Mahvash Sabet is a member of the Iranian Baha’i Community, imprisoned for her adherence to and participation in the Baha’i Faith. As a member of what has become known as the Yaran, 7 members of a Baha’i community body, she and many other Baha’is have spent years in Tehran’s Evin Prison because she refuses to recant her faith. In this video Bernadette Hall, a New Zealand poet and non-Baha’i, expresses her thoughts and feelings towards Mahvash and the poem she wrote while in prison.
On Tuesday 27th of May 2014, UK faith community leaders came together in an unprecedented gathering at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 6th anniversary of the incarceration of the seven former Bahá’í leaders in Iran known as the Yárán. In a powerful statement of support delivered via video message, which was screened to guests gathered at the Jerusalem Chamber, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra added his voice to those calling for the release of the Yárán
Iraj Kamalabadi speaks about the travails of his sister, a prisoner of conscience now serving a ten year sentence. Mrs. Kamalabadi, a developmental psychologist and mother of three was arrested on trumped-up charges on 14 May 2008. She is living under the most dire of conditions in Gordarasht Prison, west of Tehran. Incarcerated with her are the six other members of the Yaran (meaning “friends”) an ad hoc group of leaders who oversaw the affairs of the Iranian Baha’i community. A massive international outcry for these and other innocents continues to this day.
Dedicated to the many thousands of friends who have suffered systematic persecution, hardship, and even death, at the hands of the current Iranian regime, simply due to the fact that they are Baha’i’s.
This song was inspired by the seven Baha’i leaders currently facing 20 years in prison without trial. They were charged with, among other things, espionage, propaganda against the Islamic republic, the establishment of an illegal administration – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants.
Their crime, though, is nothing more than being members of the Baha’i Faith, a religion which has been the focus of a systematic, government-sponsored persecution in Iran since the 1979 revolution.
The charges against the seven reflects the kinds of false accusations and campaign of misinformation that Iran’s regime has used to vilify and defame Baha’is for decades.
These five men and two women are all members of a national-level group known as the “Yaran-i-Iran” – or “Friends in Iran”.
But, we are not left alone. We have the writings of the Baha’i revelation along with the stories of the lives and deaths of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l Baha and the early brave heroes and brightly burning loving hearts of our new infant faith.
Abdu’l Baha is the fulfillment of the promise, “I am always with you. You hold me by my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23)
released 19 May 2015
“Unless one accepts dire vicissitudes, he will not attain. To me prison is freedom, troubles rest me, death is life, and to be despised is honour. Therefore, I was happy all that time in prison. When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed release, for that is the greater prison. When this release takes place, then one cannot be outwardly imprisoned. When they put my feet in stocks, I would say to the guard, ‘You cannot imprison me, for here I have light and air and bread and water. There will come a time when my body will be in the ground, and I shall have neither light nor air nor food nor water, but even then I shall not be imprisoned.’ The afflictions which come to humanity sometimes tend to centre the consciousness upon the limitations, and this is a veritable prison. Release comes by making of the will a Door through which the confirmations of the Spirit come.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 120)