By Kian Sabeti
Translation by Iran Press Watch
Kourosh Pardis is one of the hundreds of anonymous prisoners of conscience who, because of their beliefs, live in prison rather than at home.
He was arrested at his home 45 days ago and transferred to Evin Prison to serve his sentence.
A source with knowledge of the case has informed IranWire that because of a kidney transplant and blocked arteries, the health of this prisoner of conscience has been endangered in prison, and any medical negligence would put his life at serious risk.
Kourosh’s physician has issued a certificate of inability to withstand incarceration, but so far this medical opinion has not been taken into consideration.
In August 2016, agents of the Intelligence Ministry, after going to the home of Kourosh Pardis, conducted an inspection and search for several hours and confiscated some of his personal effects. They then arrested him on charges of being a Baha’i and teaching chemistry to a few Baha’i students in one of the suburbs of Tehran.
Pardis was released on bail after two weeks, and his court hearing was held one year later in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Mohammad Moghiseh. Kourosh Pardis was sentenced to five years in prison for “membership in the Baha’i administration”. Although this citizen had never officially joined the Baha’i community as a member, his appeal was rejected, and the preliminary sentence was upheld without convening an appellate court.
An individual close to Kourosh Pardis says: “This sentence is basically issued based on erroneous reasons, because Kourosh’s belief in the Baha’i Faith is an internal and heartfelt one, and he has never been an official member of the Baha’i community of Iran.”
He points out that after the Islamic Revolution, because of the government’s persecution and the oppression of newly converted Baha’is (Muslims who had become Baha’is), and the disbanding of the Baha’i administration, no new individuals, other than the children of Baha’i families, officially joined the Baha’i community of Iran.
Those close to Kourosh Pardis, know him as an educated person with a master’s degree in chemistry. He taught at the university for years until he realized that the university’s Protection and Preservation agents had learned of his conversion from Islam to the Baha’i Faith. He resigned his teaching post before he was officially dismissed from the university.
After leaving the university, he started teaching at the technical and vocational training institute. After his first arrest, he gave private chemistry lessons to a few Baha’i youth living in the suburbs of Tehran. These occasional activities were the basis of the judge charging him with membership in the Baha’i administration and sentencing him to prison.
On June 3 of this year, one day before the mid-June school break, suddenly and without issuing a summons, law enforcement agents went to the home of Kourosh Pardis and arrested him, and transferred him to Evin Prison to serve his five year sentence.
At the time of his arrest, this citizen was very weak and unwell, to the point that upon witnessing his condition, the judge at the prison promised him to send his case to file for inability to withstand incarceration. Over the last 45 days the physical problems of this prisoner of conscience have increased, and his health is now in serious danger; but so far no effective actions have been taken to improve his health in prison.
Recently several citizens have been sentenced and sent to prison for having some form of relationship with Baha’is.
Ali Thani, a resident of Baharestan, Isfahan, was arrested in September 2018 along with eight Baha’is in that city. He was sentenced to six months in prison for being a “Baha’i attracted to the Baha’i Faith” and “propaganda activity against the regime through teaching the Baha’i Faith”. This sentence was upheld in the court of appeal. This prisoner of conscience has been detained since his arrest.
Another resident of Isfahan, Muhammad Reza (Kasra) Teifouri, was also sentenced to five years in prison by that city’s Revolutionary Court for the same charge of propaganda against the regime through teaching the Baha’i Faith, by distributing the movie “The Gardener”. His sentence was reduced to one year in prison by the appellate court. On December 17, 2018, Kasra Teifouri was transferred to Isfahan prison to serve his sentence. The movie “The Gardener” is a work by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who is a world-famous Iranian Muslim director, who lives in exile in Paris.