Iran Must Cease its Intimidation, Ill Treatment of Baha'i Mothers and Infants
Photo Credit | screen grab of Zahra Nik-A’in from video by user BICUN Office posted on YouTube
Freedom House condemns Iran's imprisonment of mothers and their infant children for following the Baha’i religion and is troubled to learn that two of the women and their children fell ill and were transferred to a hospital to receive medical treatment. The Iranian government must ensure that these patients receive proper medical treatment. Freedom House calls on the government to immediately end its inhumane imprisonment of these women and children and end its persecution of religious minorities.
Baha’i women Zahra Nik-A’in and Taraneh Torabi were sentenced to 20 and 23 months of prison respectively on trumped-up charges of "setting up and running an illegal group," and began serving their sentences in July 2012, confined in the prison with their infant children. A third Baha'i woman, Mona Majidi, was sentenced to six months in prison in December 2012, confined with her infant child in Semnan Prison.
"It is heartbreaking to learn that mothers and infant children are suffering simply for holding religious beliefs that Iran's leaders feels threatened by," said Robert Herman, vice president for regional programs at Freedom House. "The Baha'is believe in peace, unity and obedience to their government. The regime has no justification for fearing the Baha’is, especially not innocent mothers and children."
Iran is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012 and Freedom on the Net 2012. Religious minorities, including Baha’is, face government hostility and persecution in Iran. Withholding medical care and exposing detainees to perilous prison conditions is a deplorable intimidation tactic often used by the government against religious minorities, human rights activists and other targeted groups, and is in direct violation of international law.
“This latest example of abuses against society's vulnerable populations demonstrates a new low of impunity that crosses a line the U.S. government and international community cannot ignore,” Herman added.
Freedom in the World 2012: Iran
Freedom of the Press 2012: Iran
Freedom on the Net 2012: Iran
Countries at the Crossroads 2012: Iran
Blog: From Bad to Worse: The Human Rights Situation in Iran