Irish politicians, doctors and experts call on Iranian authorities to cease arrest and imprisonment
As we in Ireland begin to be released from lockdown, the Iranian authorities are locking up dozens of Bahá’ís. More than 70 Irish people including politicians, medical professionals and society wide experts, have added their names to a statement calling on the Iranian government to stop the arrests and imprisonments of their Bahá’í citizens.
“The Iranian government must end the state-sponsored dehumanisation and persecution of their Bahá’í citizens. We call on them to end their current campaign of arbitrary arrests and imprisonments and allow Bahá’ís their basic human rights.”
See list of signatories below.
The Iranian government has been trying to destroy the Bahá’í community for more than 40 years. In 1991, a UN official discovered a secret memorandum signed by Iran’s Supreme Leader, calling for the “progress and development” of the Bahá’í community to be blocked. This memorandum is still in force. As well as suffering severe discrimination, Bahá’í are also commonly arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges. At any given time there are 50-100 Bahá’ís in prison in Iran - simply because they are Bahá’ís.
Heiner Bielefeldt, former UN Rapporteur, described the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran as, “…one of the most obvious cases of state persecution.” Now, in the face of an escalating health pandemic, the Iranian authorities have ramped up their persecution of Bahá’ís, targeting at least 77 people across the country.
Among the Bahá’ís recently sentenced to prison is an elderly man who will clearly be at great risk if he contracts COVID-19 while in prison. The authorities have also arrested and charged a couple who have been caring for their daughter who has cancer. These parents are deeply concerned for their daughter’s care should they be sent to prison.
In addition to the arrests and imprisonments, the government has also ramped up its practice of vilifying and dehumanising Bahá’ís in the media. Slanders and falsehoods about Bahá’ís are being disseminated in state-controlled and state-sanctioned media. Bahá’ís have become an all-purpose scapegoat, so much so that the Iranian government can smear its opponents by accusing them of being Bahá’ís, as if that were the most heinous crime.
Why the Iranian authorities have escalated the persecution of their Bahá’í citizens is unknown. It may be that they hope they can invisibly mistreat Bahá’ís while the world’s attention is on the global health crisis. We want to sincerely thank all the people who are helping us to shine a light on these arbitrary arrests and imprisonments protect innocent Bahá’ís in Iran.
List of Signatories
John Paul Phelan TD Cian O'Callaghan TD Joan Collins TD Senator David Norris Thomas Pringle TD Thomas Byrne TD Noel Grealish TD Joe O'Brien TD Mick Barry TD Louise O’Reilly TD Sorca Clarke TD PaulineTully TD Malcolm Noonan TD Senator Pauline O'Reilly Pa Daly TD Cathal Crowe TD Seán Haughey TD Senator Sharon Keogan Neasa Hourigan TD Catherine Connolly TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill TD Cllr. Lettie Mc Carthy Cllr. Kazi Ahmed Cllr. Tom Murphy Cllr. Jim Gildea Cllr. Séafra Ó Faoláin Cllr. Lourda Scott GP Cllr. Jim O'Leary Cllr. Paddy Holohan Cllr. Donna McGettigan Cllr. Joe Costello Cllr. Clare O’Byrne Cllr. Eoin Ó Broin Cllr. Peter Kavanagh Cllr. Kieran O Hanlon Cllr. Elena Secas Cllr. Tom Fortune Cllr. Alan Edge Cllr. Mags Crean Cllr Denis O Callaghan Cllr. Joe Lyons Professor Afshin Samali BSc, PhD, MRIA Professor Adrienne Gorman BA Mod, PhD Dr. George Rahmani M.B., B.Ch, B.A.O., M.Ch, MSc. Dr. Daniel Cunningham BA, B.Dent. Sc Gita Nezamabad RGN Dr. Sarah Sabour-Chadwick F.A.O.I., Ph.D Dr. Cillian McNamara M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., MSc. Dr. Negin Reyhani M.D., M.I.C.G.P. Dr. Neysan Chah BA, B.Dent.Sc Sahar Rahmani MSc., T.M.C., BSc (Hons)., Lic. Ac Dr. Denis Linehan,UCC Dr. Katharina Swirak, UCC Professor Kieran Sheahan UCD, School of Medicine Dr. Brendan McNamara, Study of Religions Dept., UCC Assoc. Prof. Iarfhlaith Watson, MSocSc, PhD, UCD School of Sociology Caroline Smith M.I.A.H.I.P. Dr. Lua Saba Rahmani Dip MB BCh BAO MCAI Dr. Vivien Hick, PhD Professor Seosamh Watson MA, MLitt, PhD, DLitt Dr. Lawrence Staudt B.Sc., M.Eng, C.Eng Ann O'Sullivan M.I.A.H.I.P. Ann Carri M.Sc Couns Psych Grainne McMurrow (SC, Rep. Council of Europe Venice Commission) Ann O’Neill, (ECP) MICP MEAP MIAHIP SIAHIP Dr. Mansi Mkarimi MD Dr. Hooman Reyhani, Ph.D., M.Eng., B.Eng Dr. Thomas Kennedy Dr. Ruth Moloney Dr. Ehsan Chah B.E., PhD Dr. Ian McCabe Clinical Director JIFACA Dr Seán Conroy