Ali Ahmadi, a Baha’i citizen, Was Sentenced to 11 Years Imprisonment

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

On December 2, 2019, Ali Ahmadi, a Baha’i citizen, was sentenced to an 11-year prison term by Qaemshahr Revolutionary Court.

On November 20, 2018 he was arrested by security forces. He was transferred to solidarity confinement at Kachoui Detention Center in Sari. On January 2, 2019, after 43 days of imprisonment, he was temporarily released on 150 million Tomans bail. He was charged with “propaganda against the state”. He has been arrested at least five times during last 10 years.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

11 Baha’is were arrested in Isfahan and Omidiyeh

Posted on: December 2nd, 2019

Soroush Azadi is the tenth Baha’i citizen who was arrested in November 2019 by security forces in Baharestan in Isfahan. He was arrested on November 30, 2019. His whereabouts is still unknown. On the same day, two Baha’i citizens, Bardia Farzaneh and his uncle, Esmail Farzaneh, were arrested at their homes in Omidiyeh in Khuzestan. They were transferred to an unknown place. Their houses were searches and their belongings were confiscated.

Moreover, on November 29, 2019, nine other Baha’i residents of Baharestan in Isfahan were arrested and their houses were searched and their belongings were confiscated. They were identified as following:

Shahab Ferdosian, Nasim Jaberi, Mehran Allahverdi, Shahbaz Bashi, Vahideh Niazmand, Naser Lotfi, Ghodus Lotfi, Saghar Manouchehrzadeh, and Homa Manouchehrzadeh

Additionally, earlier on November 16, Nasr Rajab, Baha’i resident of Karaj, was arrested and his house was searched and his cell phone and Identification card were confiscated.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Seven Baha’is Were Sentenced to 21 Years Imprisonment in Bushehr

Posted on: November 25th, 2019

Bushehr Appellate Court upheld sentences of seven Baha’i citizens. On May 5, 2019, they were sentenced to 21 years imprisonment, compiled, by the Bushehr Revolutionary Court. Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi, Farokhlegha Faramarzi, and Pooneh Nasheri were each sentenced to three years imprisonment.

They were arrested on February 13, 2018 by the security forces. Their houses were searched and their personal belongings such as laptops, books, flash memories, external hard drives, and family albums were confiscated. On March 6, 2018, Pooneh Nasheri and Emad Jaberi were temporarily released on 250 million Tomans bail. Subsequently, Mino Riazati, Asadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheykhi, Farideh Jaberi, and Farokhlegha Faramarzi, were released on 250 million Tomans bail on March 13, 2018.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Three Baha’is were sentenced to 23 years imprisonment

Posted on: November 15th, 2019

Behnam Eskandari, Yalda Firouzian, and Ardeshir Fanaiyan, three Baha’i citizens residing in Semnan, were sentenced to 23 years in prison and live in exile.

They were arrested on April 30, 2019 by the security forces, their personal belongings were confiscated, and they were transferred to Semnan Prison. The Revolutionary Court of Semnan put hold on their temporary releases. They are banned from having any visitor and contact with outside of prison. Behnam Eskandari was under pressure in the course of his interrogation for forced confession. He was resilient and was transferred to the quarantine ward where he was beaten by two other prisoners.

According to the verdict issued by the Semnan Revolutionary Court headed by judge Mohammad Ali Rostami, Ardeshir Fanaiyan was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and one year live in exile in Khash on the charge of “cooperation in establishing an illegal group inside the country with the aim of acting against the national security”. Yalda Firouzian and Behnam Eskandarian were sentenced to five years imprisonment and two years ban from living in Semnan, each on the charge of “membership in establishing an illegal group inside the country with the aim of acting against national security”. Also, each of them were sentenced to a one-year prison term for the charge of “cooperation in acting against national security in favor of opposition groups”. Based on the Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, the charge with the highest penalty will be considered; this means that Ardeshir Fanaiyan should spend 10 years in prison, Yalda Firouzian, and Behnam Eskandaian should spend five years in prison, each.

Ardeshir Fanaiyan’s first arrest was on January 8, 2019 and was sentenced to an eight-month prison term. Although the law of arresting the eligible ones for military service has been cancelled.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Three Baha’is Were Arrested in Shiraz

Posted on: October 21st, 2019

On October 21, 2019, three Baha’i citizens were arrested in Shiraz while their houses and several other Baha’i houses were searched and their personal belongings such as laptops, cell phones, and computers were confiscated. Farzan Masoumi, Kiana Shoaei, and Soroush Abadi were arrested by the Intelligence Department officers and were transferred to an undisclosed location. The identities of the other Baha’i citizens whose houses were searched are still unknown.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Three Baha’is Were Sentenced to Three Years Imprisonment

Posted on: October 12th, 2019

Three Baha’i residents of Abadan and Ahvaz, Neda Sabeti (Azadi), Forough Farzaneh, and Noushin Afshar were each sentenced to a one-year prison term for the charge of “propaganda against the state” by the Revolutionary Court of Abadan.  On May 6, 2019, they were arrested at their houses and were transferred to Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz on May 30, 2019.

A closed source told HRANA that their case was opened by the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and during their interrogations, they were under pressure for forced confession. On May 6, 2019, they were arrested at their houses by six agents of the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Ahvaz and Abadan. They were released a week after on May 13 but were rearrested for an unknown reason on the same day. They were released on bail on May 30, 2019.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

Tohid Ghoreishi Was Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison

Posted on: September 27th, 2019

Tohid Ghoreishi, Sunni prisoner, was sentenced to a 16-year prison term by the Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court led by judge Moghiseh. His prior sentence was completed in March 2019 after serving five years in prison. A hearing session was scheduled on July 28, 2019 for another case, filed by the ministry of Intelligence.

Tohid Ghoreishi, the former Imam of Friday Prayer of Imam Shafi’i mosque in Talesh was arrested by security forces in Talesh in April 29, 2014. After a year of imprisonment, he was initially sentenced to a 10-year prison term, but this sentence was reduced to 7 years in prison by the Court of Appeals. Later, his sentence was reduced to a four-year prison term per Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, Aggregation of Fines. Although he had finished his prison term in March 2019, he is still a prisoner of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

On September 24, 2019, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison which includes 10 years of imprisonment on the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security”, five years of imprisonment on the charge of “supporting opposition groups”, and one year imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state”. Judge Moghiseh did not permit him to defend in the trial. The judge and the prosecutor did not have any accusation on him but threatened him and added that he deserves death penalty.

22 Iranian Baha’is Were Denied Higher Education in September

Posted on: September 22nd, 2019

At least 22 Baha’i students have reportedly been denied entry to universities in Iran despite successfully passing the national admissions test. These Baha’i applicants received a short message with the content: “Dear applicant, there is a flaw in your dossier. Please contact the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency” when checking their test results online. Last year, at least 58 Baha’i students received the same message. Since 2006, this message has been used to inform several Baha’i students about rejection of their applications.

The 22 Baha’i students who have successfully passed the university entrance exam in 2019 but have been banned from higher education are identified by the Human Rights Activists News Agency as the following (name, city):

Seraj Safaryan (Sari), Tara Ehsan (Karaj), Rojin Kasiri (Karaj), Shamim Idelkhani (Ardabil), Sahand Shirazi (Tehran), Mahtab Khadem (Tehran), Armaghan Enayati (Semnan), Siavash Baloch Gherai (Mashhad), Shailin Aghili (Karaj), Negar Ighani (Shiraz), Rojan Ehsani (Kashan), Ghazal Allahverdi Gorji (Sari), Taranom Kamali (Shiraz), Negin Foroughi (Tehran), Dorsa Mostafavi (Tehran), Aria Ehsani (Karaj), Behzad Yazdani (Sari), Sholeh Movafaghi Eyvali (Sari), Mahsa Forouhari (Karaj), Vafa Nobakht (Sari), Aylar Roshan Nahad (Isfahan), and Noorieh Ferdosian (Isfahan)

Denying Baha’i students’ entry to universities in Iran is not an unprecedented matter. They have been systematically denied access to higher education by the Iranian government. Even dozens of Baha’is who have successfully passed the national examinations and other hurdles to continue their education at the university level have been forced to drop out, even several years into their programs.

Although unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. The Baha’i faith is not acknowledged as an official religion by the Iranian government. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated. Over the years, the government used various tactics at different stages of university admission process including application, entrance examination and enrollment, to exclude Baha’is from education at colleges and universities. From a small number of Baha’i students who have been able to register and start their studies at universities, the majority have been expelled at some point before graduation

Mitra Badrnejad Sentenced to Imprisonment

Posted on: September 18th, 2019

Mitra Badrnejad, a Baha’i resident of Ahvaz, was sentenced to a one-year prison term by the Khuzestan Appeals Court. In October 2018, she was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the Branch 2 of Ahvaz Revolutionary Court. She was arrested on March 3, 2018 and was temporary released on bail on May 14, 2018.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private.

Although unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. The Baha’i faith is not acknowledged as an official religion by the Iranian government. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

The Revolutionary Court of Birjand Sentenced Nine Baha’is to 54 Years Imprisonment

Posted on: July 10th, 2019

On July 6, 2019, the revolutionary Court of Birjand sentenced nine Baha’i residents of this city to 54 years imprisonment, combined. According to this verdict, each of them was sentenced to six-year prison term. Also, the funds raised during a religious ceremony by the Baha’i community for needs of Baha’i residents of Birjand, was confiscated by the court’s order. Their court hearing was on July 3, 2019 without their lawyer, Mazdak Etemadzadeh, because of the article 48 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran and he is not in the list of government-approved lawyers. These Baha’i citizens were arrested earlier in 2017 and were released on bail after a while.

Sheida Abedi, Firouz Ahmadi, Khalil Maleki, Simin Mohammadi, Bijan Ahmadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Saghar Mohammadi, Sohrab Malaki, and Bahman Salehi were sentenced to six years imprisonment, each for the charges of “membership in illegal and against the national security Baha’i group” and “propaganda against the state by promoting Bahaism”.

Between 9-15 June 2019, the houses of nine Baha’i families were searched by security forces with warrant in Shahin Shahr. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, satellite devices, books, photos, pictorial carpets, identification documents, and working tools were confiscated. These citizens, along three other Baha’i citizens, were summoned by the judicial authorities.

Iranian Baha’i citizens are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, in public, or in private.

More than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. Iran’s constitution, however, recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.