HRANA – Today, Saturday March 7th, Minoo Riazati, Ehteram Sheikhi, Farideh Jaberi and Assadollah Jaberi, four Baha’i citizens, returned to Bushehr Prison at the end of their furlough. In March of last year, these citizens were sent on furlough by an order from the head of the judiciary as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists in Iran, today, Saturday, March 7, 2021 four Baha’i citizens, Minoo Riazati, Ehteram Sheikhi, Farideh Jaberi, and Assadollah Jaberi, returned to Bushehr Prison at the end of their furlough.
These citizens were sent on furlough in March last year by an order issued by the head of the judiciary as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.
These Baha’i citizens were previously detained by the security forces on February 13, 2018, along with three other Baha’i citizens: Emad Jaberi, Farrokh Laqa Faramarzi, and Pooneh Nasheri. Ehteram Sheikhi, Assadollah Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi and Minoo Riazati were temporarily released on March 13th of the same year on 250 million Tomans bail until the end of the trial.
The arrest of these Baha’i citizens of Bushehr was accompanied by a thorough search of their homes, and their personal belongings, including laptops, books, flash drives, external hard drives, and family albums, were confiscated by security forces.
Assadollah Jaberi, Ehteram Sheikhi and Farideh Jaberi, Emad Jaberi, Farrokh Laqa Faramarzi and Pooneh Nasheri were each charged with “membership in a deviant Baha’i group and sect with the intent to disrupt national security”. They were sentenced to three years in prison and banned from leaving the country for two years.
The sentence issued against these citizens was upheld by the Bushehr Court of Appeals in October 2019 after a protest was lodged against the verdict. After referral to the Judgment Execution Unit of Bushehr city, they were arrested and transferred to prison in this city to serve their sentence.
Baha’i citizens in Iran have been deprived of the right to practice their religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation of liberty occurs even though 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 as well as 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 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 for many years.