Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – On Thursday, October 12, 2017, five Baha’i citizens underwent trial at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Moghiseh. In the presence of an attorney, Helia Moshtagh, Yavar Haghighat Mahlabani, Navid Aghdasi, Nava Monjazeb Ghamsari, and Negar Bagheri-Tari, defended themselves against the charges of “acting against national security through assembly and collusion”. All were convicted and received sentences of five-years each.
The defendants have 20 days to appeal this sentence.
There is no evidence to support the alleged charges and subsequent convictions. The arrests, trial and sentencing of these citizens is part of an ongoing campaign of religious persecution of Baha’i citizens by the security and judicial apparatuses.
The five were originally arrested on November 15, 2015, along with at least ten other Baha’is citizens, during a day of mass arrests and shut-downs of Baha’i-owned businesses in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad. The other known detainees were Sahba Farnoosh, Keyvan and Parvin Nikaeen, Yeganeh Agahi, Arshia Rouhani, Sanaz Eshaghi, Nika Pakzadan, Farzaneh Daneshgari and Naghmeh Zabihian. Shortly after the arrests, Padideh Sabeti, the spokesperson for the Baha’i community confirmed the detention of 15 Baha’i citizens, but at that time had no information about the reasons for these arrests and who the arresting entity was. All were eventually released on bail to await trial.
It is of note that Judge Moghiseh has been cited numerous time as a human and religious rights violator, including in a May 26, 2010 release by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, which states that Judge Moghiseh, along with two other judges, was “known for conducting swift trials and imposing lengthy prison terms, as well as the death penalty, without any semblance of due process.”