Baha'i-women and their infants must be released!

The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs visits the German Council on Foreign Relations

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) sends an appeal to the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) to try and persuade the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Akbar Salehi, to advocate for the release of two Baha'i-women and their small children. On Monday (February 4, 2013), Ali Akbar Salehi will hold talks at the GDAP in Berlin, focusing on Iran's efforts towards regional peace. "It is a scandal that the DGAP invites representatives of a regime that tramples on human rights and minority rights every day," said the STP's expert on questions regarding the Middle East, Dr. Kamal Sido, in Göttingen on Friday.

"The Iranian authorities don't even spare mothers with small children: Some women are being kept in prison under inhumane conditions for years." Since September 22, 2012, Taraneh Torabi (with her five-months-old son Barman) and Zohreh Nik-Aein (with her ten-months-old son Resam) are imprisoned in the city of Semnan, 220 kilometers to the east from Tehran. Both mothers and their babies were brought to the infamous Semnam prison, where inmates are threatened with torture and sexual abuse.

"The young Baha'i-women didn't do anything wrong. Their only offence is that they are members of the religious community of the Baha'i," says Sido. The two Iranian women merely exercised their right to religious freedom, but were sentenced to 20 and 23 months in prison by a court in Semnan. The state refuses to recognize the Baha'i as a religious community. They are considered to be "Apostates" – as people who abandoned the religious faith of the Islam.

The more than 300,000 Baha'i living in Iran are being systematically persecuted since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005. They are not allowed to visit Universities – their homes and shops are burned down and their cemeteries are desecrated. There are often arbitrary arrests – always following the same charges: "Propaganda" or "agitation" against the Islamic Republic or accusations of spying for Israel.

All non-Persian ethnic groups and non-Shi'a religious communities – the Azeris, Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis and Turkmens – and also the religious minorities of the Baha'i or the Christians are being oppressed and discriminated against in the multiethnic state of Iran.