Fifteen Baha’i Women Face Indictment in Isfahan

The Isfahan Courthouse has indicted 15 Baha’i residents from Baharestan City in Isfahan County.

Among those indicted are Mojgan (Mozhgan) Pourshafee, Nasrin Khademi, Azita Rezvani-Khah, Shola Ashouri, Mojdeh Bahamin, Bashra Motahar, Sara Shakib, Samira Shakib, Roya Azad Khosh, Noushin Hemmat, Shurangiz Bahamin, Sanaz Rasteh, Maryam Khorsandi, Firoozeh Rastinejad, and Farkhandeh Rezvan Pay.

These women have been charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “assisting in education and propaganda activities against Islamic Sharia.” The indictment was issued on April 8, 2024. Among them, Pourshafee, Khademi, Rezvani-Khah, Azad Khosh, Shakib, Raseh, Ashouri, Bahamin, Rastinejad, Khorsandi, and Hemmat were previously arrested in 2021 and later released on bail.

Furthermore, Bahamin, Rezvan Pay, Motahar, and Shakib’s residences were subjected to raids and searches by Intelligence agents.

Baha’is are subjected to violations of their religious rights, comprising 82% of reports on infringements against religious minorities, according to HRA’s 2023 annual report.

The Baha’i faith is not recognized as a legitimate religion by Iranian authorities, leading to systematic and longstanding violations of the rights of Baha’is in the country. This includes the denial of their fundamental right to practice their religion, which constitutes a clear breach of both 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.

Baha’i Women of Baharestan: 6 Remaining Baha’i Women Released on Bail from Dolatabad Prison in Isfahan

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the remaining six of the 11 Baha’i women arrested in Baharestan, Isfahan, were released on bail from Dolatabad Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on May 22,  Nooshin Hemmat, Shurangiz Bahamin, Sara Shakib, Azita Rezvani, and Sholeh Ashouri were released from Dolatabad Prison. The following day, Mojgan Pourshafie, the last of the 11 women, was released as well.

More than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, unofficial sources say, 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.

Baha’i Women of Baharestan: Sanaz Rasteh and Firoozeh Rastinejad are Temporarily Released, 6 Others Still in Detention

On May 20, Baha’i citizens Sanaz Rasteh and Firoozeh Rastinejad were released on bail from Dolatabad Prison in Isfahan after their arrest in Baharestan.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 11 Baha’i women, including Rasteh and Rastinejad, were detained by security forces on April 25, April 30, and May 5.

Three of the detained women (Roya Azad Khosh, Nasrin Khademi, and Maryam Khorsandi) were released on bail earlier this week, while six others (Shurangiz Bahamin, Sara Shakib, Azita Rezvani, Mojgan Pourshafi, Noushin Hemmat, and Shola Ashouri) are still in the detention center.

In recent months, the homes of at least 29 Baha’i families have been searched by security forces. During the searches, belongings have been confiscated and, reportedly, in a few cases residents have been beaten.

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.