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.

 

Searching Houses, Confiscating Belongings, and Summoning 12 Baha’is in Isfahan

Posted on: July 3rd, 2019

Between 9-15 June 2019, the houses of nine Baha’i families, Arshad Afshar, Aziz Afshar, Peyman Imani, Mahboubeh Hosseini, Bahram Safaei, Mehran Yazdani, Mesbah Karambakhsh, Sirous Golzar, and Naieem Haghiri 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.

The search had been going on, on different days, from 9 am to 2 pm by a group of seven security agents. They searched 11 Baha’i citizens’ houses and confiscated about 100 million Toman [approximate 7,000 USD] worth of belongings from these citizens. The agents didn’t provide any response to these families’ queries.

These 11 Baha’i citizens were summoned to the Intelligence Office. In addition, Naeem Haghiri was fired from his job under pressure of the intelligence office while Mitra Tashakori, Baha’i resident of Shahin Shahr, was summoned and threatened. Within the last two weeks, several previously licensed Baha’i businesses were shut down.

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.

Sofia Mobini, Baha’i Citizen was Sentenced t 10 Years in Prison

Posted on: June 25th, 2019

A Baha’i resident of Tehran, Sofia Mobini, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. She was arrested by the agents of the Ministry of Intelligence on October 26, 2017, during the ceremony of the 200th birthday of Baha’u’llah, religious leader and the founder of the Baha’i Faith, and was transferred to the Evin prison from which she was later released on bail. She was accused of “establishing and organizing an illegal Baha’i group with intentions to threaten the national security” and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, according to the Article 499 of the Islamic Penal Code, the maximum executable penalty for such charges is no more than five years imprisonment.

Negin Tadrisi, another Baha’i citizen who was arrested at the same ceremony sentenced to five years in prison on June 19, 2019 according to the aforementioned article with the charge of “membership in an illegal Baha’i organization”. She was later released on bail.

Heart Failure and Deprivation of Medical Treatment for Hasan Momtaz Savestani, Baha’i Prisoner of Evin Prison

Posted on: May 23rd, 2019

Hasan Momtaz Sarvestani, a Baha’i prisoner of Evin prison and a citizen of Shiraz, was transferred to hospital on Tuesday for medical checkup. Although his physician has recommended hospital bed rest to undergo medical treatments, he was returned to the prison after a day. He has been sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of teaching Persian literature at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE). He began his sentence on December 28, 2017 in Shiraz’s Adelabad prison and was transferred to Evin prison about a year later.

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.

Thirteen Gonabadi Dervishes Released From Great Tehran Penitentiary

Posted on: November 17th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Thirteen Gobanadi Dervishes walked free from Great Tehran Penitentiary Tuesday, November 13th after finishing their prison terms.

The group were among a larger cohort arrested and sentenced in Tehran Revolutionary Court for their participation in the Golestan Haftom incident in February of last year.

The freed prisoners were identified as Armin Abolfattahi, Mostafa Zaman, Nourali Mousavi, Hojjat Zamani, Ebrahim Rezaie, Hashem Avazeh, Alborz Rostami, Mohammad Ghanadzadeh, Ali Ghanazadeh, Shahab Bakhshian, Majid Shayegh, and Hossein Haj Mohammadi.

Baha’i Citizen Dori Amri Begins One-year Prison Term

Posted on: November 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) On Wednesday, November 14, 2018, Baha’i Mashhad resident Dori Amri began serving her one-year prison sentence in Mashhad’s Vakilabad Prison.

May Kholousi and her daughter Saghi Fadaei, Amri’s Baha’i co-defendants, turned themselves in October 31st to begin serving their own one-year sentences.

The verdict in Amri, Kholousi, and Fadaei’s case was recently upheld in Khorasan Razavi Appeals Court.

Iran: Prisoner Updates as of November 14, 2018

Posted on: November 14th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Iranian citizens and legal residents, once placed behind bars or accused of a crime, have seen their lawful rights and dignities abruptly revoked. Below are a few of their stories.

Sunni Kurdish Prisoner Slapped with “Propaganda” Charge Whilst Behind Bars

Sardar Osman Bakr, a Sunni Kurdish prisoner serving a five-year sentence in Urmia Central, has been charged with “propaganda against the regime” and will now be serving six.

An Iraqi national who has held legal residence in Iran for the past 10 years, Bakr was arrested, charged, and sentenced in 2016 on charges of “membership in anti-regime groups with religious ideologies.” He was held in solitary confinement for 10 days in a Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center earlier this year, before being transferred back to Urmia Central Prison to be interrogated on the “propaganda against the regime” charge.

Branch 3 of Urmia Revolutionary Court convicted Bakr of the new charge in September 2018, compounding his prison term by an additional year. He is currently being held in Ward 12 of Urmia Central.

Ulduz Ghasemi (Center)

Azerbaijani Activist Sentenced in Absentia

On November 10th, Azerbaijani activist Ulduz Ghasemi was sentenced in absentia to one year in prison by Urmia Revolutionary Court Branch 1.

Ghasemi is from Urmia, in Iran’s northwest. Read more about Ghasemi’s activism and legal ordeals here.

Sentence Upheld for Sunni Prisoner

West Azerbaijan Appeals Court Branch 13 has upheld a five-year prison sentence for Sunni prisoner Eslam Mostafaie, of Mirabad. He has been in Urmia Central Prison for the past three months.

Charged with “membership in Salafi groups,” a close source said, Mostafaie was denied a lawyer throughout judicial proceedings that ended with his August 2018 conviction in Urmia Revolutionary Court Branch 2.

According to the source, he was held in solitary confinement in a Ministry of Intelligence detention center for 17 days after his arrest and is now being held in Ward 12 of Urmia Central.

Mirabad is a city in West Azerbaijan Province.

Conditional Release Denied to Urmia Prisoner

Judge Ali Sheikhloo of Urmia Revolutionary Court Branch 2 has denied the conditional release request of political prisoner Azad Mohammadi, currently being held in Ward 12 of Urmia Central prison. The court’s decision was dictated to Mohammadi on Tuesday, November 13th.

Mohammadi had previously stopped hunger striking when prison authorities verbally engaged to negotiate with the Judiciary for his conditional release. Mohammadi was among a group of prisoners swayed to end their coordinated hunger strike on October 23rd by similar promises from prison authorities.

Upon his arrest in 2015, Mohammadi spent three months in an IRGC Intelligence detention center. Without ever having access to a lawyer, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “Cooperation with the Kurdistan Democratic Party.” He was subsequently transferred to Urmia Prison.

Mohammadi’s sentence was reduced by 15 months when he chose to not protest the charges. He is scheduled to be released in seven months.