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Petition for release the of seven Bahá'í leaders in Iran

//FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE//

Petition calls for release the of seven Bahá'í leaders in Iran

At the invitation of the Honourable Annette King the New Zealand Bahá'í community is presenting a petition to the House of Representatives asking the NZ government to demand the release of the seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran and to endorse the call of a senior Muslim cleric for religious co-existence. Support has been voiced by all major parties as Members of Parliament have been approached by Baha’is within their electorates.

Members of parliament will receive the petition Tuesday July 29, at 12.45pm in the Seddon statue area in the forecourt of Parliament.

This year marks the sixth anniversary of the unjustified incarceration of the seven former leaders of the Bahá’í community in Iran who were each sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. “It is the longest sentences ever given to prisoners of conscience in Iran, after a series of court appearances which completely failed to adhere to proper judicial procedures,” says Bev Watson, director of external affairs for the NZ Baha'i community.

Ms Watson said that although the burdened Iranian Bahá'í community has won many supporters among academics, human rights advocates, religious scholars, Nobel laureates, journalists, and others - both within and outside of Iran – it finds no counterpart in the actions of the Iranian government. “Indeed, the rate at which Bahá'ís are being imprisoned continues to rise, and an historic Bahá’í cemetery in Shiraz is currently being destroyed by the Revolutionary Guards, despite Islamic teachings prohibiting the destruction of graves and the Islamic Penal Code forbidding the exhumation of bodies.”

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