26 Baha’i Citizens Sentenced to a Total of 85 Years in Prison

Last Wednesday, June 8, 2022, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz sentenced 26 Baha’i citizens to a total of 85 years in prison as well as additional punishments such as a ban from leaving the country and residing in exile.  

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 26 Baha’i individuals were sentenced to a total of 85 years in prison.

During the third court session held last Wednesday, these individuals were sentenced to a total of 85 years in prison and a ban from leaving the country for 2 years. Of the 26 defendants, 11 were sentenced to five years and 15 to two years in prison.

These individuals have been charged with “assembly and collusion to act against national security”. During the trial, holding gatherings in poor neighborhoods or tourist districts under the guise of addressing issues such as water crisis and other social issues have been presented for this charge.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian Constitution recognizes only Islam as the official religion, in addition to Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Bahai faith is not considered legitimate by the authorities, and 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.