Baha’i Citizen, Farid Zirgi Moghaddam, Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

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Source: www.hra-news.org

Translation by Iran Press Watch

HRANA News Agency – Mr. Farid Zirgi Moghaddam, a Baha’i citizen living in Birjand, has his conviction upheld and been sentenced to five years in prison by Branch 4 of the South Khorasan Court of Appeals on two of the charges in his case. A conviction on a third charge, for which he was sentenced to one-year in prison by the Birjand Criminal Court, is awaiting a final verdict.

Per HRANA, Mr. Farid Zirgi Moghaddam faced two charges in the first part of his case, propaganda against the regime and with membership in the “illegal Bahai organization”. In July 2020 he was convicted on both charges by Branch 1 of the Birjand Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Jafar Islamkhah, and sentenced to six years in prison. His case was heard by Branch 4 of the South Khorasan Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Ebrahim Ramezani and Hamid Arabzadeh.

In August 2020, in the second part of his case, Mr. Zirgi Moghaddam was convicted on charges of “insulting the sanctities of Islam” by Branch 102 of the 2nd Criminal Court of Birjand, headed by Judge Mehdi Shiri Abbasabad and sentenced to one year in prison. He is awaiting final verdict on appeal.

Cited as one of the reasons for his conviction and sentencing was the accusation of him forwarding information about the interpretation of the Baha’i faith of Mahdism, finality of Islam, and resurrection in a telegram channel.  The court cited management of a telegram channel with Baha’i members as the main reason of its verdict. It is worth notating that Baha’i institutions and organizations were forced by the Iranian Regime to cease functioning in Iran many years ago.

Mr. Zirgi Moghadam’s arrest occurred on August 12, 2020, by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in Birjand. He was released on 150 million Toman bail on September 16, 2020. Prior to his arrest, agents searched his home and confiscated some of his personal belongings, including Mr. Zirgi Moghadam and his family’s cell phones and personal computer.

Pro-government media at the time reported the arrest of a citizen in Birjand, quoting the General Intelligence Office of South Khorasan Province. The security agency also claimed, without identifying him, that the man had been “involved in intensifying sanctions” in the Alborz and South Khorasan provinces and was a member of a misguided sect.

Security agencies and pro-government media often refer to Baha’is as members of the “misguided sect.”

In July of this year, Mr. Zirgi was sentenced by Branch 1 of the Birjand Revolutionary Court, headed by Judge Jafar Islamkhah, for the first part of his case to six years in prison on charges of membership in an illegal Baha’i organization and propaganda against the regime.

In August of this year, in the second part of his case, he was sentenced by Branch 102 of the 2nd Criminal Court of Birjand, headed by Judge Mehdi Shiri Abbasabad, to one year in prison for “insulting the sanctities of Islam” and is awaiting a final verdict.

One of the reasons for issuing this sentence is forwarding information about the interpretation of the Baha’i faith of Mahdism, finality of Islam, and resurrection in a telegram channel.

Farid Zirgi Moghadam was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in Birjand on 12 August and was released on 150 million Toman bail on 16 September 2020. Prior to his arrest, officers searched his home and confiscated some of his personal belongings, including Mr. Moghadam and his family’s cell phones and personal computer.

Pro-government media at the time reported the arrest of a citizen in Birjand, quoting the General Intelligence Office of South Khorasan Province. The security agency also claimed, without identifying him, that the man had been “involved in intensifying sanctions” in the Alborz and South Khorasan provinces and was a member of a misguided sect.

Security agencies and pro-government media often refer to Baha’is as members of the “misguided sect.”

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One Response

  1. Brooks Garis

    October 11, 2020 12:47 pm

    Dear Mr. Zirgi Moghaddam is a victim of unjust and unfair treatment by officials seeking to protect their positions in the administrative machinery of Iran’s government by currying the favor of religious zealots who are, themselves seeking to secure notoriety and the recognition of the highest leaders in the land. In such a system, what rights are protected, what thoughts are not a danger? Such a judicial system is clearly not the fearless reliance on divine teachings demonstrated by such courageous and selfless citizens as Mr. Zirgi Moghaddam, other members of the Baha’i Faith, and their kindly and brave supporters.

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