The 28th Branch of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced three members of a Bahai family to a total of seven years of prison yesterday.
According to the Human Rights News Agency, the three Bahais were identified as Afsaneh Imami, her husband Saeed Naseri, and his brother Hamid Naseri.
The three Bahais were tried in absentia and their sentences have been confirmed.
Afsaneh Imami, Saeed Naseri, and Hamid Naseri were charged with “membership in illegal organizations which are threats to national security”, for which Afsaneh was sentenced to three years of prison, while Hamid and Saeed were sentenced to two years of prison.
Afsaneh was previously detained and transferred to Evin Prison on February 2, 2019. One month after, Saeed was also arrested in his home, and was also transferred to Evin Prison. Hamid was detained a few hours later in his office.
Afsaneh and Saeed’s home was raided and searched, and some of their personal belongings were confiscated, including their smartphone, computer and Bahai religious books.
All three were later released on a bail of 500 million tomans (about $20,243). Afsaneh was released on March 16, 2019, Saeed was released on April 17, 2019 and Hamid was released on April 24, 2019.
In another case in southern Iran, eight Bahai citizens were summoned today to the 2nd Branch of the Bandar Abbas Revolutionary Court to serve their prison terms. They were sentenced to a total of 14 years of prison in early February.
The eight men and women have been identified as Arash Rasekhi, Nasim Qanavatian, Maral Rasti, Mahnaz Jan Nesar, Omid Afaghi, Mehroallah Afshar, Adeeb Hagh Pejve and Farhad Amri.
They were previously tried in the 2nd Branch of the Bandar Abbas Court on December 24, 2020. They were each sentenced to two years of prison, except for Farhad and Adeeb, who were sentenced to one year of prison.
In addition to their prison sentences, each were banned from membership in political or social groups for two years, and participation in Bahai gatherings. They were also sentenced to forced participation in five sessions of “ethnic” classes.
In addition to their sentences, the court confiscated 30 million tomans in cash (about $ 1,215), and gold and silver jewelry, and some of their other personal belongings including books and CDs.
In late January, a Tehran Revolutionary court sentenced three Bahai citizens to four years and three months of prison each. The three men and women were identified as Mahvash Edalati Abadi, Sepideh Keshavarz, and Farid Esmaeli.
The 28th Branch of the Revolutionary Court presided over by Judge Mohammedreza Amouzad sentenced each of the Bahai citizens to three years and seven months of prison for “gathering and conspiring against the state by managing a Bahai organization” and eight months for “acting against national security by promoting the Bahai faith”.
Iranian Bahais are deprived of freedom of religion as stated in Article 18 of the Core International Human Rights Treaties.
Unofficial sources say there are more than 300,000 people following the Bahai Faith in Iran. However, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize Bahaism. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iranian Bahais have been systematically persecuted as a matter of government policy. During the first decade of this persecution, more than 200 of Iran’s Bahais were killed or executed. Hundreds more were tortured or imprisoned, and tens of thousands lost jobs, access to education, and other rights – all solely because of their religious belief.
The persecution of Iran’s Bahais is still ongoing with dozens of Bahais languishing in prisons throughout Iran.