Baha'is of Kansas City hold Interfaith Prayer Vigil Wednesday, February 18, 2009 for Seven Imprisoned in Iran

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The Baha'i Faith of Kansas City held an interfaith prayer meeting Wednesday, February 18, 2009 seeking defense for imprisoned group "The Friends in Iran" who are victims of State sanctioned human rights violations and policy of persecution by the Iranian government against the Baha'i Faith, despite Iran being a signatory of the Human Rights convention.

The 7 Baha'is imprisoned in Iran

Seven Baha'i's in Iran face removal of their human rights and denial of justice under false charges. The Baha'is of Kansas City under the auspice of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Kansas City, (LSAKCMO) held an interfaith prayer meeting Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 7:00 pm, at the Kansas City Baha'i Center, 6515 Independence Avenue, Kansas City Missouri 64125 for the safety and release of the seven imprisoned by the government of Iran. Members of the Budhist, Seikh and Christian Faiths were present in addition to over 300 Baha'is. Readings of tolerance were read from the Bible, the Budhist Scriptures, Zoroastrian Writings, The Koran, and the Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah.

According to Dana Farrar, the Regional Baha'i Council for the Central States representative for the Kansas City area, it has recently been learned that the seven Baha'is are to stand trial on charges of espionage some time during the week of February 15 through 20 at an unknown location in Iran without benefit of legal counsel. See http://iran.bahai.us/ for the latest known information concerning these seven imprisoned members of the Baha'i Faith.

Under direct requests from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States (http://www.us.bahai.org) the office of the Public Information Officer, Matthew Reinschmidt, submits the following details surrounding the case of ongoing human rights abuses by the Government of Iran towards seven members of the ad-hoc group "The Friends in Iran" who can no longer advocate for themselves due to the denial of due process or representation by the Government of Iran. Iran has formally charged these seven people with espionage; however as the following statements show, the rest of the world does not agree:

The State Department of the United States of America, Robert Wood, Acting Department Spokesman via the current statement found here: 2009 US State Department Baha'i Persecution in Iran

And the United States House of Representatives, Rep. Mark Kirk [R-IL] via the recent resolution found here: 2009 House Resolution 1008

Both condemn the recent actions by Iran against these seven members of the Baha'i Faith.

It is due to grave concern over the safety of, and justice for these seven members of the Baha'i Faith by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and the Regional Baha'i Council for the Central States that this press release is being submitted.

According to the United Nations resolution in 2007
UN Resolution Condemns Iranian Human Rights Abuses
and 2009 H Res 175 by Mark Kirk (R-IL) 2009 H Res 175.

Since 1979 over 200 known instances of disappearance and/or execution have been committed against Baha'is in Iran with no chance for any defense nor any legal representation being allowed and for charges ranging from espionage to teaching children's classes to being Baha'i.

Iran is a signatory of the Human Rights Convention and as such is bound to act in accordance with the principles contained therein which preclude religious persecution.

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Albert Matthews
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