Trials of Sixty-Five Baha’is in Six Months

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Source: iranwire.com

Kian Sabeti

Translation by Iran Press Watch

Since September of this year, Mitra Badrnejad Zohdi, Baha’i citizen, was sent to Ahvaz Prison to serve a one-year prison sentence. Charge? Her belief in the Baha’i Faith.

“The Appeals Court upheld my original sentence and that of five other Baha’is in absentia. The lawyer has asked us not to report this publicly for now. He may be able to get us some relief by appealing the case to a higher court. In the past few months, since the appointment of Mr. Raisi to the judiciary, the cases of a large number of Baha’is who had been arrested and released on bail in recent years have been re-activated. Many Baha’is have been summoned to the courts, and the courts have issued severe verdicts for these Baha’is. The majority of the preliminary injunctions were upheld in the appeals process. Perhaps the decline in the number of Baha’i prisoners following the end of their convictions over the past year is not sitting well with the new head of the Judiciary. Numerous Baha’i trials and jail sentences in the past six months confirm this claim. Also, let’s not forget the imprisonment of Mehdi Hajati, a member of the Shiraz City Council, for following up on the status of the arrests of two Baha’is, and the conviction of Mehdi Moghadari, a member of the Esfahan City Council, for showing support for Mr. Hajati over the past six months.”

These are statements made by a Baha’i who asks to stay anonymous to IranWire. This person also is one of the victims who has felt, first hand, the full extent of the judicial pressure on Baha’i citizens since the beginning of the Iranian new year (Late March 2019), which coincided with the appointment of Ebrahim Raisi as the Head of the Judiciary.

The closure of the Baha’i elderly-care home in Golshahr, Karaj, the unauthorized search of Baha’i homes and the numerous arrests of Baha’i citizens over the past six months have been examples of escalating encounters.

The latest examples include searching the homes of a number of Baha’is in Tehran, and the arrest of two of them over the last week. All of these actions have been enforced by order of the ranking judiciary official.

Three young Baha’is, Yalda Firouzian, Behnam Eskandarian, and Ardeshir Fanaian, have been jailed for more than five months in Semnan prison without any specific reason being offered to their families. The interrogation of these three citizens ended more than three months ago, but they continue to be detained in Semnan public prison.

Over the past six months, in an unprecedented manner within the last few years, a large number of Baha’is have been summoned and tried in the revolutionary courts. Heavy preliminary court rulings were issued for Baha’is and many preliminary injunctions were upheld in appeals courts.

According to IranWire reports, just over the last week, thirteen Baha’is were tried in the cities of Mashhad and Bandar Abbas.

On Saturday, September 28, 2019, five Baha’i citizens, Nika Pakzadan, Nakisa Hajipour, Sanaz Ishaghi, Naghmeh Zabihian, and Faraneh Daneshgari, were charged in the third branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Mashhad, headed by Judge Baghdehi, with charges of “Propaganda Against the Regime” under the guise of teaching the Baha’i Faith. The cases of these five Baha’is are related to their arrest in November 2015 in Mashhad.

Also, over the past week, the trials of eight Baha’i citizens, Nasim Ghanvatian, Maral Rasti, Shahnaz Jannesar, Farhad Amri, Mehran Afshar, Omid Afaghi, Adib Haghpejuh, and Arash Rasekhi, were held at the Revolutionary Court in Bandar Abbas. The eight Baha’i citizens’ cases are related to their arrest in March and April of 2017 in the cities of Shiraz, Bandar Abbas and Qeshm.

The trial of Baha’i citizens began at the beginning of the new Iranian year (Late March 2019); Fars Province Court of Appeals sentenced two Baha’is, Pejman Shahriari and Mahboub Habibi to six months in prison, and Kourosh Rouhani to three months in prison with charges of ‘propaganda against the regime’. These three individuals were sent to Shiraz Adelabad prison on May 7, 2019 to start their prison sentences.

The appeal courts of these four Baha’is were held on April 28, 2019 in Kerman. These four individuals, Nima Rajabzadeh, Arman Bandi, Amrollah Khaleghian and Ehsanollah Amirinia, were sentenced to five years imprisonment in the primary court with charges of membership in the Baha’i Faith.

Rouha Imani must stay in Kerman Prison for 9 months due to her belief in the Baha’i Faith

The trials of thirteen Baha’is residing in Kermanshah were also held at the Revolutionary Court of Kermanshah on April 30, 2019. Naghmeh Shadabi, Soheila Shadabi, Nematollah Shadabi, Sepideh Ahrari, Peyman Ghiyami, Borhan Tebiyanian, Farzaneh Amini, Forouzan Amini, Ezzatollah Shahidi, Sino Rasouli, Amir Kadivar, Kambiz Moradipour and Amrollah Eslami are the thirteen Baha’is of Kermanshah who have been tried under charges of membership in an illegal group (Baha’i Faith) and “propaganda against the regime” under the guise of teaching the Baha’i Faith. The legal cases of these seventeen individuals are related to their arrests in 2016 and 2017.

In the second half of April 2019, seven Baha’is residing in Bushehr, Farrokhlagha Faramarzi, Pooneh Nasheri, Minoo Riazati, Farideh Jaberi, Emad Jaberi, Asadollah Jaberi and Ehteram Sheikhi were each sentenced to three years in prison with charges of membership in the Baha’i Faith. The sentencing of these seven individuals are related to their arrests back in 2017.

Farzad Rouhani, after spending three and a half months of temporary detention in prison, was tried on the charge of “membership in the Baha’i Faith with intention of disturbing the security of the country” on May 15 of this year. A day after the trial, this Baha’i citizen was released on bail. The court of appeals of another Baha’i in Yazd, Moin Mohammadi, was held in June when he was sentenced to the maximum sentence of one year of imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” under the guise of teaching the Baha’i Faith in cyberspace.

On June 11 of this year, six Baha’i residents of Tabriz stood trial at Branch One of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court on charges of membership in the illegal Baha’i Faith. Shabnam Isakhani, Farzad Bahadori, Monika Alizadeh, Kambiz Sadeghi, Shahriar Khodapanah and Kheirollah Bakhshi are six Baha’i citizens from Tabriz. Four days later, the six were each sentenced to six months in prison. Forty-five days later, an appeals court acquitted all six individuals of all charges.

On July of this year, the sentencings of two Baha’is who were arrested in November of 2017 were announced. Sophia Mobeini and Negin Tadrisi were sentenced to ten years and five years in prison, respectively, for charges of administration of and membership in the Baha’i Faith.

On 3 July, 2019, The Second Branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Birjand, headed by Seyyed Hojjat Nabavi, tried Baha’i citizens Bahman Salehi, Simin Mohammadi, Maryam Mokhtari, Bijan Ahmadi, Sagar Mohammadi, Firouz Ahmadi, and Sohrab Malaki, Khalil Malaki and Shayda Abedi without the presence of their lawyers, on charges of membership in the illegal and disruptive to National Security Baha’i Faith, and “propaganda against the regime”.

Three days later, a court order was issued, and each individual was sentenced to six years in prison. The sentence states that all defendants in the case have been sentenced to five years in prison for membership in the Baha’i Faith and one year in prison for Teaching of the Baha’i faith . The legal cases of these nine Baha’is are related to their arrest on October 21, 2017.

In August of this year, Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran, headed by Judge Moghiseh, issued a ten-year prison sentence to Mr. Farough Izadinia. Mr. Izadinia is a Baha’i scholar and translator whose works include the translation of Aldous Huxley’s’ Devils of Loudon. He was sentenced to such severe punishment for charges of acting against the national security of the country through the administration of the Baha’i Faith.

The trial of this Baha’i citizen was held in March of 2019. This Baha’i citizen’s legal case is related to his arrest in February of 2017. Also, on Sunday, August 18, 2019, the trial of Sima Behrouzi was held at the Branch One of The Revolutionary Court of Yazd, headed by Judge Dashtipour. The Baha’i citizen is accused of being a member of the Baha’i Faith and teaching the Baha’i faith. The legal case of this Baha’i citizen is related to his being summoned and interrogated on March of last year in connection with his activities on cyber space.

Also, in September of this year, Tehran’s Court of Appeals, headed by Judge Zargar upheld the initial sentence of five years imprisonment for Samin Maghsoudi, a Baha’i residing in Tehran. This Baha’i citizen was tried and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in The Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court in May of last year on charges of administration of the Baha’i Faith. This individual’s legal case is related to her arrest in October 2017.

The Kerman Revolutionary Court sentenced Kimiya Mostafavi and Kimiya Rezvani to six years in prison on charges of membership in the Baha’i Faith and “propaganda against the regime”. The legal case of these two individuals are related to their arrests in January of last year. Also, on September 2019, Rouha Imani, a Baha’i residing in Kerman, who was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment by The Yazd Revolutionary Court, in November of last year, was summoned to Kerman Prison to start serving her prison sentence. This Baha’i prisoner’s legal case is related to her detention in May 2015.

On 21 of September 2019, Mitra Badrnejad Zohdi headed to Sepidar prison in Ahvaz to serve her one-year prison sentence. In August the Provincial Court of Appeals reduced the preliminary sentence of this Baha’i from five years to one year, but in less than two months the sentence was due to be carried out. Her legal case is related to her arrest in March 2017.

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