Translation by Iran Press Watch
The webpage of Human Rights in Iran, citing BahaiNews, reports that three Baha’i citizens, Zarrin Aghaie, Vahid Karami and Kayvan Neekaein, were tried by judge Ravaanmehr on 16th of May 2017. Each received a six-month prison sentence, along with six months of suspended prison sentence (total of one year).
The three youth were arrested on 15th of November, 2015 (along with 16 other Baha’is), in the cities of Isfahan, Tehran and Mashhad. All were released on bail after initial interrogation. Mr. Aghaie, Mr. Karami, and Mr. Neekaein were charged with “propaganda against Islamic Republic (through teaching the Baha’i Faith) for the benefit and in favor of the Islamic Republic’s opposition groups. Additional charges included “counter- interrogation tactics training”, “propagation of the Baha’i Faith”, “possession of many Baha’i books”, “possession of many CDs containing material for the purpose of teaching Baha’i Faith” and “encouragement and exhortation of Muslim youths to convert”
The final verdict includes reference to articles 134, 215, 499 & 500 of Islamic penal code, according to which, and due to the age of the defendants and their lack of criminal record, each received a six-months prison sentence. The verdict also included reference to articles 49, 45 & 54 of Islamic penal code, by which each defendant was sentenced to 6 months of suspended prison term. The verdict also includes a reference to the location of the Baha’i World Centre in Israel, which, according to an informed source, had a clear impact on the verdict.
During the trial, the following exact charges were mentioned in the text of the indictment:
- Organizing illegal meetings opposing the Islamic Republic.
- Active membership and participation in organized (illegal) institutions and meetings.
- Effective teaching and propagation activities.
- Promotion of anti-cultural values.
- Creation and distribution of illegal multimedia materials.
- Encouraging and exhortation of Muslims (to become Baha’is).