Ten-Year Shutdown of Baha’i-Owned Business: A Report on Sealing of Mr. Payam Vali’s Business

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Source: www.hra-news.org

Translation by Iran Press Watch

According to HRANA News Agency, the optician business of Payam Vali, a Baha’i citizen, was shut down by government agencies over ten years ago and remains closed to this day.

Mr. Vali has made numerous attempts over the last ten years to gain legal remedy through the Appeals Court, the Supreme Court, the Court of Administrative Justice, as well as other government agencies, to no avail. Most recently, the Chief Justice of the Court of Administrative Justice denied Mr. Vali’s request for the enforcement of Article 79 of the Court of Administrative Justice.

The denial of his request by the Court of Administrative Justice after 10 years is occurring despite, when in rulings by the judges at that court and the Justice Administration, the illegal actions of entities such as the Security Council, the Public Places Supervision Office and the Health and Medical Network of the City of Nazarabad have been recorded, and the aforementioned records have previously been published.

According to Article 79 of the Court of Administrative Justice, if the Head of the Judiciary or the Chief Justice of the Court of Administrative Justice finds the final judgment of the other Court branches contrary to the rule of law or Shari’a law, the Chief Justice would declare the reason and refer the case for trial on merits to other branches.

It has been reported that Mr. Vali intends to submit his complaint regarding the procedure for hearing and obtaining the right to conduct business to the higher legal authorities of the country.

According to Mr. Vali, “After 10 years and 10 judgments against (the request) to investigate the unfair handling of the hearings by the judiciary institutions, in accordance with Article 90 of the Constitution, the only authority to handle a grievance against the Judiciary Power and the Executive Branch is the Commission for Article 90 of the Islamic Consultative Assembly. This is the last entity within the country and the next resource would be international law enforcement agencies.”

A source close to Mr. Vali told HRANA: “Payam’s de novo hearing was denied by Branch 10 of the Appeals Court of the Administrative Justice, which was communicated to Mr. Vali after passage of one year.”

The same source explained that the underlying reason for the difficulties Mr. Vali has faced while seeking legal remedy is due to his Faith. “In 2010 the entity for addressing complaints posted on its website that Mr. Vali’s complaint was rejected solely because of his belief in the Baha’i Faith and his refusal to recant his belief. This body announced that it would not grant a hearing unless Mr. Vali recants his belief.”

In an excerpt from an open letter recently addressed to Iranian authorities regarding his situation, Mr. Vali states, “On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the sealing of my business, and having received the eleventh ruling, I request that the illegal sanctions of the Security Council be revoked, that the Health Network issue a permit for optometry for an optometrist of my choice, that the Public Places Supervision Office constitute the legal capacity, that the Trade Union Association and the related union renew the business license, and that my business premise be immediately unsealed, and the financial and emotional damages that have been imposed on me and my family during the past 10 years as a result of actions contrary to Articles 19 and 23 of the Constitution be determined.”

Mr. Vali and his family have previously suffered difficulties due to their Faith. In 1990, Mr. Vali’s 12-year-old brother was murdered by an extremist mob from the village of Hussein Abad, Nazarabad Province. The mob had been incited by anti-Baha’i rhetoric and given to believe that it is permissible to shed the blood of Baha’is. Only 10-years-old at the time, it was Mr. Vali who found the body of his 12-year-old brother in a well.

Baha’i citizens in Iran are deprived of the freedoms associated with religious beliefs. This systematic persecution is in contradiction to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that everyone has the right to freedom of religion, changing of religion and the freedom to express it individually or collectively and in public or in secret.

According to unofficial sources, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize the Baha’i religion. For this reason, the rights of Bahá’ís in Iran are systematically and continuously violated in the years since the Islamic Revolution.

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