Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The European Union Urges Iran to Free Baha'is

In reaction to the current developments in Iran and the impending trial of the seven Baha'i leaders accused of espionage, the European Union has just released a declaration by its presidency expressing deep concern for these grave accusations.

One must recognize that this declaration is highly significant and is in conformity with the outrage expressed globally at the extreme and utterly unjustified measures taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran against one of its most respected and largest religious minorities.

The declaration reads as follows:

COUNCIL OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION

Brussels, 17 February 2009
6567/09 (Presse 42)
P 24

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union
on the trial with seven Baha'i leaders in Iran

The EU expresses its deep concern at the grave charges raised against seven Baha’i leaders in Iran. They have been detained by the Iranian authorities for eight months without charge, during which time they have not had access to legal representation.

The EU is concerned that, after being held for so long without due process, the Baha’i leaders may not receive a fair trial. The EU therefore requests the Islamic Republic of Iran to allow independent observation of the judicial proceedings and to reconsider the charges brought against these individuals.

The EU wishes to express its firm opposition to all forms of discrimination and oppression, in particular on the basis of religious practice. In this context, the EU urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect and protect religious minorities in Iran and free all prisoners held due of their faith or religious practice.
__________________________________________________________________

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process."

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