Christian Convert Sekineh Behjati Summoned to Serve Her Two Year Sentence

Christian Convert Sekineh Behjati was summoned to appear at Branch 1 of the Public and Revolutionary Court in Tehran within 30 days to serve her two year sentence. She was convicted in August of 2020.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, security forces raided and interrogated Behjati in August of 2020 at her house, accusing her of “propaganda against the regime and assembly and collusion against national security.” They also searched the house and confiscated some of her personal belongings. She was told that she will be indicted soon.

In May of 2020, she was arrested after being summoned by Branch 10 of the Revolutionary Court of Rasht City. On May 14, 2020, she was sent to Lakan Prison after failing to provide a bail of 500 million tomans. Finally, she was released six days later after reducing the bail to 200 million tomans.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces nevertheless harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.
The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

Four Baha’i Citizens Still in Detention and Awaiting Legal Process

Four Baha’i citizens, Natoli Derakhshan, Saba Sefidi, Pari Kargarian Marvasti and Daniel Bani-Nejad, are still in detention and awaiting further legal proceedings. On January 11, Derakhshan and Sefidi were arrested in Sari and Tehran cities, respectively. Marvasti and Bani-Nejad were also arrested last week in Marlik District, located in Tehran Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Sefidi, a resident of Tehran, was arrested after an appearance at Branch 2 of Evin Courthouse. Yesterday, she was allowed to make a phone call to her family. Despite her family’s inquiry, the reason for her arrest and the charges against her are still unknown.

On the same day, Derkhshan, a poet and Baha’i citizen, was arrested by intelligence agents at his home in Sari City.

Last week, security forces arrested Marvasti and Bani-Nejad along with another non-Baha’i citizen at Marvasti’s house. They searched her house and confiscated some of her belonging,  including electronic devices, books and other writings related to the Baha’i faith.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 been systematically violated for years.

The deprivation of the freedom to practice 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Two Baha’i Citizens Sent to Adel-Abad Prison to Serve Their Sentence

On January 23, two Baha’i citizens, Farham Sabet and Farzan Masoomi, both residents of Shiraz City, were sent to Adel-Abad Prison to serve their sentence. Earlier, the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz sentenced each to six years in prison. On appeal, this verdict was reduced to two years for each.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, two Baha’i citizens Farham Sabet and Farzan Masoomi were jailed in Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz City.

They were arrested by security forces in Shiraz in 2016 and after a while, they were released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

In May of 2020, the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, headed by Judge Mahmood Sadati, sentenced each to 6 years on the charges of “propaganda against the regime and membership in one of the anti-regime groups”. This verdict was reduced for each to two years on appeal.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 been systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Anti-Baha’is Workshop Set up By The Regime in Karaj City

Following increasing pressure on Baha’i citizens by security and judicial institutions, the regime ran the second round of a three-day workshop to spread hate against Baha’i citizens. In this workshop, which was organized in Karaj City (the first round was run in Shiraz City) by the Islamic Propagation Office and an institution known as Mofaz, participants are encouraged to design posters with anti-Baha’i contents. This workshop is a blatant example of spreading hate against religious minorities.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Iranian regime held a workshop known as “Moghaddas-Nama” (pseudo-sacred) from January 28 to 30. The workshop is designed to spread posters featuring anti-Baha’i propaganda. The first round of this workshop was held in December of last year.

This workshop, which is financially supported by the regime, aims to induce hatred and violence against religious minorities and Baha’i believers in particular. Participants were incentivized lavishly by rewards to create graphic artworks such as posters featuring anti-Baha’i propaganda. This is while Baha’is are under systematic suppression and deprived of civil rights and freedom of religion. Dozens of Baha’i citizens have been imprisoned due to their faith.

In response to this hate-spreading workshop, the spokesperson for the Baha’i International Community, Padideh Sabeti, stated that:

“Anti-Baha’i propaganda from the regime in the form of a cultural festival, which should show Iranian cultural values and achievements, is deplorable. The Baha’i community is well-known worldwide for its activities for the cause of humanitarian aid. In recent years, Iran’s regime has not bothered to support their accusations against Baha’i people with one single piece of evidence…These lies expose only the liars and merely damage the regime’s credibility both inside Iran and on the international scene. Based on our experience, this propaganda proves the opposite. Having learned about the falsity of these accusations, more and more Iranians show respect to the Baha’i community.”

Regarding these anti-Baha’i workshops, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that it is deplorable that the regime has chosen to induce hatred against religious minorities in society, rather than promote mutual respect and the freedom of expression and religion. Iranian Baha’i citizens have been subjected to oppression and discrimination for decades.

Sunni Prisoner Arkan Palani Jaf Sews Lips Together to Protest Lack of Furlough

Sunni prisoner Arkan Palani Jaf sewed his lips together in protest against the prison’s refusal to grant him furlough after several requests. Jaf has spent more than four  of his seven year sentence without furlough.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a note from this prisoner which has been reached to HRANA, he complained that his request for furlough had been dismissed many times and that his family was rejected and humiliated by prison authorities in Evin Courthouse.

Earlier, on Monday, December 17, 2021,  he went on hunger strike, which ended after a few days.

Jaf was arrested in 2016 and sentenced by the Revolutionary Court to 7 years on the charge of “collaboration with ISIS”. According to an informed source, the security agents wanted to arrest his brother and when they failed, arrested him instead despite having no evidence for his association with ISIS.

Jaf is 28 years old and a resident of Sarpol Zahab City. He is currently jailed in Rajai Shahr Prison.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Now is definitely not the time to stop reading!

Baha’i Citizen Sina Shahri Arrested By Agents of Ministry of Intelligence

Baha’i citizen Sina Shahri, resident of Tabriz, was arrested by intelligence agents and transferred to an unidentified location. Agents arrested him at his home, searched his house and confiscated some of his personal belongings including documents and books about the Baha’i faith.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the reasons for his arrest and his whereabouts are still unknown at the time of writing.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 been systematically violated for years.

The deprivation of the freedom to practice their 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Baha’i Poet Natoli Derakhshan Arrested in Sari City

On January 11, Natoli Derkshan, a poet and Baha’i citizen, was arrested by intelligence agents at his home in Sari City and transferred to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Derkshan has faced other arrests before. The reasons for this arrest, the charges against him and his whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 been systematically violated for years.

The deprivation of the freedom to practice their 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Baha’i Citizen Saba Sefidi Arrested In Tehran

On January 11, Baha’i citizen Saba Sefidi, resident of Tehran, was arrested after an appearance at Branch 2 of Evin Courthouse.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the reason for Sefidi’s arrest and the charges against her are still unknown at the time of writing.

Regarding the prosecution and harassment of Baha’is by Iran’s regime, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and particularly Baha’i citizens, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform religious acts freely.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 been systematically violated for years.

The deprivation of the freedom to practice their 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

Sunni Cleric Arrested By Security Forces in Kamyaran

On December 24, security forces arrested Sunni Cleric Mohammad-Mirza Rahmani in Kamyaran County, Kurdistan Province and transferred him to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Rahmani, a resident of the village Lown-e Sadat, was arrested due to his speech at the funeral of Heydar Ghorbani, a political prisoner who was recently executed in Sanandaj prison.

Despite inquiry from his family, his whereabouts are still unknown at the time of writing.

Two Baha’i Citizens Arrested and Sent to Yazd Prison to Serve Their Sentences

On December 13, Baha’i citizens Mitra Bandi Amir-Abadi and Hiva Yazdan Mehdi-Abadi were arrested at their home by security forces and sent to Yazd Prison to serve their sentences.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Amir-Abadi and Mehdi-Abadi, along with two other Baha’i citizens, had been sentenced by Branch 2 of Yazd’s Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Reza Javad Mousavi. They were sentenced to a combined 13 years and 4 months on the charge of “membership in Baha’i anti-regime groups and propaganda against the regime”. On appeal, they were acquitted from the first charge and the verdict was changed to 8 months imprisonment each.

Amir-Abadi and Mehdi-Abadi were arrested on May 30, 2020, and released on bail after three months of detention. Both women had previously faced other arrests and convictions. In December 2017, Mehdi-Abadi was detained for “teaching music to children” and transferred to Yazd Prison. She was released on bail on December 25 of that year.

Regarding the prosecution and harassment of Baha’is by Iran’s regime, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and particularly Baha’i citizens, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform religious acts freely.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 been systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.