Background Iran's seven Baha'i leaders are serving 20-year prison sentences solely on the base of their faith. The two women and five men formed the national leadership of the Baha’i community in Iran, known as ‘Yaran’ or ‘friends,' and tended to the spiritual needs of Iran's largest religious minority. The Baha'i community faces systematic discrimination by Iran’s government, including denial of education and government jobs, home raids, arbitrary detention, and cemetery desecration. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran has noted that the Government's tolerance of an intensive defamation campaign meant to incite discrimination and hate against Baha'is violates its obligations as set out in article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The seven leaders' initial sentence of 20 years imprisonment was met with outrage all over the world. One month later, the appeals court reduced their sentence to 10-year jail terms, but their original 20-year sentences were reinstated in March 2011.
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