Friends in Iran
The Yaran, meaning Friends refers to the name of a now-disbanded ad hoc group responsible for Iran's 300,000-member Bahá’í community. Each of the seven members were arrested in 2008 and held without charge for over a year.
Following their trial between 12 January and 14 June 2010 they were each sentenced originally to 20 years in prison. It is now said to have been reduced to 10.
The trial of the seven began on 12 January 2010 and ended on 14 June 2010. It consisted of the following court appearances:
- 12 January: Government-sponsored news media say the defendants were formally charged with espionage, propaganda activities against the Islamic order, the establishment of an illegal administration, cooperation with Israel, sending secret documents outside the country, acting against the security of the country, and corruption on earth. They deny all the charges.
- 7 February: The hearing, which lasts just over one hour, does not go beyond procedural issues. No date is given for any future sessions.
- 12 April: The session is closed, however inside the courtroom are numerous officials and interrogators from the Ministry of Intelligence – along with a film crew which had already set up its cameras. Concerned over the presence of non-judicial personnel in a supposedly closed hearing, the Bahá’ís – with the agreement of their attorneys – decline to be party to the proceedings. The judge adjourns the session.
- 12 -14 June: The seven Bahá’í leaders appear in court on three successive mornings, before the trial concludes. No further information is available.
On 8 August 2010 the Bahá’í International Community received reports indicating that seven Iranian Bahá’í leaders have each received jail sentences of 20 years.
Reports of the sentencing of the Friends have resulted in widespread international outcry over human rights abuses and religious persecution. Countries that have issued responses include: Australia, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, Brussels, Germany, Hungary, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.
- Fariba Kamalabadi
- Jamaloddin Khanjani
- Afif Naeimi
- Saeid Rezaie
- Mahvash Sabet
- Behrouz Tavakkoli
- Vahid Tizfahm
- Chronology of events
- International support for imprisoned Bahá’ís
- Seven cities in Brazil mobilize in defense of human rights
- "Profiles of the seven Baha’is “leaders”". Bahá’í World News Service. http://news.bahai.org/human-rights/iran/iran-update/yaran-profiles.html. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- "Trial of Iran’s seven Baha’i leaders, Chronology of events". Bahá’í World News Service. http://news.bahai.org/human-rights/iran/yaran-special-report/chronology. Retrieved 22 September 2010.