Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Iran Sentences Baha'is to Prison

From the Washington Post

The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 29, 2008; 11:27 PM

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran on Tuesday said more than 50 followers of the minority Baha'i faith were convicted of distributing propaganda against the country's Islamic regime, state media reported.

Ali Reza Jamshidi, Iran's judiciary spokesman, said three people, who were in custody in southern city of Shiraz, were sentenced to four years in prison. Another 51 Baha'i followers were given one-year suspended prison terms, Jamshidi said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Last year, Baha'i communities abroad had reported that a group of followers were detained in Shiraz, located about 550 miles south of Tehran, while helping poor communities there.

Iran had been the cradle of the Baha'i faith in the middle of the 19th century. But the faith was banned after the 1979 Islamic revolution, and it is not recognized in the Iranian constitution as a religious minority.

The Baha'i faith was founded in the 1860s by a Persian nobleman, Baha'u'llah, who claimed to be a new prophet in the series of prophets that included Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Islam considers Muhammad to be the last of the prophets.

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