Baha'i and Human Rights
French Bahais fear more hangings in Iran

PARIS, July 28 (Reuters) - French members of the Bahai faith said on Tuesday they feared three more of their co-religionists might be about to be executed in Iran. "After the execution of Tuesday, July 21...we have learned that three other Bahais also held at Mashad prison might undergo the same fate," a statement said. The three were identified as Hamid Nasirizadih, Sirus Zabihi-Muqaddam and Hedayat Kashefi Najafabadi. The Bahai faith is an offshoot of Islam but is considered heresy by Islamic fundamentalists. The French Bahais said last week that Ruhu'llah Rawhani, a 52-year-old father of four had been hanged, charged with converting a Muslim to the Bahai religion. They said it was the first execution of a Bahai by the fundamentalist-ruled Iranian state since 1992. Newspaper reports in France later quoted Iranian television as denying the execution took place but the French Bahais insisted on Tuesday that Rawhani was indeed hanged. "Despite his wife's pleas for more time, the authorities refused to give her more than an hour to bury her husband," the statement said. Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Friday protested against the execution and urged Tehran not to execute the three other Bahais. The United States also condemned the execution saying such human rights violations could affect the prospects for a dialogue between the two nations. The Bahais said that in the Rawhani case, the young woman denied she had been converted since her mother was a Bahai and she was raised in the faith. Bahais abroad have said more than 200 members of their faith have been executed in Iran for their religious beliefs since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The Bahai faith originated in Iran 150 years ago. It claims six million members worldwide, including 3,500 in Iran where it is officially considered "a misleading and wayward sect".

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