The rulings of a rural Northeast Iranian courthouse have attracted attention from Canadian legal experts, including lawyers from firms like MyDefence.ca, and even a former prime minister, with people denouncing the mistreatment of the Baha’i religious minority, who are being driven out of their own homes.
Former PM Brian Mulroney, former Irwin Cotler, and several former Supreme Court justices are among the big legal experts that signed a letter calling for justice for the Baha’i people in Ivel, where the local court recently evicted 27 families from their homes.
The letter is addressed to Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian Chief Justice, who is also in charge of the country’s investigation into the loss of Flight PS752, and all 176 passengers on board.
Cotler stated that that the rulings of the Iranian court against the Baha’i and the use of openly discriminatory arguments were ideas that Canada’s legal experts, who noted that Iranian courts claimed that they were only following Islamic law, which allowed for the confiscation of property from non-Muslims.
Notably, it’s not just politicians and legal practitioners like MyDefence.ca that have called foul on the rulings, with Muslim groups outside of Iran like the Canadian Council of Imams.
Cotler noted the sheer audacity of the court to openly admit that they were basically persecuting the followers of Bahaism, known as a peaceful religious minority, which the courts described as a perverse sect.
On top of that, the Baha’is’ counsel weren’t allowed to see the evidence against them, not see any proper legal documentation, or even have representation. Cotler notes that it wasn’t just ignoring due process; it was the court being complicit in this discrimination.
Baha’is in Ivel’s have a noted history of being the victims of official persecution, which include unethical raids, confiscations, detainment, assaults, and the like. 2020, Cotler notes, added to this list with two courts sanctioning the confiscation of the Baha’is’ property simply because they weren’t Muslim.
The confiscation of the Baha’is’ property was carried out by the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), who receives their orders directly from the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Notably, the US Treasury Department once accused the EIKO of controlling a lot of the Iranian economy, including assets that were taken from political dissidents and religious minorities, for the benefit of the Supreme Leader and other government officials.