Bahai News - IRAN REJECTS REPORTS OF RELIGIOUS PROSECUTIONS
BBC MONITORING INTERNATIONAL REPORTS:

IRAN REJECTS REPORTS OF RELIGIOUS PROSECUTIONS

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom, Feb 14, 2000, 201 words

An Iranian judicial official on Monday denied reports that three members of the Bahai faith had been sentenced to death because of their religious beliefs, Iranian TV reported.

Judicial Authority spokesman Nur Mohammad Sabeqi was quoted as saying that the "three individuals are charged with taking action against the country's security, and there is no question what-so-ever of prosecuting them for their belief".

"In accordance with our Shari'ah and legal regulations, we believe that no-one should be punished purely for his belief, let alone condemning someone to such a heavy punishment as death," he said.

Sabeqi also reiterated Iranian denials that the three had been given the death sentence.

"A death sentence was issued at first, but the State Supreme Court of Justice overruled the verdict and returned the file to the court. The court again criticized the file and passed it to another branch of the same legal status. But this branch refused to investigate the file. At any rate, no new verdict has been issued over the past few months," he said.

Another judicial official said on Sunday, after US President Bill Clinton had urged Tehran not to execute the three men, that they had not been sentenced to death and "expressed surprise" at the US president's concern.

Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 14 Feb 00


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