Five Baha’i Citizens in Kerman Face Social Deprivations and Fines Following Court Ruling

The Revolutionary Court in Kerman has issued sentences involving social deprivations and fines against five Baha’i individuals: Yekta Fallah, Foad Shaker Arkani, Behnam Pour-Ahmadi, Shahram Fallah, and Paridokht Shojaei Baghini.

A source close to one of the affected families confirmed the court’s decision, stating: “Foad Shaker Arkani, Behnam Pour-Ahmadi, Shahram Fallah, and Paridokht Shojaei were cleared of charges related to ‘propaganda against the regime.’ However, they received sentences of suspended social deprivations for five years. Yekta Fallah was specifically sentenced to one year of social deprivation and fined 50 million tomans as an alternative to a prison term of two years and one month.

These individuals were initially detained in July 2023 during a raid at Shahram Fallah’s home. Security forces searched the premises and their vehicles, confiscating various personal items. The detainees were subsequently released on bail within two months.

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.

Five Baha’i Citizens Arrested in Kerman

On July 12, 2023, in a concerning development, security forces in Kerman apprehended and detained five Baha’i citizens.

The detainees, identified as Foad Shaker, Shahram Fallah, Yekta Fallah, Behnam Pour-Ahmadi, and Paridokht Shojaei, were subsequently transferred to an undisclosed location. During the arrest, agents conducted a search of the house and their vehicles and seized some of their personal belongings.

The exact reasons behind the arrests and the specific location of their detention remain unknown, deepening concerns about potential human rights violations. One reliable source, who spoke to HRANA revealed that these individuals were apprehended at the residence of Shahram Fallah, where they were guests.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian Constitution recognizes only Islam as the official religion, in addition to Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Bahai faith is not considered legitimate by the authorities, and 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.