Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – Yesterday, the Court of Appeals of Eastern Azarbaijan Province issued an acquittal order for six Baha’i citizens residing in Tabriz. In June of this year, these citizens had been sentenced to a total of 36 months in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Tabriz. They had been arrested by security forces in mid-November of last year, and after approximately one month had been released on bail until the last stages of the court proceedings.
According to HRANA, the news arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, on Saturday, 3 August, 2019, six Baha’i citizens residing in Tabriz who had previously been sentenced to a total of three years of imprisonment were acquitted by Branch 26 of the Appeals Court of Eastern Azarbaijan Province.
Prior to this, on 15 June 2019, Kambiz Misaghi, Farzad Bahadori, Monika Alizadeh (Aqdasi), Shabnam Isa-Khani, Shahriar Khodapanah and Kheirollah Bakhshi were each sentenced to six months in prison, charged with “membership in the illegal Baha’i administration”. The court hearing to address the charges against these Baha’i citizens was held on 11 June, 2019 at Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Tabriz, presided over by Judge Haml-bar.
Over the 17th, 18th and 20th of November 2018, 6 Baha’i citizens in the city of Tabriz, Kheirollah Bakhshi, Monika Alizadeh (Aghdasi), Kambiz Misaghi, Shahriar Khodapanah, Farzad Bahadori and Shabnam Isa-Khani, were arrested by security officers; and on December 16 2018, they were released on 250 million tumans [approx. $59,000] bail until their trial.
Baha’is 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), to both of which Iran is a 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 in private.”
According to unofficial sources in Iran there are more than 300,000 Baha’is living in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only the religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrian, and does not recognize the Baha’i religion. This is why over past years Baha’is’ rights have been systematically violated in Iran.