Baha’i Citizen Sanaz Notghi Sentenced to 5 years and 8 Months in Prison

Posted on: August 3rd, 2021

Baha’i citizen Sanaz Notghi was sentenced to 5 years and 8 months in prison by the Ahvaz Revolutionary Court on a charge of “membership in an illegal Baha’i organization” and to eight months in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, if  the sentence is upheld at the appeal court, with the application of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code,  5 years of imprisonment will be applicable as the most severe punishment for Ms. Notghi.

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 been 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.

Christian Convert Hamed Ashouri Sent to Karaj Central Prison

Posted on: July 29th, 2021

On Tuesday, July 27, Christian convert Hamed Ashouri was sent to Karaj Central Prison to endure his sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the website Article 18, the Court of Appeals upheld Ashouri’s ten-month prison sentence the previous day.

Hamed Ashouri had been arrested by security forces in Fardis city in Karaj, in March 2017, and transferred to Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj for interrogation. He was temporarily released after ten days. It is alleged that security forces raided Mr. Ashouri’s home while he was in custody.

A hearing on the charges against this citizen was held in February 2020 in Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj. Finally, in April of this year, Mr. Ashouri was sentenced to 10 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces nevertheless pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity.

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.

Christian Convert Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh Denied Conditional Release from Evin Prison

Posted on: July 15th, 2021

On June 22, Christian convert Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh’s request for conditional release from Evin Prison was rejected.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the news website Article 18, the rejection of the request for parole was given to Navard Gol-Tapeh without the provision of any specific reason.

In September 2020, the Supreme Court rejected Navard Gol-Tapeh’s request for a retrial. Navard Gol-Tapeh has been in Evin Prison for the past three years and six months without leave.

Navard Gol Tappeh was arrested in a private gathering in July 2016 and later was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 10 years in prison on charges of “acting against national security by forming and running an illegal organization of a house church”. The verdict was later approved by the Court of Appeals.

Although Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, 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 states that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and the freedom to express their religious beliefs.

Three Christian Converts Sentenced to a Total of 15 Years in Prison and a Fine

Posted on: July 1st, 2021

Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi were sentenced by the Fourth Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj to five years each in prison and a fine of 40 million tomans.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the website Article 18 , the three christian converts were sentenced for “Propaganda and educational activities contrary to the holy Sharia of Islam”.

The citizens had been released on bail of 250 million tomans each in November 2020 after being summoned to judicial authorities and filing a case.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian 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.

Court Trial Held for Baha’i Citizen Kiana Shoaei

Posted on: May 20th, 2021

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.

Security Forces Arrested at Least 26 Citizens in the Cities of Ahvaz and Mahshahr

Posted on: May 19th, 2021

At least 26 citizens were arrested in the cities of Ahvaz and Mahshahr and transferred to an unknown location between May 14 and May 16. Additionally, several citizens with histories of  arrest have been summoned for detainment by security services over the phone.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the arrests were made after Eid al-Fitr ceremonies, at which attendants danced and chanted slogans in front of the homes of citizens who were either killed in the November 2019 national protests or executed in recent years.

So far, HRANA has verified the names of “Rasoul Zuhairi son of Karim; Shaker Silawi, Mohammad Silawi, Qais Sawari, Walid Sawari, Hamzeh Chaldawi 34 years old, married, and father of 4 children; Hossein Mazra’eh, Hassan Hezbawi son of Ramazan; Hadi Hezbawi son of Ramazan; Mohsen Hezbawi son of Ramazan; Jamil Hezbawi son of Lefteh; Badrieh Hamidawi, Amin Amir Hatami, 23 years-old; Faisal Hezbawi, son of Ramazan; Keramat Hezbawi, son of Ramazan; and Mojtaba Salihawi from Mahshahr”.

“In the Zoyeh alley in Ahvaz, several citizens gathered in front of the house of Ms. Badrieh Hamidawi, the mother of Ali Tamimi, one of the victims of the November 2019 national protest, and chanted slogans,” an informed source told HRANA. “Ms. Hamidawi was arrested because she greeted them.”

The whereabouts of these citizens and the charges against them are unknown as of this writing. It is worth noting, however, that every year during the months of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, many Sunni Arab citizens in the Khuzestan province get detained under various pretexts.

 

The Continued Detention of Baha’i Citizens Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi in Shiraz 

Posted on: May 18th, 2021

After three weeks, Bahai citizens Saeed Abedi and Vahid Dana are still detained in Shiraz in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center known as No. 100. Following mass arrests and home searches of Bahai citizens in Shiraz, Abedi and Dana were arrested by intelligence agents on April 28th.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Vahid Dana has an acute type of chronic hypertension, and was under supervision of a specialist doctor prior to the arrest due to symptoms of angina pectoris. According to a source close to his family, Dana’s heart problems started in 2014, during a previous detention. The continued detention of the two citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with the failure of officials to provide any update on their condition, has raised concern among their families.

Abedi and Dana were arrested in their homes by intelligence agents and then transferred to the detention center. Officers searched their homes and confiscated some of their personal belongings, including cell phones, personal computers, books, and images related to the Baha’i faith.

With the beginning of the wave of pressure on Baha’i citizens, 7 additional Baha’i citizens from Shiraz, (Saeed Ittihad, Qasem Masoumi, Siamak Honarvar, Soroush Abadi, Sedigheh Aghdasi, Alieh Foroutan, and Behrooz Farzandi Ardakani) were also arrested by agents in March. Their houses were searched, and some personal belongings seized by security forces. They were gradually released on bail after about a month.

Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi had been previously arrested and charged in August of 2018. Each were sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, in absentia and without their or their lawyers’ information, by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. These sentences were then reduced to 6 months imprisonment each by Branch 17 of the FarsProvince Court of Appeals. Later that year, they were both pardoned on the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

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 been systematically violated during recent  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.

It is unclear when Dana and Abedi will be released.

 

Christian Convert Reza Zaeemi’s Prison Sentence Reduced to Nine Months by Appeal Court

Posted on: May 11th, 2021

The sentence of Reza Zaeemi, a Christian convert, was reduced by the Alborz Court of Appeals to 9 months in prison and a two-year ban from leaving the country. 40-year-old Zaeemi was sentenced by the Karaj Revolutionary Court to one year and six months in prison and a two-year ban from leaving the country in early February.

According to the HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Article 18, Reza Zaeemi was sentenced by the Alborz province court of appeals to nine months in prison and a two-year ban from leaving the country, a significant reduction from his previous sentence.

In January 2021, Mr. Zaeemi was sentenced to one year and six months in prison and a two-year prohibition of leaving the country by Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj, presided by Judge Shabani. Mr. Zaeemi was charged with propaganda against the regime through propagation of evangelical Christianity.

Zaeemi was arrested in November 2020 by undercover forces near his residence  in Karaj. He was transferred to an IRGC intelligence detention center from an unknown location, four hours later, and denied access to a phone for the eight day duration of his detention, during which time his home was searched by security forces.

After ten days, Zaeemi was transferred from the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center to Ghezel Hesar Penitentiary by the order of the Judge of the Revolutionary Public Prosecutor’s Office in Karaj and was released on bail of 60 million Tomans after one week.

Reza Zaeemi is a Christian convert from Karaj.