Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA NEWS AGENCY – The Isfahan Court of Appeals upheld the six month prison sentence Mehrdad Mousavi, a Baha’i citizen living in Shahin-Shahr. Mr. Mousavi, in his initial hearing, had been sentenced to six months in prison by Branch 103 of the Shahin -Shahr Court.
According to the HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, the Isfahan Court of Appeals upheld the six-month prison sentence of Mehrdad Mousavi Kholanjani, a Baha’i citizen living in Shahin-Shahr.
According to this ruling, issued on June 12, 2020 by Branch 8 of the Isfahan Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Seyed Javad Mansouri and Advisor Mohammad Mohammadi Kamalabadi, Mr. Mousavi has been sentenced to six months in prison for “propaganda activities against the regime.”
Mr. Mousavi’s house was searched by Shahin-Shahr Intelligence Office in September 2018. During the search, officers seized and confiscated a number of his personal belongings, including books and pamphlets related to the Baha’i faith, as well as identification documents, business licenses, university documents, computers, laptops, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. On December 27, 2018, Mr. Mousavi was summoned to the Shahin-Shahr Prosecutor’s Office where he was arrested and transferred to Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan.
Mr. Mousavi was later released on bail pending trial. Eventually, despite the court’s ruling that all non-Baha’i items should be returned to Mt. Mousavi, officials returned with a charge of “propaganda against the regime by teaching Baha’ism” and sealed his shop.
“Following the investigation, Mr. Mousavi was acquitted of the charges and the case was closed. However, with the intervention of the Intelligence Office, the case was reopened and Mehrdad Mousavi was sentenced by Branch 103 of the Shahin-Shahr Court to six months term.”, an informed source explained to HRANA.
On March 18, 2019, Mehrdad Mousavi Kholanjani, while appearing in court to collect the confiscated items and pursuing his case, was rearrested again on charges of “propaganda against the regime by teaching Baha’ism“.
“In fact, as soon as the intelligence officer saw him in court, he started insulting Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Mousavi was again arrested for second time on charges of trying to convert and teach Baha’i Faith to that insulting official!”, the source told HRANA regarding Mr. Mousavi’s second case.
Mehrdad Mousavi was sent to a judicial court on March 19, 2019 to be informed of his charges and was transferred to Isfahan Prison on the pretext of the end of office hours and the end of the year holidays. Mr. Mousavi’s home was searched again on March 19, 2019 by intelligence agents, and some of his personal belongings, as well as his daughter’s university credentials, were confiscated from domestic universities and Stanford university, in US. He spent time in a solitary confinement cell in Isfahan Prison until April 26, 2019, and then initially was sent to the quarantine ward and finally was transferred to the health ward of Isfahan Prison.
On April 8, 2019, Mehrdad Mousavi was finally released from prison with a bail of 20 million tomans.
Mehrdad Mousavi Kholanjani was sentenced to one year in prison by Branch 103 of the Court of Shahin-Shahr on charges of “propaganda activity against the regime by teaching Baha’ism” in the second case. Mehrdad Mousavi was finally acquitted during the appeal stage by Branch 8 of the Court of Appeals of Isfahan, presided over by Judge Seyed Javad Mansouri and Advisor Alireza Akbari.
It should be noted that the Intelligence services of the Shahin-Shahr police force has opened a similar case against Mr. Mousavi on charges of ” propaganda activity against the regime by teaching Baha’ism” for which no verdict has been issued yet.
Baha’is in Iran are deprived of liberties related to religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation of liberty occurs while Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights entitle any individual to freedom of religion and belief. Freedom to express it individually or collectively, in public or in private.
According to unofficial sources, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran, but Iranian constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize Baha’i Faith. For this reason, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated over the years.