Aseer Women & Men of Iran: Baha'i Leaders


by bordbar

14 May 2011 will mark the completion of the third year of the imprisonment of the former Yaran, group of seven Baha'i leaders who were responsible for the spiritual welfare of the 300,000 strong Baha'i community of Iran. According to their lawyer, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, they are innocent of the charges against them, and have been imprisoned solely because of their religious beliefs.

The appeal court exonerated the seven Baha'is, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm of the charges of spying, collaborating with the State of Israel and providing classified documents to foreigners. Their sentences were hence reduced to ten years, but the initial twenty-year sentence was unjustifiably reinstated by elements dedicated to snuff out any glimmer of justice.

The prisoners were moved inside the notorious Gohardasht prison to cells of greater hardship and deprivation, a measure adopted to add to the ordeal of many recently arrested Iranians.

In the entrails of Gohardasht, the seven Baha'is have found themselves in the company of the country's downtrodden; in some instances, addicts and prostitutes who themselves have fallen prey to abuse and neglect.

In addition to these Baha’i prisoners, there are currently 65 other Baha’is in prison also because of their Baha’i beliefs. Another 145 are out on bail awaiting trial, and 28 Baha’is have completed their prison sentences with 5 Baha’is beginning periods of government imposed exile.

Mahvash Sabet, one of the seven imprisoned Baha'is, has captured her reflections on her new prison mates in verse. In her poesy, she speaks of feet and veins, lashed and left to bleed; and yet, she epitomizes hope for her land and its peoples in lines where she becomes one with all the aseers, captives, around her:

I sprinkle fragrant rhyme

on stale prison naan...

I dab dazed yellow faces

with hue shimmering with light...

I sit silently

as if

on my shoulders


all the aseer women's


See // for further information on the ongoing persecution of the members of the Baha'i community of Iran.


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