Iran Offers No Mercy to Bahai's
September 30 1998
Iran Offers No Mercy to Baha'i ' Heretics'
LESS than a week after the breakthrough on Salman Rushdie, Iran's
relations with the West are set to be strained by reports that an
Iranian court has confirmed the death sentence on two followers of the
Baha'i faith There was widespread condemnation of Iran in July when a
Baha'i was hanged for allegedly converting a Muslim woman. Ruhollah
Rowhani, a 52-year-old father of four, was the first Baha'i to be
executed in six years and his death raised fears of a new crackdown on
Iran's 300,000 Baha'is who are officially discriminated against as
heretics. At the time, Mary Robinson, the most senior United Nations
human rights official, appealed to Iran not to execute three other
Baha'is who had also reportedly been sentenced to death. After a
re-trial, judges on Monday upheld the death sentences against two of
them. Each had a "short time to appeal".
Diplomats said the draconian measures could be an attempt by Iranian
hard-liners to embarrass President Khatami, who used the UN General
Assembly last week to promote an image of a new Iran that was
freedom-loving and committed to a dialogue between civilizations.
©Copyright 1998, London Times
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