Three Baha’i Citizens Arrested to Serve Sentences Without Prior Notice

On March 7, three Baha’i citizens, Sedigheh Aghdasi, Behrooz Farzandi and Ghasem Masoomi, were arrested and transferred to Adel-Abad Prison to serve their sentences. The arrest occurred without any notice and followed summons by the Revolutionary Court under the pretext of answering questions. Initially, these citizens had been each sentenced to 39 months in prison. On appeal, the sentence against Farzandi and Masoomi was upheld, while 25 months of Aghdasi’s sentence term was suspended.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, an informed source stated that during a court appearance, they were arrested and transferred to prison from the back door of the court without informing their families, who were waiting for them in front of the court building.

On April 6, 2021, they were arrested along with three other citizens by security forces. They were detained in solitary confinement cells of a police detention centre in Shiraz City. In May of 2021, they were released on bail until the end of legal proceedings.

In November of last year, the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz sentenced each to seven months and 16 days in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and 31 months and 16 days on the charge of “membership in anti-regime groups.” On appeal, 25 months of Aghdasi’s sentence was suspended and the sentences against two others were upheld.

Regarding the prosecution and the harassment of Baha’i people by Iran’s regime, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and particularly Baha’i citizens, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform religious acts freely.

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 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.

Christian Convert Naser Navard Goltappeh’s Request for Retrial Rejected

Branch 9 of the Supreme Court rejected the imprisoned Christian convert Naser Navard Goltappeh’s request for a retrial for the fourth time. He is currently serving a 10 year sentence in Evin Prison. Despite suffering from oral and dental diseases and severe visual impairment, he has been denied medical treatment in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, his lawyer, Iman Soleymani, called the Supreme Court’s decisions arbitrary and erratic. He told HRANA that “the Supreme Court issued its verdict regardless of defendant’s rights, which is in violation of citizen rights and the principle of legality of crime and punishments, the principle of innocence and Article 474 of the Criminal Procedure Code whereby different punishment in degrees for similar charges is not allowed”.

“His request has invoked the recent retrial of nine Christian converts which subsequently led to their acquittal”, he added. In November of last year, Branch 28 of the Supreme Court of Iran announced that promoting Christianity and forming a home church is neither a crime nor an act against national security.

On June 24, 2016, Naser Navard Goltappeh was arrested along with three people of Azerbaijan nationality. All four were interrogated for two months and detained in solitary confinement cells. After four months, they were released on bail of 100 million tomans. The Azerbaijani citizens returned to their country after the release.

Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Goltappeh to 10 years in prison on the charge of “acting against national security by organizing an illegal home church”. The verdict was upheld on appeal on November 12, 2017.

He is currently serving his sentence in Ward 8 of Evin Prison.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces nevertheless harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.

The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of 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.

Baha’i Citizen Saba Sefidi Released from Evin Prison

On February 23, Baha’i citizen Saba Sefidi, a resident of Tehran, was released on temporary bail pending legal proceedings.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Sefidi was released on a bail of 1.5 billion tomans.

On January 11, she was arrested after an appearance at Branch 2 of Evin Courthouse in Tehran City. The reason for her arrest and the charges against her are still unknown.

Regarding the prosecution and the harassment of Baha’i people by Iran’s regime, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and particularly Baha’i citizens, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform religious acts freely.

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.

One Year Imprisonment Against Baha’i Citizen Shiva Khalili Upheld on Appeal

Recently, the Court of Appeal of Mazandaran Province upheld the initial verdict of one year in prison against Baha’i citizen Shiva Khalili. Moreover, in this verdict, her cell phone, which they ruled has been used as a “crime tool”, will be confiscated.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, November 16, 2021, she was arrested after being summoned and appearing at Branch 1 of the Public and Revolutionary Court of Babol. The day after, she was released on bail.

The Revolutionary Court of Babol City sentenced her to one year imprisonment and confiscation of her cell phone on the charge of “propaganda against the regime.”

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’i 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.

Request for a Retrial of Two Christian Converts Rejected By the Supreme Court

Branch 9 of the Supreme Court rejected a request by two Christian converts, Hadi Rahimi and Sekineh Behjati, for a retrial. Rahimi has been recently jailed to serve his four years sentence and Behjati has been summoned to endure her two years imprisonment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, according to their lawyer, “their request for a retrial is justified on the Article 474 of the Criminal Procedure Code and based on the verdict issued by Branch 28 of the Supreme Court whereby running a home church is not considered as an act against the national security. Moreover, whereas the prosecution has been quashed by the Dezful Courthouse, there are similarities between the verdict against my clients and the above-mentioned verdict, Christian faith is not a crime and is supported by the freedom of expression, the inquisition is prohibited, and finally, every punishment should be predicted in law, the arguments lean towards defendant’s favor rather than the verdict. Nonetheless, regardless of these arguments, the request for a retrial was dismissed.”

In February of 2020, security forces raided their house, confiscated some of their personal belongings and interrogated them about the charges of “propaganda against the regime and assembly and collusion against national security.”

In August of 2020, Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Rahimi and Behjati to four and two years imprisonment respectively on the charges of “membership in political groups to disturb national security”. In October of that year, their verdict was upheld on appeal.

On January 9, Rahimi was jailed in Evin Prison to endure his sentence.

 

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Baha’i Citizen Saba Sefidi Still in Detention After More Than a Month

After 33 days, Baha’i citizen Saba Sefidi, a resident of Tehran, is still in detention pending legal process. On January 11, she was arrested after an appearance at Branch 2 of Evin Courthouse.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, despite family frequent inquiry, judicial officials at Evin Courthouse have not yet provided any clear information about the reason for the arrest or her whereabouts, which is raising concern about her condition.

Since her arrest, she has been only allowed to make a few short calls to her family.

Regarding the prosecution and harassment of Baha’i people by Iran’s regime, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and particularly Baha’i citizens, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform religious acts freely.

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.

Anti-Baha’is Workshop Set up By The Regime in Karaj City

Following increasing pressure on Baha’i citizens by security and judicial institutions, the regime ran the second round of a three-day workshop to spread hate against Baha’i citizens. In this workshop, which was organized in Karaj City (the first round was run in Shiraz City) by the Islamic Propagation Office and an institution known as Mofaz, participants are encouraged to design posters with anti-Baha’i contents. This workshop is a blatant example of spreading hate against religious minorities.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Iranian regime held a workshop known as “Moghaddas-Nama” (pseudo-sacred) from January 28 to 30. The workshop is designed to spread posters featuring anti-Baha’i propaganda. The first round of this workshop was held in December of last year.

This workshop, which is financially supported by the regime, aims to induce hatred and violence against religious minorities and Baha’i believers in particular. Participants were incentivized lavishly by rewards to create graphic artworks such as posters featuring anti-Baha’i propaganda. This is while Baha’is are under systematic suppression and deprived of civil rights and freedom of religion. Dozens of Baha’i citizens have been imprisoned due to their faith.

In response to this hate-spreading workshop, the spokesperson for the Baha’i International Community, Padideh Sabeti, stated that:

“Anti-Baha’i propaganda from the regime in the form of a cultural festival, which should show Iranian cultural values and achievements, is deplorable. The Baha’i community is well-known worldwide for its activities for the cause of humanitarian aid. In recent years, Iran’s regime has not bothered to support their accusations against Baha’i people with one single piece of evidence…These lies expose only the liars and merely damage the regime’s credibility both inside Iran and on the international scene. Based on our experience, this propaganda proves the opposite. Having learned about the falsity of these accusations, more and more Iranians show respect to the Baha’i community.”

Regarding these anti-Baha’i workshops, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that it is deplorable that the regime has chosen to induce hatred against religious minorities in society, rather than promote mutual respect and the freedom of expression and religion. Iranian Baha’i citizens have been subjected to oppression and discrimination for decades.

Baha’i Citizen Sina Shahri Arrested By Agents of Ministry of Intelligence

Baha’i citizen Sina Shahri, resident of Tabriz, was arrested by intelligence agents and transferred to an unidentified location. Agents arrested him at his home, searched his house and confiscated some of his personal belongings including documents and books about the Baha’i faith.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the reasons for his arrest and his whereabouts are still 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 Baha’i Citizens Arrested and Sent to Yazd Prison to Serve Their Sentences

On December 13, Baha’i citizens Mitra Bandi Amir-Abadi and Hiva Yazdan Mehdi-Abadi were arrested at their home by security forces and sent to Yazd Prison to serve their sentences.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Amir-Abadi and Mehdi-Abadi, along with two other Baha’i citizens, had been sentenced by Branch 2 of Yazd’s Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Reza Javad Mousavi. They were sentenced to a combined 13 years and 4 months on the charge of “membership in Baha’i anti-regime groups and propaganda against the regime”. On appeal, they were acquitted from the first charge and the verdict was changed to 8 months imprisonment each.

Amir-Abadi and Mehdi-Abadi were arrested on May 30, 2020, and released on bail after three months of detention. Both women had previously faced other arrests and convictions. In December 2017, 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.

Regarding the prosecution and harassment of Baha’is by Iran’s regime, HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson stated that HRA strongly condemned these discriminatory acts against religious minorities in Iran. She asked that the regime take action to ensure Iranian people, and particularly Baha’i citizens, are entitled to the freedom of religion and can perform religious acts freely.

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.

A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for December 6, 2018

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on December 6th, 2018 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA).

Continue reading “A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for December 6, 2018”