Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – The first sitting of the appeals court for four Baha’is in Kerman was held yesterday morning. In 2017, Amrollah Khaleghian, Ehsanollah Amirinia, Nima Rajabzadeh and Arman Bondi-Amirabad, were each sentenced to 5 years of prison by the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Kerman.
According to the HRANA News Agency, the news arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, on Sunday, April 28, 2019, the Appeals Court hearings of Amrollah Khaleghian, Ehsanollah Amirinia, Nima Rajabzadeh and Aman Bondi-Amirabad were held, in the presence of defendants and their defense attorneys.
Mohammad Hadi Erfanian Kaseb, a lawyer for one of the defendants, has informed that the court session was held in the First Branch of the Appeals Court of Kerman Province, but the conclusion was postponed for some days. The exact timing of the follow-up trial has not yet been set.
These Baha’is were arrested by security forces in the middle of the winter of 2016-2017; after about 4 months they were released on bail until the end of the trial.
In 2017, the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Kerman sentenced each of the four Baha’is to 5 years in prison for the charges of “membership in the Baha’i administration” and “undermining national security” under Article 498 of the Islamic Penal Code.
Baha’is in Iran are systematically deprived of freedoms related to their 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), to both of which Iran is a signatory: “All persons have the right to religious freedom, the right to change their religion or beliefs, and the freedom to express their beliefs individually or collectively, in public or private.”
According to unofficial sources in Iran there are more than 300,000 Baha’is living in the country, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only the religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, but does not recognize the Baha’i religion. This is why over the past years Baha’is’ rights have been systematically violated in Iran.