Fifteen Baha’i Women Receive Total of 75 Years in Prison

The Isfahan Revolutionary Court has sentenced 15 Baha’i women from Baharestan, Isfahan County, to a total of 75 years in prison along with other penalties.

The sentenced individuals are Mojgan Pourshafe Ardestani, Nasrin Khademi, Azita Rezvani-Khah, Shola Ashouri, Mojdeh Bahamin, Bashra Motahar, Sara Shakib, Samira Shakib, Roya Azad Khosh, Noushin Hemmat, Shurangiz Bahamin, Sanaz Rasteh, Maryam Khorsandi, Firoozeh Rastinejad, and Farkhandeh Rezvan Pay.

The court’s decision, issued on May 16, 2024, by Branch 1 of the Isfahan Revolutionary Court, mandates that each woman serves a five-year prison term. Additionally, they are required to pay a fine, are banned from leaving the country, and are deprived of social services for two years. The charges against them include “propaganda against the regime” and “assisting in propaganda/educational activities contrary to Islamic Sharia.” The women were initially summoned for an arraignment on May 1, 2024.

Among them, Pourshafee, Khademi, Rezvani-Khah, Azad Khosh, Shakib, Raseh, Ashouri, Bahamin, Rastinejad, Khorsandi, and Hemmat were previously arrested in 2021 and later released on bail.

Furthermore, Bahamin, Rezvan Pay, Motahar, and Shakib’s residences were subjected to raids and searches by Intelligence agents.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both 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.

Imminent Execution of Iranian Jewish Youth, Arvin Ghahremani

20-year-old Arvin Ghahremani, an Iranian Jew, is facing imminent execution following his conviction for killing a Muslim during a quarrel. As a member of a religious minority, the discriminatory laws make it difficult to spare his life.

Reports obtained by HRANA from Ghahremani’s close associates reveal that two years ago, Ghahremani was arrested and quickly sentenced to death for a fight that led to the death of Amri Shokri. Efforts by Ghahremani and the Kermanshah Jewish Committee to secure the victim’s family’s forgiveness through payment of blood money (Qisas) have been unsuccessful.

20-year-old Arvin Ghahremani, an Iranian Jew, is facing imminent execution following his conviction for killing a Muslim during a quarrel. As a member of a religious minority, the discriminatory laws make it difficult to spare his life. Reports from HRANA reveal that two years ago, Ghahremani killed Amir Shokri during a fight. He was arrested and quickly sentenced to death. Efforts by Ghahremani and the Kermanshah Jewish Committee to secure the victim’s family’s forgiveness through payment of blood money (Qisas) have been unsuccessful.

A video recently circulated on social media features Ghahremani’s mother appealing for public support to stop the execution. She pleads, “Pray for Arvin to come back home again.” Dr. Homayoun Sameyah Najafabadi, head of Iran’s Jewish Committee, confirmed that attempts to meet with the victim’s family and the newly appointed Imam of Friday Prayer in Kermanshah, Sheikh Mohammad-Hassan Rahimian, have been rejected. Efforts by the MP from Natanz to mediate were also fruitless, and proposals such as constructing a school in the victim’s name have been declined.

 

This case has heightened concerns within Iran’s Jewish community. Human rights activists argue that the retribution laws and their uneven application between Muslims and non-Muslims reflect systemic discrimination against religious minorities in Iran. These laws, rooted in religious ideology, often disadvantage non-Muslim citizens.

While Qisas mandates capital punishment if a non-Muslim kills a Muslim, the reverse scenario does not hold—a Muslim who kills a non-Muslim is only obliged to pay blood money. This legal disparity is a significant barrier to a fair trial and the achievement of civil rights in Iran.

The ongoing enforcement of unjust penalties for the murder of non-Muslims has led to numerous extrajudicial killings, especially of Iran’s Baha’i community, by extremist elements.

Sunni Death-Row Prisoner Moved to Solitary Confinement Ahead of Possible Execution

Khosrow Besharat, a Sunni prisoner on death row, was transferred to solitary confinement in Ghezel Hesar Prison on May 1, raising concerns about his possible imminent execution.

His family is gravely worried as five other prisoners from the same case, Ghasem AbastehAyoub KarimiDavoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, and Anvar Khezri were executed in the same prison. The latter was executed today, May 1.

The case stems from the assassination of Abdolrahim Tina, the Imam of a mosque in Mahabad, in September 2008. In January and February 2010, Besharat and six other Sunni suspects were arrested in connection with the killing.

Initially sentenced to death by Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided over by Mohammad Moghiseh, Besharat’s sentence was initially overturned by the Supreme Court. The case was then reassigned to Branch 15 of the same court, presided over by Judge Salavati, who reinstated the death sentences for Besharat and six other defendants. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the death sentences for Besharat and his co-defendants on February 3, 2020.

Update on Christian Convert Mina Khajavi in Evin Prison

60-year-old Christian convert Mina Khajavi Ghomi is currently serving her sentence in Evin Prison, where she faces health challenges due to her age and related issues.

A source close to her family told HRANA that Khajavi struggles with her incarceration given her age, suffering from back, knee, and joint pains that make walking difficult. Despite these challenges, she has been denied access to specialized medical care in prison.

Khajavi was arrested by security forces in June 2020 and released on bail the same month.

In June 2022, she was tried alongside other Christian converts in a case overseen by Judge Iman Afshari at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Khajavi was sentenced to six years in prison for “acting against national security through proselytizing Christianity and establishing a home church.”

According to reports obtained by HRANA, Khajavi began her prison term on January 8, 2024, and has spent time in solitary confinement in Ward 209, undergoing interrogations.

Fifteen Baha’i Women Summoned to Revolutionary Court of Isfahan

Fifteen Baha’i women have been summoned to appear before the Revolutionary Court of Isfahan on May 1, 2024.

The women include Mojgan (Mozhgan) Pourshafee, Nasrin Khademi, Azita Rezvani-Khah, Shola Ashouri, Mojdeh Bahamin, Bashra Motahar, Sara Shakib, Samira Shakib, Roya Azad Khosh, Noushin Hemmat, Shurangiz Bahamin, Sanaz Rasteh, Maryam Khorsandi, Firoozeh Rastinejad, and Farkhandeh Rezvan Pay.

On April 8, 2024, they were indicted of “propaganda against the regime” and “assisting in education and propaganda activities against Islamic Sharia.” The indictment was issued on April 8, 2024.

Among them, Pourshafee, Khademi, Rezvani-Khah, Azad Khosh, Shakib, Raseh, Ashouri, Bahamin, Rastinejad, Khorsandi, and Hemmat were previously arrested in 2021 and later released on bail.

Furthermore, Bahamin, Rezvan Pay, Motahar, and Shakib’s residences were subjected to raids and searches by Intelligence agents.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both 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.

 

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Baha’i Educator Keyvan Rahimian’s Nine-Year Sentence Sustained on Appeal

The Appellate Court of Tehran Province has maintained a nine-year sentence and additional penalties for Baha’i educator Keyvan Rahimian.

In a verdict issued by Branch 36 of the Appellate Court of Tehran Province, presided over by Judge Abbasali Hoozan, Rahimian was sentenced to five years for “educational activities and propagating against the Islamic Sharia” and four years for “assembly and collusion against national security.” Alongside the prison term, Rahimian has been stripped of social rights and fined.

Per Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, five years of the prison term will be enforced.

Rahimian was apprehended by security forces in Tehran on July 18, 2023, and subsequently detained in Evin prison. His detention has been extended for four consecutive months, with Rahimian granted leave from November 25 to 29, 2023, to attend his mother’s funeral.

This is not Rahimian’s first encounter with legal repercussions for his activism. In August 2017, he was released from Rajai Shahr Prison after serving a five-year sentence. The current sentence raises concerns about the continued suppression of Baha’i individuals involved in educational and community activities.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both 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.

 

Latest Developments on Baha’i Citizen Mina Karami’s Legal Situation

Baha’i citizen Mina Karami continues to serve her five-year prison term in Adelabad prison after the Appellate Court of Fars Province, influenced by the Ministry of Intelligence, recently rejected her request to complete her sentence outside prison with a monitoring ankle device.

A source close to Karami’s family has confirmed to HRANA the repeated denials of Karami’s release requests. Additionally, the Supreme Court rejected her plea for a retrial.

On April 13, 2021, security forces raided Karami’s residence, conducted a search, and subsequently summoned and interrogated her at the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility known as House No. 100. She was later released on bail.

In August-September 2022, the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, presided over by Seyed-Mahmood Sadati, found Karami guilty of “engaging in education and propaganda activities against Islamic Sharia,” resulting in a five-year imprisonment, a fine, social restrictions for ten years, and a two-year ban from leaving the country. This verdict was upheld on appeal.

On February 13, 2024, security forces arrested her in Shiraz and transferred her to Adelabad Prison to commence serving her sentence.

Update on Baha’i Ardeshir Fanaeian in Semnan Prison

Baha’i Ardeshir Fanaeian is currently serving a six-year prison term in Semnan prison.

According to a source close to Fanaeian’s family, since his incarceration, prison officials have held him separated from other inmates resembling solitary confinement.

Fanaeian was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on April 30, 2019, and released on bail after 75 days.

Subsequently, the Revolutionary Court of Semnan, presided over by Judge Mohammad-Ali Rostami, sentenced Fanaeian to 11 years in prison, one year of exile to Khash County, and one year banned from Semnan for “assisting in forming and running an illegal group to act against national security in favor of anti-regime groups.” This verdict was later reduced to six years on appeal.

Notably, Fanaeian’s parents were incarcerated for their faith in the 1980s. He was born in prison and resided there until he was three months old. Also, he faced a prior arrest and conviction in 2013.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both 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.

Christian Convert Laleh Sa’ati Receives Prison Sentence and Travel Restriction

Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court has sentenced Christian convert Laleh Sa’ati to two years in prison, coupled with a travel ban preventing her from leaving the country.

Presiding Judge Iman Afshari delivered the verdict to Sa’ati on March 24, citing her conviction for “actions against national security.”

According to a source close to Sa’ati’s family, she is reportedly in poor mental health, grappling with severe depression while incarcerated.

Sa’ati was arrested by security forces on February 13, 2024, and initially detained in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison. However, she was later transferred multiple times to Ward 209 for interrogation by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence.

HRANA has received reports indicating that Sa’ati had been residing in Malaysia before her return to Iran.

Baha’i Citizen Shabnam Tebyanian Receives Sentence and Additional Penalties

Shabnam Tebyanian (TebIanian), a Baha’i citizen, has been sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Semnan to six months imprisonment along with supplementary punishments. However, the prison term has been commuted to a fine.

Tebyanian was found guilty of “engaging in educational activities and propagating against Sharia Islam,” resulting in a two-year prohibition from affiliating with civil or political organizations and groups. Additionally, she has been mandated to attend “Cult Therapy” courses organized by the Islamic Development Organization.

The incident stems from Tebyanian’s arrest by security forces on August 21, 2023, in Semnan. During the arrest, her residence was searched, and some of her possessions were confiscated. She was subsequently released on bail in September 2023 pending further legal proceedings.

Shabnam Tebyanian, a mother of two and a Semnan resident, now faces financial penalties instead of imprisonment following the court’s decision.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both 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.