberi: Silenced in Iran – The Plight of Bahai Prisoners of Conscience (Daily Beast)

“When I shared a cell in Tehran’s Evin Prison with Mahvash and Fariba, they faced charges including spying for Israel, where Bahai headquarters are located, insulting religious sanctities, and spreading corruption on earth. These three charges can result in the death penalty, yet the two women had not been able to see their attorneys even once.

I asked them why they had not fled Iran before their arrests. They must have known they were at risk as leaders of the country’s Bahais.

They replied that they loved Iran and wanted to serve not only Bahais there but also the entire nation.”

Firuz Kazemzadeh: Five years of injustice –  The plight of seven Baha’i leaders in Iran (The Washington Post)

“‘I’ve never seen my mother so heartbroken as when she returned from her visit to Evin prison to see my sister, Fariba,’ Iraj Kamalabadi recounts of his mother’s visit with his sister, Fariba Kamalabadi, in Iran. It had been four years since his mother and sister had seen each other. Kamalabadi explained that during his mother’s visit, every minute of waiting felt like a year. Finally, a rough voice called, ‘Visitors for Fariba Kamalabadi, come forward.’”

A.E. Lefton: A Dark Privilege: Bearing Witness to Victims and Prisoners of Conscience in Iran (OnBeing)

“As I sat in that dark London office, alone with the faces and stories of women and men who refused to deny their faith and were put to death because of it, I began to see their sacrifice in a more human light. This is a world that too easily contains death and sacrifice in two-dimensional space, flattening out suffering into a stark chiaroscuro of darkness and light. But in some ways, this denies the relevance of their lives to ours. Although most of us will never be called upon to lay down our lives, each of us will be tested.”