Around 48 political prisoners incarcerated in Raja’i Shahr Prison released a letter this week demanding an investigation into the death of Ataollah Rezvani and prosecution of his killers. Rezvani, a 52-year Baha’i and social activist from Iran, was kidnapped and then killed in the port city of Bandar Abbas last month after a local imam made statements calling his followers to be wary of their Baha’i counterparts. There is reason to believe his death was motivated by religious bigotry – as an expert in water filtration, Rezvani routinely received threats from local officials attempting to hinder his work. His death has angered Baha’is all over the world — it recalled a history of persecution of Baha’is in Iran that persists to the present.

The letter, which includes such notable signatories as Navid Khanjani and Azizollah Samandari, mourns the death of Revzani and briefly mentions Iran’s increasing hostility towards Baha’is:

Considering the history of repeated death threats to the deceased, and the frequency and span of arrests and summons of the members of the Baha’i community, and the similarity and recurrence of such atrocities, which too often have led to loss of life or serious physical impairment, in recent years, we, a number of prisoners of conscience in the Rajai Shahr prison, condemn this vicious act and demand the immediate investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of this incident and those who ordered it in a fair court of law.

Such a horrible event creates an atmosphere of insecurity among fellow members of Iran’s Baha’i community as well as other minority groups. Prompt and unbiased investigation into this matter that may ensure the safety and welfare of the people of Iran should be given high priority.

Based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights* [to which Iran is a signatory], and as stipulated in the Iranian constitution**, all citizens have equal rights, and the government is responsible for protecting their personal, financial, and social safety.

According to the nineteenth and twentieth articles of our constitution, the people of Iran, regardless of their ethnicity and nationality, are equal; colour, race, language, and other distinctions may not bestow any privilege, and all citizens, both women and men, are subject to the rule of law…

According to the aforementioned standards, we the undersigned demand that the rights of all citizens, regardless of differing beliefs, be preserved, and that all citizens be treated equally and without any discrimination.