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February 4, 2010 (El Cajon)—On February 7, East County Bahá’í members will join supporters around the globe in offering prayers for Baha’i leaders in Iran, known as the “Yaran,” who have been held in prison for nearly two years for their religious beliefs.


The gathering will be held at 1:30 pm at the Rancho San Diego Branch Library, 11555 Via Rancho San Diego, in El Cajon. Relatives of Mrs. Kamalabadi, one of the prisoners, will be present for comment. The Baha’i community asks people of all faiths to “join in prayers and show their support for religious freedom.”

After being held without formal arraignment since early 2008, the seven were formally charged at their first court appearance on January 12 in Tehran. Charges include: espionage for the benefit of foreigners, spreading anti-government propaganda, organizing and propagating an illegal administration, collaboration with Israel, conspiracy to undermine the internal and external security of Iran and to tarnish its reputation in the international arena, and spreading corruption on earth. These charges carry the death penalty in Iran. The seven defendants categorically denied all accusations. The second session of their trial will be held on February 7.

“The use of coerced 'confessions' and the denial of adequate legal representation reflect the Iranian authorities' growing assault on human rights," said Bani Dugal, principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations. Jailed Baha’i leaders were denied due process and visits with family, the organization has charged. For more details on the case from Baha’i News Service, see http://news.bahai.org/story/753.

The Bahá’í International Community holds “consultative status” with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and with UNICEF. The Bahá’í International Community is represented at international conferences that seek global solutions to the urgent and complex problems of humanity, including human rights. Since its beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the Bahá’í Faith has worked for the elimination of all forms of prejudice and discrimination.

In accordance with the basic tenets of their Faith, Bahá’ís believe that human rights are God-given rights, and that mankind must, in the words of founder Bahá’u’lláh, come to “regard humanity as a single individual…if pain or injury afflicts any member of that body, it must inevitably result in suffering for all the rest.”

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