Nine Baha’i Citizens Begin Serving Prison Sentences in Karaj

On Saturday, August 5, 2023, nine Baha’i individuals were incarcerated in Kachooie Prison and the Central Prison of Karaj to commence their prison terms.

According to a reliable source who spoke to HRANA, Mahsa Tirgar Bahnemiri, Rameleh Tirgarnejad, Elham Shareghi Arani, Nakisa Sadeghi, Sadaf Sheikhzadeh, Shahrzad Mastouri, and Negin Rezaie were transferred to Kachooie prison, while Kamyar Habibi and Saman Ostovar were imprisoned in the Central Prison of Karaj.

In mid-June, the Appellate Court of Alborz province upheld a combined 40-year, seven-month sentence against these Baha’is along with four others. They have also received additional punishments as part of their conviction.

These individuals were found guilty of various charges, including “Insulting and propaganda against Sharia through engaging in educational activities” and “running groups to act against national security.”

The Iranian regime perceives the peaceful activities of Baha’is in providing humanitarian aid and education as a challenge to its own ideology.

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

Eleven Baha’i Citizens Sentenced to a Total of 36 Years in Prison

The Karaj Revolutionary Court sentenced eleven Baha’i citizens, out of 13 defendants of one legal case, to over 36 years and additional punishments.

According to these verdicts, Afif Na’imi, Saman Ostovar, Kamyar Habibi, Rameleh Tirgarnejad, Mahsa Tirgar, Shahrzad Mastouri, Sadaf Sheikhzadeh, Negin Rezaie, Nakisa Sadeghi, Elham Shareghi Arani and Sabin Yazdani, to 36 years for “insulting and propaganda against Islamic Sharia, forming and participating in groups to act against national security through teaching and preaching the Baha’i faith to children in Kindergartens, promoting against Islamic Sharia through holding coaching courses” They have also been fined and banned from residing in Alborz province, leaving the country and other social deprivations.

The jail sentences against these individuals go as follows:

  1. Afif Na’imi-seven years
  2. Saman Ostovar-five years
  3. Kamyar Habibi- five years
  4. Rameleh Tirgarnejad (Habibi’s wife)- three years
  5. Mahsa Tirgar-25 months
  6. Shahrzad Mastouri-25 months
  7. Sadaf Sheikhzadeh-25 months
  8. Negin Rezaie-25 months
  9. Nakisa Sadeghi-25 months
  10. Elham Shareghi Arani-three years
  11. Sabin Yazdani-three years

The details of the verdicts against two other defendants in this case, including Sahba Adiani are still unknown.

These individuals were arrested during the summer of last year and their houses were searched.
Although it is unknown which acts have been invoked as examples of the charges mentioned above, they seem to have been convicted of educational activities for children, especially preschool children.