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.