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SCIRF Condemns Sentencing of 2 Iranian Baha’i Women

FILE - Relatives of Baha'i prisoners in Iran tell their stories before The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in Washington on Feb. 9, 2011.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has condemned the 10-year prison sentences given two Baha’i women in Iran.

Both women, 69-year-old Mahvash Sabet and 60-year-old Fariba Kamalabadi, had already served 10-year sentences between 2008 and 2018, along with five other members of Iran’s Baha’i community. The commission says the arrests of the seven stemmed from the women’s “social and spiritual work in the Iranian Baha’i community.”

Sharon Kleinbaum, U.S. commissioner for international religious freedom, said, “The Iranian government’s relentless persecution of Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamalabadi is the latest in the government’s decadeslong campaign against Baha’i religious freedom.”

“The Iranian government is targeting the women of the Baha’i community,” Kleinbaum said, “as part of a larger attack on the religious freedom of Iranian women by trying to frustrate and control the demands of the Iranian people for freedom.”

She also called on the U.S. government to support the efforts of Iranians fighting for greater religious freedoms and other rights.

Kleinbaum said the U.S. “should leverage the full force of its economic power against Iranian officials complicit in egregious religious freedom violations and continue to support the efforts of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran to document and investigate Iran’s gross violations of human rights against those who peacefully assert their freedom of religion or belief.”


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