ADL Calls On International Community to Demand Release of Baha'i Leaders

New York, NY, August 11, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the international community to call for the release of seven Baha'i community leaders sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Iranian court. The seven are accused of security violations, espionage and other crimes. Baha'i leaders and human rights activists say the charges are false.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:

These seven individuals are guilty of nothing more than belonging to the Baha'i faith. The international community must make clear that this sentencing is an act of great injustice and a clear violation of the freedom of religion upheld by civilized nations.

The League previously called on world leaders to insist upon the release of the seven in May 2008.

The Baha'i community is the largest religious minority subject to persecution in Iran. The Iranian regime considers the Baha'i heretics, and since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power, the persecution of this largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran has intensified, with members of the Baha'i community enduring harassment, cemetery desecration, property confiscation, physical attacks, arrest and imprisonment.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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