Baha’i Citizen Payam Vali Receives One Year in Prison and Other Punishments

Baha'i Citizen Payam Vali Receives One Year in Prison and Other Punishments

Payam Vali, a Baha’i citizen, has been sentenced by the Karaj Revolutionary Court to one year in prison, a two-year travel ban, and a ban on social media use in relation to a case opened against him during his imprisonment. He is currently serving a previous sentence in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj.

Based on a verdict issued on Saturday, June 29, 2024, by Branch 3 of the Karaj Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Narimani, Vali was sentenced to one year in prison, a two-year travel ban, and a ban on social media use for the charge of “propaganda against the regime.”

The hearing for Vali’s charges was held on June 8 this year in the aforementioned branch.

A close associate of Vali told HRANA, “Publishing an open letter from prison was cited as evidence for the charges against him.” In this letter, Vali protested his illegal detention and the charges against him, and copies were sent to several political and judicial leaders of the Islamic Republic.

Vali’s arrest took place on September 24, 2022, when security forces apprehended him at his residence in Karaj and conducted a search of his house. Subsequently, he was detained in Rajai Shahr Prison before being relocated to Ghezel Hesar Prison.

In early February of the same year, Vali was sentenced by Branch 1 of the Alborz Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Seyed Mousa Asef Hosseini, to ten years in prison for “collaborating with hostile governments,” five years for “inciting people to war and killing each other,” one year for “propaganda against the regime,” with credit for time served, and additional punishments including a two-year travel ban post-imprisonment and two years of compulsory residence in Yasuj with weekly reporting to the Revolutionary Court.

Finally, on May 10, 2023, his sentence was reduced by the Alborz Court of Appeals to nine years and nine months in prison. Under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the most severe punishment, six years in prison, will be enforced. Vali’s request for a retrial was denied by the Supreme Court in early January 2024.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both 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.

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