Iran court opens trial of Baha’is on spy charges

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Seven members of Iran’s Baha’i minority have gone on trial, accused of spying and acting against the country’s national security.

The state TV Web site says the Baha’is have also been charged with cooperating with archenemy Israel and gathering classified documents. They were arrested in 2008.

The charges against them also include “corruption on earth” — an Islamic term for crimes punishable with the death sentence in Iran.

State IRNA news agency said the first hearing was held Tuesday and that the trial would continue.

The Islamic minority are followers of a faith founded in 19th century. It has been illegal since the 1979, when Islamic clerics came to power in Iran.