Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – Maryam Laghaei and Mitra Forsatipour, Baha’i citizens, have been serving their sentences in the women’s ward of Evin Prison since early August this year. Ms. Laghaei and Ms. Forsatipour had previously been sentenced by the Revolutionary Court to 3 months and 1 year in prison, respectively.
According to the HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, Maryam Laghaei and Mitra Forsatipour, Baha’i citizens, have been serving their sentences in the women’s ward of Evin Prison since July this year.
Mitra Forsatipour and Maryam Laghaei, Baha’i citizens of Gilavand, district of Damavand City, were arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents on October 20 and 21, 2018, respectively, and transferred to the detention center of Ward 209 of Evin Prison. At the time of the arrest, their home was searched, and agents confiscated a number of their personal belongings, including laptops, cell phones, and cameras. They were on bail, to await trial, shortly after the end of the interrogation process.
Ms. Forsatipour and Ms. Laghaei were later tried by a branch of the Revolutionary Court, on charges of propaganda activities against the regime. They were convicted and sentenced to one year and three months in prison each.
It should be noted that during 1996, the body of Mitra Forsatipour’s grandmother was exhumed by unknown individuals in the Baha’i cemetery of Gilavand (Golestan Javid); the number of exhumations of Baha’i deceased reached to two.
Gilavand is in the district of Damavand city and is located on the Tehran-Firuzkooh road.
Baha’i citizens in Iran are deprived of the right practice their religion. This systematic deprivation of their rights occurs despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which entitle any individual to freedom of religion and belief and also freedom to express it individually or collectively and in public or in private.
According to unofficial sources, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran, but Iran’s constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize the Baha’i faith. For this reason, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated over past years.