#Human Rights
Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament


The son of Riaz Sobhani one of the imprisoned teachers from the Bahai Open University (BIHE) who was arrested in June 2011, has told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his father’s physical and mental condition has worsened in prison. His father is 67 years old and suffers from heart disease, a lung disease and stomach bleeding. He is serving a four-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison, in Karaj, near Tehran. In May 2012 he was hospitalized because his heart condition had become acute. Na’im Sobhani, his son, who lives in America, said that the medical officer had authorised two months leave for his father, but he was only granted six weeks. During these six weeks he had medical tests. Two weeks ago he had to return to prison. Since then, the family in Iran have seen his mental condition deteriorate sharply and he is suffering more pain. It is very hard for him, given his age, and the prison conditions are intolerable. Last year he was hospitalized for constriction of the arteries and had surgery. Two days later he was back in prison, which meant that he could not be under medical observation. His condition worsened day by day until the medical officer granted him two months leave.

Conditions in Raja’i Shahr prison are very unsanitary. There are 4 or 5 prisoners in each two-person cell, so they share a bed, or it is given to someone who is old or sick. Each prisoner has just one blanket in the winter. The washing facilities are filthy and the food is bad. There is nothing to be done about, because, basically, they are not considered human.

--Sen's Daily


HRANA News Agency – Seven professors and officials involved in Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) have been sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. BIHE is a provisional online university established for Baha'i citizens who have been denied the opportunity to study at Iran’s higher education institutes.

According to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, during the last couple of days, Judge Moqayaseh presiding over the 28th branch of the Revolutionary Court has sentenced seven Baha'i citizens to a total of 30 years in prison. The defendants were present in the courtroom when the verdicts were read. Defense attorneys objected to the rulings and filed appeals on behalf of their clients. The verdicts are as follows:

* Kamran Mortezahi - 5 years imprisonment
* Vahid Mahmodi - 5 years imprisonment
* Riaz Sobhani – 4 years imprisonment
* Mahmoud Badavam – 4 years imprisonment
* Ramin Zibaie – 4 years imprisonment
* Farhad Sedghi – 4 years imprisonment
* Noshin Khadam – 4 years imprisonment

Citing Article 499 of the Islamic Penal Code, Judge Moqayaseh sentenced seven Baha'i professors and university officials for being involved in an illegal group with the intention to commit crimes against Iran’s national security. These seven individuals together with nearly 300,000 other citizens throughout the country are members of Iran’s Baha'i Community outlawed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On May 22, 2011, Iranian security forces raided the houses of more than 40 Baha'i professors, students and university officials and arrested six of the aforementioned individuals. Riaz Sobhani was arrested separately on June 13, 2011. During the last few months, more than 20 Baha'i citizens connected to the online university have been detained, and nearly 50 individuals have been summoned to the Intelligence Agency. Furthermore, several buildings including a laboratory have been sealed, and the university’s website has been filtered and blocked multiple times.

Last week, all of the defendants with the exception of Noshin Khadam were transferred to Rajai-Shahr Prison. On October 15, 2011, Noshin Khadam was transferred to the women’s ward in Evin Prison.

Whereas: The only "crimes" committed by peaceful Baha'i faith citizens and educators Kamran Mortezahi, Vahid Mahmodi, Riaz Sobhani, Mahmooud Badavam, Ramin Zibale, Farhad Sedghi and Noshin Khadam were their adherence to their Baha'i faith, and their efforts to provide higher educational opportunities to Baha'i youth-- opportunities systematically denied to them by the Islamic Republic regime in gross violation of international law;

And Whereas: the harsh prison sentences handed down to these seven educators is a flagrant violation of Articles 55 and 56, of the UN Charter, Article 18 of the UN Covenant On Civil and Political Rights and Freedom of Speech, and Article 24 of the Iranian Constitution;

Therefore, we, the undersigned, demand that all possible pressure be brought to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to repeal the prison sentences imposed on Kamran Mortezahi, Vahid Mahmodi, Riaz Sobhani, Mahmooud Badavam, Ramin Zibale, Farhad Sedghi and Noshin Khadam, that all charges be dropped and that they be immediately and unconditionally released.

We further demand that the international community press the Islamic Republic regime relentlessly to end the persecution of all Baha'is and other oppressed minorities, end discrimination in higher education and release all prisoners of conscience.

We also note the alarming reports that Riaz Sobhani, who is 67 years old and suffers from heart disease, a lung disease and stomach bleeding, is suffering from a dangerous decline in his health due to the horrible conditions of Rajai-Shahr Prison. We demand that the international community intervene with utmost resolution to secure him immediate medical care and prompt release from his illegal imprisonment.

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The Free the other "Baha'i Seven"-- Educators Sentenced to a total of 30 Years petition to Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.