30 Baha’is were summoned to the court in Shiraz

Posted on: March 17th, 2020

On March 14, 2019, 30 Baha’i citizens were summoned to Branch 10 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. Their summon was related to a case that was opened back in 2016 by the Intelligence Ministry. They were charged with “membership in an opposition group” and “propaganda against the state”. They were identified as following:

Noushin Zanhari, Esmail Rousta, Behnam Azimpour, Saeed Hasani, Ramin Shirvani, Marjan Gholampour, Mojgan Gholampour, Farid Shademan, Farzad Shademan, Parisa Rouhizadegan, Shamim Akhlaghi, Sahba Farahbakhsh, Sahba Moslehi, Ahdyeh Enayati, Mahyar Sefidi, Shadi Sadegh Aghdam, Vargha Kaviani, Soroush Ighani, Maryam Eslami, Yekta Fahandaj Saadi, Nabil Tahzib, Samar Ashnaei, Rezvan Yazdani, Lala Salehi, Nasim Kashani, Bahareh Norouzi, Niloufar Hakimi, Farzan Masoumi, Shahnaz Sabet, and Farhad Sabet

 

Background

Marjan Gholampour, Mojgan Gholampour, Farid Shademan, Farzad Shademan, Parisa Rouhizadegan, Shamim Akhlaghi, Sahba Farahbakhsh, Sahba Moslehi, Ahdyeh Enayati, Mahyar Sefidi, Shadi Sadegh Aghdam, Vargha Kaviani, Soroush Ighani, and Maryam Eslami were arrested in 2016 and were transferred to Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center in Shiraz known as the No. 100 Detention Center.

On October 3, 2016, Bahareh Norouzi and her husband, Siamak Honarvar were arrested and after their house was searched and their belongings were confiscated. They were also transferred to the No.100 Detention Center.

On October 10, 2016, Vargha Kaviani, Shamim Akhlaghi, Farid Shademan, Soroush Ighaei, Farzad Shademan, and Mojgan Gholampour were released from Adel Abad Prison on 200 million Tomans bail along with 92 other prisoners.

On October 11, 2016, Marjan Gholampour, Maryam Eslami, and Parisa Rouhizadegan were released from prison on 200 million Tomans bail.

Moreover, Noushin Zanhari, Esmail Rousta, Behnam Azimpour, Saeed Hasani, and Ramin Shirvani were arrested along with several other Baha’i citizens in June 2016. They were released on 200 million Toman bail after a month.

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.

A Christian Citizen Was Arrested and Another Was Went into Exile

Posted on: December 16th, 2019

According to Aran Moghan, a Christian citizen was arrested in Pars Abad Moghan by the Damghan Intelligence Department officers and Security police. He was accused of “Christianity mission” and “disturbing public opinion” in public space and cyberspace.

Additionally, another Christian citizen, Ebrahim Firouzi, started serving his sentence to live in exile in Sarbaz city on November 12, 2019. He was released on October 26, 2019, after serving five years in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. On March 7th, 2013, Ebrahim Firouzi, a 28-year-old Christian convert was arrested by the security forces when he was on his way to his work. He was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. He has multiple arrests in his record and was previously sentenced to one year in prison and two years living in exile in Sarbaz. He was tried on the charge of acting against the national security on March 8, 2015, by judge Mogheiseh. He has no access to a lawyer before trial and met his lawyer for the first time in the court hearing. The Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Ebrahim Firouzi to five years in prison. He was arrested for the first time on January 11, 2011. He was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state”, “insulting Islamic sacraments” and “acting against national security” by the Branch 102 of Robat Karim’s Revolutionary Court.

Although Christianity is an official minority religion in Iran, converting to Christianity is not acceptable.

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