The Court of Appeals in Yazd Province recently sentenced Baha’i citizens Amin Zolfaghari, Mahboobeh Misaghian, Mitra Bandi Amirabadi and Hiva Yazdan Mehdi Abadi to a total of 32 months in prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, in recent days, Branch 11 of the Court of Appeals in Yazd sentenced each of the four Baha’i citizens to eight months in prison on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”.
Initially, Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Yazd Province had sentenced these citizens to a total of 13 years and 4 months in prison on a charge of “membership in Baha’s anti-regime groups and the propaganda against the regime”. Upon appeal, they were acquitted from the first charge.
On May 21, 2020, intelligence agents arrested Mr. Amin Zolfaghari and transferred him to Yazd prison. He was released on bail on June 23 of that year. Ms. Misaghian was arrested by security forces on June 1, 2020, and released on bail on June 16, 2020.
Ms. Mitra Bandi Amirabadi and Ms. Hiva Yazdan Mehdi Abadi were arrested on May 30, 2020, and released on bail after three months of detention. These two citizens had previously faced other arrests and convictions. In December 2017, Yazdan 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.
According to an informed source, these two above-mentioned citizens were arrested and sentenced to suspended imprisonment for a period, which ended recently.
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.