Mr. Speaker, four years ago today, seven Baha’i leaders in Iran were abruptly taken out of their homes and arrested. In a flagrant violation of international law, the prisoners were held for 20 months without any charges being laid. Some were placed in solitary confinement for months. They were finally given an inhumane sentence of 20 years in prison for espionage.
However, we all know that these seven innocent Iranians were arrested for nothing else than for being members of the Baha’i faith.
Baha’is in Iran have suffered a systematic relentless campaign of persecution. Over 200 Baha’is have been killed, hundreds more imprisoned and the Baha’is in Iran face social, economic and cultural restrictions. Iranian authorities continue to undermine the rights of freedom of religion through the persistent and pervasive persecution of religious minorities, such as Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Sufis and Sunni Muslims.
Members from all sides of the House will come together this evening to participate in an important and timely debate on the human rights situation in Iran. We continue to urge Iran to uphold its international obligations to allow for freedom of religion and to respect the fundamental rights for all of its people.