United Nations again expresses concern over human rights in Iran; a Baha'i prisoner dies of unknown causes.UNITED NATIONS -- For the 18th time since 1985, the United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution expressing "serious concern" over the human rights situation in Iran, also making specific mention of the ongoing persecution of the Baha'i community there.
The resolution passed on 16 December 2005, a few days before news emerged from Iran that a Baha'i who had been wrongly jailed for 10 years died of unknown causes in his prison cell.
Mr. Dhabihu'llah Mahrami Dhabihu'llah Mahrami (b. 1946 - d. 15 December, 2005) (also Zabihullah Mahrami) was an Iranian Bahá'í who was charged with apostasy from Islam and jailed in Iran. After 10 years in prison he was found dead in his cell.
Mr. , 59, was held in a government prison in Yazd under harsh physical conditions at the time of his death, which occurred on 15 December 2005 and became known on 19 December 2005.
Mr. Mahrami's death comes amidst ominous signs that a new wave of persecutions of Baha'is has begun. This year so far, at least 59 Baha'is have been arrested, detained or imprisoned im·pris·on
tr.v. im·pris·oned, im·pris·on·ing, im·pris·ons
To put in or as if in prison; confine.
[Middle English emprisonen, from Old French emprisoner : en- , a figure up sharply from the last several years.
As well, Baha'i students continue to be deprived of access to higher education--a fact which has begun to draw the notice of educators around the world. In December, for example, some 15 top French academics published a letter in Le Monde n. 1. The world; a globe as an ensign of royalty.
Le beau monde
fashionable society. See Beau monde.
See Demimonde. expressing concern about Iran's Baha'i youth.
The UN resolution, which had been put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by 46 countries including Australia, the European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community , and the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , passed by a vote of 75 to 50. It took note of the increasing arrests and other forms of discrimination against Iranian Baha'is--including the denial of access to higher education higher education
Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. .
Specifically, the resolution noted the "escalation and increased frequency of discrimination and other human rights violations against the Baha'i[s], including cases of arbitrary arrest and detention Arbitrary arrest and detention, or (AAD), is the arrest and detention of an individual in a case in which there is no likelihood or evidence that he or she committed a crime against legal statute, or in which there has been no proper due process of law. , the denial of freedom of religion or of publicly carrying out communal affairs, the disregard of property rights, the destruction of sites of religious importance, the suspension of social, educational and community-related activities and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, adequate housing and other benefits...."
Among other things, the UN General Assembly called on Iran to "eliminate, in law or in practice, all forms of discrimination based on religious, ethnic or linguistic grounds, and other human rights violations against minorities, including Arabs, Kurds, Baluchi, Christians, Jews, Sunni Muslims and the Baha'i[s]...."
The resolution also encourages various agencies of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights The United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations. It was a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and was also assisted in its work by the Office of the United to continue to work to improve the human rights situation in Iran, and at the same time it calls on the government of Iran to cooperate with these agencies.
Ms. Bani Dugal, principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations, said the worldwide Baha'i community is thankful for the support of the international community in expressing its concem about human rights in Iran Today, the state of human rights in Iran continues to be generally considered a source of significant concern. Despite many efforts by Iranian human right activists, writers, NGOs and international critiques as well as several resolutions by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human .
"It has been a year when human rights violations against Baha'is and other groups in Iran have strikingly worsened, and the scrutiny and support of the international community remains virtually the only tool for the protection of innocent people in Iran," said Ms. Dugal.
"A very difficult year ..."
"For Baha'is, who are persecuted solely for their religious beliefs, it has been a very difficult year in Iran," added Ms. Dugal.
"The worldwide Baha'i community mourns deeply the passing of Mr. Mahrami, who was unjustly held for a decade on trumped-up charges that manifestly violated his right to freedom of religion and belief," said Ms. Dugal.
Arrested in 1995 in Yazd on charges of apostasy apostasy, in religion: see heresy.
See also Sacrilege.
Aholah and Aholibah
symbolize Samaria’s and Jerusalem’s abandonment to idols. [O.T. , Mr. Mahrami was initially sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted
to life imprisonment Imprisonment
See also Isolation.
former federal maximum security penitentiary, near San Francisco; “escapeproof.” [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 218]
German prison ship in World War II. [Br. Hist. after an international outcry and widespread media attention.
"While the cause of his death is not known, Mr. Mahrami had no known health concerns," said Ms. Dugal.
"We also know that Mr. Mahrami was forced to perform arduous physical labor and that he had received death threats on a number of occasions.
"In this light, there should be no doubt that the Iranian authorities bear manifest responsibility for the death of this innocent man, whose only crime was his belief in the Baha'i Faith," said Ms. Dugal.
Born in 1946, Mr. Mahrami served in the civil service but at the time of his arrest was making a living installing venetian blinds, having been summarily fired from his job like thousands of other Baha'is in the years following the 1979 Iranian revolution This article is about the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. For the political movement in Iran 13 years prior, see White Revolution.
The Iranian Revolution (also known as the Islamic Revolution, .
Although Iranian officials his is a list of Iranian officials with their titles, last checked and updated on September 28, 2005. For a list of ministers suggested to the parliament by President Ahmadinejad, see the presidency section in Ahmadinejad's biography. have asserted that Mr. Mahrami was guilty of spying for Israel, court records clearly indicate that he was tried and sentenced solely on the charge of being an "apostate," a crime which is punishable by death under traditional Islamic law.
Although Mr. Mahrami was a lifelong Baha'i, the apostasy charge apparently came about because a civil service colleague, in an effort to prevent Mr. Mahrami from losing his job, submitted to a newspaper an article stating that he had converted to Islam.
When it later became clear to Iranian authorities that Mr. Mahrami remained a member of the Baha'i community, they arrested him and charged him with apostasy for allegedly converting from Islam to the Baha'i Faith. On 2 January 1996, he was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court, a conviction that was later upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court.
The death sentence against Mr. Mahrami stirred an international outcry. The European Parliament, for example, passed a resolution on human rights abuses in Iran, making reference to Mr. Mahrami's case. The governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States also registered objections.
There was also significant media coverage of the case, in Le Monde and Liberation in France, as well as reports by the BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. , Reuters, and Agence France Presse.
Although the authorities did not publicly bow to international pressure calling for Mr. Mahrami's release, in December 1999 they took the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad to declare an amnesty and commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.
Regarding the increase in arrests, Ms. Dugal said that the majority of those Baha'is who have been arrested have been released, apparently part of a campaign of "revolving door" arrests designed to intimidate Iranian Baha'is. As of this writing, two Baha'is remain in prison in Iran.
Ms. Dugal said that Baha'is also face a wide and growing range of severely oppressive measures, including continued restrictions on religious assembly, the confiscation confiscation
In law, the act of seizing property without compensation and submitting it to the public treasury. Illegal items such as narcotics or firearms, or profits from the sale of illegal items, may be confiscated by the police. Additionally, government action (e.g. and destruction of holy sites, and various economic restrictions. Appeal by Nobel laureates
On 14 December 2005, 15 top French intellectuals and scientists--including three Nobel prize Nobel Prize, award given for outstanding achievement in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, peace, or literature. The awards were established by the will of Alfred Nobel, who left a fund to provide annual prizes in the five areas listed above. winners--published an open letter in the French newspaper Le Monde calling on the Iranian government to open the doors of its universities to Baha'is.
"Every human has a right to know, no matter his origins," they wrote. "We support these youth who thirst for knowledge Noun 1. thirst for knowledge - curiosity that motivates investigation and study
desire to know, lust for learning
curiosity, wonder - a state in which you want to learn more about something . We are asking the Iranian government to welcome, in every university of the country, all the youth who have successfully passed the entrance exam, without exception--so that the cultural cleansing may finally stop."
The letter was signed by, among others, Rosine Haguenauer, director of research at CNRS CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research, France)
CNRS Centro Nacional de Referencia Para El Sida (Argentinean National Reference Center for Aids) [National Center of Scientific Research] in biology; Professor Jean-Pierre Vernant, historian, professor at College au France; Pascal Lederer, director of research at CNRS, physicist; Professor Pierre Gilles De Gennes, professor at College de France, Nobel Prize in physics The Nobel Prize in Physics (Swedish: Nobelpriset i fysik) is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the six Nobel Prizes. The first prize was awarded in 1901. ; Miguel Angel Estrella, pianist, ambassador to UNESCO UNESCO: see United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
in full United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ; Professor Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, professor at College au France, Nobel Prize in physics; and Professor Francois Jacob, professor at College au France, Nobel Prize in medicine.
Just three days before it is learned that an innocent Baha'i died of unknown causes in an Iranian prison cell, the United Nations passes its 18th resolution expressing concern over human rights in Iran.