COMMEMORATING THE FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNLAWFUL IMPRISONMENT OF THE IRANIAN BAHA'I LEADERSHIP
(Extensions of Remarks - May 23, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E742]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




COMMEMORATING THE FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNLAWFUL IMPRISONMENT OF 
                     THE IRANIAN BAHA'I LEADERSHIP

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. ELIOT L. ENGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 23, 2013

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my support for the 
Iranian Baha'i community, Iran's largest minority religion, and in 
commemoration of the five year anniversary of the unlawful imprisonment 
of its leadership, known as the Yaran-i-Iran, or ``friends of Iran.''
  In 2008 the Iranian regime arrested seven members of the Yaran-i-Iran 
on several trumped up charges including espionage, propaganda 
activities against the Islamic order, the establishment of an illegal 
administration, cooperating with Israel, sending secret documents 
outside the country, acting against the security of the country, and 
``corruption on earth.'' Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif 
Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid 
Tizfahm were ``tried'' in a series of closed-door sessions from January 
to August 2010, during which they were denied meaningful access to 
their lawyers.
   Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and a member of the group's 
legal team, has said that there is no evidence against them to sustain 
the charges. Nonetheless, all seven were sentenced to 20 years in 
prison--the longest of all prisoners of conscience in Iran. The 
conditions within the prison where they are being held are appalling. 
Their unfortunate circumstance reminds us of the intolerant character 
and brutality of the current Iranian regime, not only towards the 
Baha'i, but also the Iranian population as a whole.
   In conclusion, I want to reiterate my support for the Baha'i 
community in calling for the immediate release of the Yaran-i-Iran 
members, as well as the release of all Iranian prisoners of conscience. 
I will continue to monitor this situation and hold Iran accountable for 
its abuse of its citizens.

                          ____________________