National Spiritual Assembley
of the
Bahá'ís of the United States

1320 Nineteenth St., N.W., Suite 701
Washington, D.C. 20036-1610
(202) 833-8990 Fax: (202) 833-8988
Office of the Secretary for External Affairs

January 31, 1997

Death Sentences Against Two Bahá'ís Confirmed by Iran's Supreme Court

The death sentences pronounced last year against Mr. Zabihullah Mahrami and Mr. Musa Talibi were recently confirmed by the Supreme Court of Iran. Both men had appealed their sentences after they were sentenced to death for apostasy in separate proceedings before Revolutionary Courts. In January 1996, the Supreme Court had rejected the Revolutionary Court's verdict in Mr. Mahrami's case and referred it to a civil court.

The American Bahá'í community urges the U.S. Government to protest vigorously against these unjust sentences. We are concerned that these two men could be executed suddenly and secretly.

On February 15 and September 30, 1996, the State Department Spokesman issued strong statements condemning the convictions and death sentences of both Messrs. Mahrami and Talibi and urging the Government of Iran to cease its persecution of the Bahá'ís and other religious minorities.

Confirmation of the death sentences for apostasy holds chilling implications for Christians who have converted from Islam.

Relatives of the tow men received word of the conformation of the death sentences during prison visits. It has been the Iranian Government's practice to convey verdicts orally to prisoners and not to give copies of the texts of court decisions.

Authorities have moved both men to prisons whose notoriety increases concern about their situation. Mr. Talibi has been transferred from a prison in Isfahan to the Evin Prison in Tehran, site of many executions. Mr. Mahrami has been moved within Yazd from a prison of the Revolutionary Court to one of the Security and Information Department.