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Iranian Baha’i Leader Released After Completing 10-Year Sentence

Mahvash Sabet before her imprisonment
Mahvash Sabet before her imprisonment

Mahvash Sabet, one of the leaders of Iran’s Baha’i community jailed by authorities, has been released after serving her 10-year-prison sentence.

Sabet, 64, and six other Baha'i leaders were arrested in 2008 and convicted of espionage and spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment.

They were reportedly sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Their sentences were later reduced to 10 years.

“Although the news of the release of Sabet after the completion of her sentence is a welcome development, it does not signal the end of the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran,” Bani Dugal, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in New York, said.

“The reality remains that, after 10 years, Sabet is returning to a Baha’i community under increased pressure in many ways. In addition, Sabet will naturally be awaiting the release of her six colleagues who continue to be unjustly imprisoned,” Dugal added in a statement e-mailed to RFE/RL.

The six remaining Baha’i leaders are also expected to complete their sentences in the coming months.

Baha’is face state persecution in Iran where their faith is not recognized in the country’s constitution.

Asma Jahangir (eds: a woman), the UN special rapporteur for Iran, said in a March report that members of the Baha’i community in Iran "continue to be systematically discriminated, targeted, and deprived them of the right to a livelihood."