Baha’i Poet Natoli Derakhshan Arrested in Sari City

On January 11, Natoli Derkshan, a poet and Baha’i citizen, was arrested by intelligence agents at his home in Sari City and transferred to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Derkshan has faced other arrests before. The reasons for this arrest, the charges against him and his whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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.

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.

Two Christian Converts Sent to Bushehr Prison to Endure One Year Sentences

Earlier this Thursday, November 11, Christian converts Sasan Khosravi and Habib Heydari were sent to Bushehr Prison to endure their prison sentences.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Mohabbat News, the Revolutionary Court of Bushehr sentenced each of them to one-year imprisonment, among other punishments, in June of this year. These verdicts were later upheld by the court of appeals.

Khosravi and Heydari received these sentences on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”. They had also faced two other charges of “acting against national security” and “membership in anti-regime group”, but of both of these they were acquitted.

On July 1, 2019, the intelligence agents arrested Khosravi and Heydari in Bushehr and  released them on a bail of 300 million tomans after two weeks. During their detention period, the detainees were held in solitary confinement and denied any access to a lawyer. They were also forced to make a videotaped confession.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the security services pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with those who convert to Christianity.

The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

 

Three Christian Converts Summoned in Karaj to Endure Their Sentences

Christian Converts Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi were summoned to appear today, November 10, at the Executive Unit of the Court of Karaj to endure their sentences.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 12 of the Court of Appeals of Alborz Province had previously sentenced each of these citizens to three years in prison.

In their first trial, which took place on June 26 of this year, they were each sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and paying a fine of 40 million tomans by Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj on charges of “propaganda and catechizing deviant against the holy Sharia of Islam”.  Following the verdict, they were released each on bail of 250 million Tomans. On August 22, the verdict was reduced to three years each on appeal.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, nevertheless, the security services pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with the converts of the Christian faith.

The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

 

 

Four Baha’i Citizens Sentenced to a Total of 32 Months Imprisonment by Appeals Court

The Court of Appeals in Yazd Province recently sentenced Baha’i citizens Amin Zolfaghari, Mahboobeh Misaghian, Mitra Bandi Amirabadi and Hiva Yazdan Mehdi Abadi to a total of 32 months in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, in recent days, Branch 11 of the Court of Appeals in Yazd sentenced each of the four Baha’i citizens to eight months in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”.

Initially, Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Yazd Province had sentenced these citizens to a total of 13 years and 4 months in prison on a charge of “membership in Baha’s anti-regime groups and the propaganda against the regime”. Upon appeal, they were acquitted from the first charge.

On May 21, 2020,  intelligence agents arrested Mr. Amin Zolfaghari and transferred him to Yazd prison. He was released on bail on June 23 of that year. Ms. Misaghian was arrested by security forces on June 1, 2020, and released on bail on June 16, 2020.

Ms. Mitra Bandi Amirabadi and Ms. Hiva Yazdan Mehdi Abadi were arrested on May 30, 2020, and released on bail after three months of detention. These two citizens had previously faced other arrests and convictions. In December 2017, Yazdan Mehdi Abadi was detained for “teaching music to children” and transferred to Yazd Prison. She was released on bail on December 25 of that year.

According to an informed source, these two above-mentioned citizens were arrested and sentenced to suspended imprisonment for a period, which ended recently.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 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.

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.

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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.

 

Baha’i Citizens Moin Misaghi and Negareh Ghaderi Arrested in Shiraz

On Wednesday, September 22, Baha’i citizens Moin Misaghi and Negareh Ghaderi, both natives of Shiraz, were arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, security forces searched the homes of the citizens and confiscated a number of their belongings during the arrest.

Security forces also visited the home of Hayedeh Mosallanejad, another Baha’i citizen, to arrest her but she was not detained as she was not home.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 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.

Security Forces Arrest Three Christian Converts in Rasht

On Sunday, September 5, Christian converts Ahmad Sarparast, Ayub Pour Rezazadeh, and Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari were arrested by security forces in Rasht and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activist, Mr. Sarparast and Mr. Pour Rezazadeh were detained in a house church. Security forces raided the homes of these citizens and confiscated some of their belongings, including cell phones, books, and pamphlets related to Christianity. According to an informed source, the agents behaved violently and insultingly and refused to show arrest or search warrants.

Relatives of these citizens are said to have been threatened by IRGC intelligence agents for providing information about the condition of their loved ones. Also, one of their relatives along with several other members of the house church were summoned to the Rasht IRGC Intelligence Office and interrogated.

According to a source close to the families of these citizens, after their families went to Branch 4 of the Rasht Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office to follow up on the case, they were not given any answer and were told, “Do not follow up. They will not be released any time soon. They do not deserve freedom and must stay.”

25-year-old Ahmad (Yohanna) Sarparast, 28-year-old Ayub (Farzin) Pour Rezazadeh, and 38-year-old Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari are residents of Rasht.

Even though Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the security services nevertheless pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with activists in this field.

The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

As of this writing, the reasons for the arrest, the charges against them, and the whereabouts of these citizens are unknown.

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 Arsalan Yazdani Arrested in Tehran

On Wednesday, September 1, Bah’ai citizen Arsalan Yazdani was arrested and transferred to an unknown location by security forces in Tehran.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, security forces searched Mr. Yazdani’s home and confiscated some of his personal belongings at the time of the arrest.

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.

No information is available on the detainee or his whereabouts as of this writing.