On Thursday, August 26, Ali Ahmadi, a Baha’i citizen and native of Ghaemshahr, was arrested and transferred to prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ahmadi was sent to Ghaemshahr Prison to endure his one-year prison sentence.
Ali Ahmadi, who suffers from the underlying conditions of diabetes and heart disease, is being forced to serve out this prison sentence during the peak of the coronavirus crisis in Iran.
Mr. Ahmadi had been detained and imprisoned before. He was arrested by security forces and transferred to the Kachuei Detention Center in Sari, in November 2018. He was released on bail in January 2019.
Ghaemshahr Revolutionary Court sentenced Mr. Ahmadi to a total of 11 years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime and the administration of the Baha’i organization”. This sentence was upheld by the appeal court without holding a trial. Eventually, the Supreme Court accepted the request for retrial and sent the case to the Branch 28 of the Mazandaran Court of Appeals, where Mr. Ahmadi’s sentence was reduced to 1 year in prison.
According to unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have beeen systematically violated for years.
This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.