Denial of Access to Higher Education Surges for Baha’i Citizens in Iran

Since the beginning of this year, HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, has documented 16 cases of Baha’i citizens being barred from higher education due to their faith.

As in previous years, many examinees of the nationwide university entrance exam encountered the message either “Rejected” or “Rejected due to general ineligibility”, indicating that they have been identified as Baha’i and hence barred from higher education.

According to HRANA, each year, numerous Baha’is examinees are rejected as the results of exams for various excuses by the official website of the National Organization of Educational Testing (NOET), an organization for holding the nationwide entrance exam.

Following the call of one of these citizens, NOET mentioned the intervention of the intelligence police as the reason for the rejection and in case an objection is filed, they can pass the written objection on to the intelligence police for further assessment.

In a written response to another citizen, NOET stated, “This message is shown when the intelligence office or any other security institution has an open case regarding the examinee or they have not approved his/her ineligibility. Your objection will be passed on the intelligence office, but until you identify yourself as Baha’i, the objection will not be taken into account.”

After taking exams many times, Some of these citizens are still facing various excuses such as “document defect” and therefore, they are barred from continuing their education due to being Baha’i.

At odds with Iran’s law clarifying the rights to education indiscriminately for all citizens, the enactment of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution of Iran, which oversees to ensure that education and culture remain Islamic, barres Baha’is from taking an occupational position as well as tertiary education.

Baha’i citizens are denied the right to exercise their religion. This systematic deprivation stands in violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which both affirm that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

According to unofficial reports, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran. While the constitution recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism as accepted religions (People of Book, as articulated in Sharia law), it denies recognizing Baha’i faith, which conclusively leads to the systematic violation of their rights.

Thirteen Baha’is Have Been Barred From Higher Education So Far This Year

Tehran resident Negar Sobhani Azabadi has become the 13th Baha’i citizen this year to be barred from higher education on the grounds of her faith.

HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, has identified one more examinee of the university entrance exam who has been rejected due to her belief in the Baha’i faith.

Azabadi received the rejection message when visiting the school website to view her exam results. It read “Rejected due to General ineligibility”, indicating that she had been identified as Baha’i and was thus ineligible to enter the university.

Each year, there are numerous reports about Baha’is who are barred from higher education once detected as Baha’is even on the verge of graduation.

At odds with Iran’s law clarifying the rights to education indiscriminately for all citizens, the enactment of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution of Iran, which oversees to ensure that education and culture remain Islamic, barres Baha’is from taking an occupational position as well as tertiary education.

 

Appellate Court Upholds Prison Sentence for Baha’i Citizens Abbas Taef and Ataollah Zafar

Branch 26 of the Tehran Court of Appeals recently upheld the primary court’s sentence for Baha’i citizens Abbas Taef and Ataollah Zafar.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on July 6, Branch 26 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided by Judge Seyed Ahmad Zargar, had sentenced each of these citizens to one year in prison on charges of “acting against national security through the administration and activity in the Baha’i sect”.

According to unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have beeen systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a violation of 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.

Below is the picture of the AppealsCourt verdict.

Baha’i Citizen Ali Ahmadi Sent to Ghaemshahr Prison to Endure Sentence

On Thursday, August 26, Ali Ahmadi, a Baha’i citizen and native of Ghaemshahr, was arrested and transferred to prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Ahmadi was sent to Ghaemshahr Prison to endure his one-year prison sentence.

Ali Ahmadi, who suffers from the underlying conditions of diabetes and heart disease, is being forced to serve out this prison sentence during the peak of the coronavirus crisis in Iran.

Mr. Ahmadi had been detained and imprisoned before. He was arrested by security forces and transferred to the Kachuei Detention Center in Sari, in November 2018. He was released on bail in January 2019.

Ghaemshahr Revolutionary Court sentenced Mr. Ahmadi to a total of 11 years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime and the administration of the Baha’i organization”. This sentence was upheld by the appeal court without holding a trial. Eventually, the Supreme Court accepted the request for retrial and sent the case to the Branch 28 of the Mazandaran Court of Appeals, where Mr. Ahmadi’s sentence was reduced to 1 year in prison.

According to unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have beeen systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a violation of 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.

Baha’i Citizens Sina Kamali and Dorsa Dehghani Still in Detention in Shiraz

After 14 days, Baha’i citizens Dorsa Dehghani and Sina Kamali Sarvestani are still in detention in an unknown location in Shiraz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the citizens were arrested separately on June 15 by IRGC intelligence agents.

A source close to their families said that Dehghani and Sarvestani have made a brief calls and spoken with their families but are being interrogated under psychological and physical pressure. The lack of accountability of the security agencies about their condition and whereabouts has caused increasing concern from their families.

Darsa Dehghani was treated for a medical problem before his detention, but he has not had access to his medications since being arrested.

According to unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a violation of 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.

 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Now is definitely not the time to stop reading!

Baha’i Citizens Sina Kamali Sarvestani and Dorsa Dehghani Arrested in Shiraz

On June 14, Baha’i citizens Sina Kamali Sarvestani and Dorsa Dehghani were separately arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, officers reportedly searched Sarvestani and Dehghani’s homes in Shiraz and confiscated all electronic devices including phones, laptops, and books.

More than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, according to unofficial sources, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.

This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a violation of 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.

As of this writing, no information is available on the detention facility or the status of Sarvestani and Dehghani.

HRANA Recap: Recent Sentences and Summons in Iran

Khabat Mafakheri sentenced to 4 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj

 

Khabat Mafakheri, a citizen of Sanandaj in Kurdistan Province, was recently sentenced to 4 years suspended imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists (HRA), quoting Kurdpa, Mafakheri was arrested in early August 2020 and released on bail in mid-December of that year. According to the report, Mafakheri was notified of the verdict in the past few days and was charged with collaborating with one of the opposition parties.

 

 

Four Baha’is sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison

 

Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Baha’i citizens Mona Mehrabi, Elham Karampisheh, Afsaneh Yadegar Ardestani, and Ehsanullah Yadegar Ardestani. The four citizens were previously sentenced by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 3 years in prison each.

 

 

 

Court of Appeals upholds 3 year sentence for Maziar Seyednejad

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 16 of the Court of Appeals of Khuzestan Province upheld the conviction of a labor activist Maziar Seyednejad. Seyednejad had previously been sentenced to three years in prison on charges related to his membership in an opposition group.

 

 

 

Citizen sentenced to 99 lashes and exile for extramarital affair

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Aftab News, the case of a citizen who was sentenced to 99 lashes and two years of exile in an area with a brutal climate for having an extramarital affair has been referred to a court of equal rank in Tehran.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights explicitly prohibits the use of degrading and inhumane punishment such as flogging.

 

Sunni cleric summoned and interrogated by Zabul City intelligence forces

 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Baloch Activists Campaign, on May 29, Sunni cleric Abdul Samad Ijbari, the director of the Quran Education School in Hassanabad village of Zabul province, was summoned to the Zabul city intelligence office in Sistan and Baluchestan province and was interrogated.

The report states that the Sunni cleric was summoned following the presence of Mohammad Othman Qalandarzahi at the Hassanabad Mosque. The reason for the summons and the accusations against Ijbari are not yet known.