Thursday, July 23, 1998: The Culture Channel Bahai Executed in Iran
TORONTO (UPI) - The Bahai community in North America says Iran has executed a member of the faith in the holy city of Mashad in eastern Iran.
Ruhollah Rowhani, a 52-year-old medical supplies salesman and father of four, was reportedly executed Tuesday, 10 months after being arrested and charged with converting a Muslim woman to the Bahai faith.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais says Rowhani denied the charges but was kept in solitary confinement in a prison in Mashad, 500 miles (800 km) east of Tehran.
Bahai sources say there is no evidence he was accorded legal process or access to a lawyer, and was executed without a sentence being announced.
The woman he was accused of converting to the Bahai faith refuted the accusation, saying she had been raised as a Bahai. She was not arrested.
On Monday officials from the Iranian Intelligence Office informed Rowhani's family that he was to be executed. The next day the family was called to pick up the body.
Rope marks on his neck showed he had been hanged.
Iran has said nothing about the execution.
Rowhani became the first Bahai to be executed in Iran since March 1992. Another 15 Bahais are in Iranian prisons, four of them on death row.
The Bahai community was the largest religious minority in Iran at the time of the 1979 revolution, with a membership of 300,000.
Since the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in Iran, after toppling the Shah, the Bahai faith has not been officially recognized in the country, and more than 200 Bahais have been executed.
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