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Iran Jews Convicted of Spying; Clinton condemns treatment of Jews and Bahá'ís in Iran

Iran Jews Convicted of Spying; Clinton condemns treatment of Jews and Bahá'ís in Iran

New York (July 1, 2000) According to an Associated Press report published this morning in The New York Times, ten Iranian Jews were convicted Saturday of spying for Israel. The leading defense lawyer said they were sentenced to prison terms of four to 13 years. Three others who were similarly accused were acquitted.

Israel denied the accused were its agents, and protested the verdicts and sentences. Relatives of the accused arrived at the courthouse in Shiraz on foot because of the Jewish Sabbath. When they heard the verdict, they howled in anguish. One family member fainted, according to the report.

The White House Office of the Press Secretary released the following statement by President Clinton this morning:

I am deeply disturbed by the verdicts handed down in the trial of the 13 Jewish Iranians accused of espionage. International human rights organizations, the Special Rapporteur on Iran for the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the United States and many other nations have denounced the seriously flawed judicial process by which these sentences were determined. The proceedings have been rightly criticized around the world for their failure to accord due process of law to the defendants.

We have raised our concerns time and again, when the Iranian government has treated intellectuals, journalists, Muslim clerics and members of the Bahá'í
community with the same fundamental unfairness. We are deeply disappointed that the Iranian government has again failed to act as a society based on the rule of law, to which the Iranian people aspire.

We call upon the government of Iran to remedy the failings of these procedures immediately and overturn these unjust sentences. We will continue to engage with other interested governments and organizations as part of our broader concern for the treatment of minority groups and human rights in Iran.

©Copyright 2000, Enlighten

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