Fourteen Bahai Citizens Sentenced to a Total of 31 Years in Prison

In a concerning development, the Ghaemshahr Revolutionary Court has handed down a collective prison sentence of 31 years to 14 Bahai citizens.

The individuals affected by this ruling are Mani Gholinejad, Bita Haghighi, Sanaz Hekmat Shoar, Negar Darabi, Sam Samimi, Mahsa Fathi, Samieh Gholinejad, Majir Samimi, Anis Senaei, Afnaneh Nematian, Basir Samimi, Hengameh Alipour, Gulben Fallah, and Nazanin Goli.
Bita Haghighi and Sanaz Hekmat Shoar have received three years and paying a fine. The rest have been sentenced to two years and one month. All their confiscated belongings during the arrest have also been seized.

The charges against these Bahai individuals revolve around allegations of engaging in “educational activities and propaganda at variance and against Islamic Sharia law.”

Security forces arrested these individuals in Sari and Babolsar, located in the Mazandaran Province, on August 31, 2022. Subsequently, they were released on bail in the months following their arrest.

During the time of their apprehension, the Ministry of Intelligence issued a statement accusing these citizens of being members of an espionage organization, further claiming that two among them had received training from Zionists in Israel.

According to HRANA annual report, from the total human rights reports regarding the violation of religious minorities’ rights, 64.63% belonged to the violation of the rights of Baha’is.

The deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a breach 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.


Four Baha’is’ Pre-trial Detention Extended 

The judicial authorities extended four Baha’i individuals’ detention time for a month. The individuals are identified as Basir Samimi, Negar Darabi, Samieh Gholinejad, and Bita Haghighi. Two last individuals contracted Covid-19 in Qaemshahr Prison and were denied proper medical care.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the pre-trial detentions of four Baha’is, Basir Samimi, Negar Darabi, Samieh Gholinejad, and Bita Haghighi were extended for one month.

On August 31, security forces arrested 14 Baha’is in Qaemshahr, of which two were released after a few hours and eight later on bail. During the arrest,  agents mistreated the individuals and caused injuries.

One informed source told  HRANA that judicial authorities cited “the lack of cooperation with interrogators” as the reason for the prolonged detention of these individuals.

The reasons for these arrests and the charges are unknown so far.

Baha’i Individuals Arrested in Qaemshahr and Sari

On August 31, 2022, intelligence agents arrested 14 Baha’is in Sari and Qaemshahr, Mazandaran Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on August 31, 2022, 14 Baha’is identified as Mahsa Fathi, Samieh Gholinejad, Negar Darabi, Basir Samimi, and Hengameh Alipour were arrested in Sari. Also, Afnaneh Naeimian, Mojir Samimi, Mani Gholinejad, Nazanin Goli, Sam Samimi, Sananz Hekmat Shoar, Bita Haghighi, Anis Senai, and Golin Falah were arrested in Qaemshahr.

All these individuals were transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence office in Sari.

The reasons for these arrests and the charges are unknown so far.