Bahai citizen Payam Vali has been sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison by the Alborz Court of Appeals, with six years to be served. Previously, he had received a 16-year prison sentence.
The verdict, issued on May 10, 2023, states that Vali was given six years for “collaboration with adversary countries,” three years and one month for “inciting people to commit violence,” and eight months for “propaganda against the regime.” The first count carries an enforceable six-year prison term under Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code.
Initially, in February 2023, Vali had been sentenced to ten, five, and one-year terms for the aforementioned charges, respectively.
On September 24, 2022, security forces arrested Vali at his house in Karaj, searched the house, and detained him in Rajai Shahr Prison.
According to HRANA annual report, from the full human rights reports regarding the violation of religious minorities’ rights, 64.63% belonged to the violation of the rights of Baha’is.
According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian Constitution recognizes only Islam as the official religion, in addition to Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Bahai faith is not considered legitimate by the authorities, and the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.
Freedom of religion is a breach 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 practice religion freely, freedom of converting to a religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.