Baha’i Citizens Soroush Abadi and Kiana Shoaei Sentenced to Imprisonment

Baha’i citizens Soroush Abadi and Kiana Shoaei, both residents of Shiraz, were sentenced to imprisonment and banned from leaving the country.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, presided by Judges Mahmoud Sadati sentenced Mr. Abadi, and Ms. Shoaei each one to 31 months and 16 days in prison and a 2-year ban from leaving the country on the charge of membership in anti-regime groups with the intention of disrupting country’s security, and to Seven months and 16 days in prison on the charge of propaganda activities against the regime in cyberspace.

If the sentences are upheld by the appeal court, after the application of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the most severe punishment of 31 months and 16 days of imprisonment will apply to Mr. Abadi and Ms. Shoaei.

Ms. Shoaei’s 5 years imprisonment sentence will be reduced to 30 months, but she will have to check in and report her presence to the Shiraz Intelligence Office every month. Kiana Shoaei and Soroush Abadi, along with Farzan Masoumi, were arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents in October 2019.

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.

Court Trial Held for Baha’i Citizen Kiana Shoaei

The trial of Kiana Shoaei, a Baha’i resident of Shiraz, was held at the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz on May 15.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the trial referred the case to the prosecutor’s office to rectify incomplete documents. Another hearing will be held after the deficiencies are fixed.

Kiana Shoaei was previously summoned to Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz on May 5. In this citation, she was asked to appear at the branch on the 15th regarding a lawsuit that had been lodged against her for “forming dissident groups with the intention to disrupt the security of the country, membership in dissident groups with the intention of disrupting security, and propaganda against the regime”.

Shoaei had been awaiting trial since 2019,  after being arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in October and released on bail in November of that year.

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.

Three Baha’is Were Arrested in Shiraz

On October 21, 2019, three Baha’i citizens were arrested in Shiraz while their houses and several other Baha’i houses were searched and their personal belongings such as laptops, cell phones, and computers were confiscated. Farzan Masoumi, Kiana Shoaei, and Soroush Abadi were arrested by the Intelligence Department officers and were transferred to an undisclosed location. The identities of the other Baha’i citizens whose houses were searched are still unknown.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private. Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.