Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – As reported by HRANA, the news agency of the Human Rights Activists group in Iran, two Baha’i citizens in Ahvaz, Farajollah Bangaleh and Mitra Badrnejad, were each sentenced to 5 years in prison by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Ahavaz.
The sentence may be appealed within 20 days of the notification date. Earlier, on May 14, 2018, Mitra Badrnejad and Farajollah Bangaleh were released on bail pending the conclusion of the inquest.
Mitra Badrnejad was arrested on March 3, 2018 by security forces in Ahvaz. Farajollah Bangaleh was arrested by security forces on April 7, 2018, then transferred to the Intelligence Department in Shiraz
Baha’i citizens in Iran are systematically deprived of freedoms related to religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation is in direct contradiction to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Iran is signatory, “all persons have the right to religious freedom, the right to change their religion or belief, and the freedom to express their belief individually or collectively in public or private.”
Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith as a religion. The Regime has used this to justify systematic denial and violation of the civil rights of the Baha’is over the years.
As the Iranian Regime has forced the Baha’i community to disband its administrative bodies, it is difficult to accurately assess the number of Baha’is in Iran. However, based on unofficial sources, it is believed there are over 300,000 Baha’is currently living in Iran.