Five Shirazi Baha’is Sentenced to Exile in Absentia

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – In the absence of both the defendants and their attorneys, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz has sentenced five of its Baha’i citizens –Farhad Sarafraz, Shahram Mansour, Vahid Dana, Saeid Abedi, and Adib Haghpajouh– to one year in prison and one year in exile each.

”All five men were accused of ‘Propaganda against the regime,'” an informed source told HRANA. The verdict stipulates that all five will serve their sentences in different cities of the Fars province: Sarafaraz is to be exiled to Jahrom, Mansour to Eghlid, Dana to Arsanjan, and Haghpajouh to Larestan.

On August 5, 2014, HRANA reported the arrest of Haghpajouh, Abedi, and Dana; Mansour and Sarafraz were detained by Shiraz security forces four days prior.

Iranian Baha’i citizens 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, everyone is entitled to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to adopt and manifest the religion of their choice, be it individually, in groups, in public, or in private.

Based on unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran. However, Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. Consequently, the rights of Baha’is are systematically violated in Iran.