Seven Iranian Bahais were sentenced to prison by the Tehran Appeals and Yazd Revolutionary Courts in the past two days.
Four Iranian Bahais were sentenced to a total of 13 years of prison yesterday in Yazd, central Iran. According to the Human Rights News Agency, the four Bahais were identified as Amin Zolfaghari, Mahboubeh Misaghian, Mitra Bandi Amirabadi, and Hiva Yazdan Mehdi Abadi.
The Branch 2 Revolutionary Court of Yazd sentenced each to 3 years and four months of prison. They were charged with “membership in opposition groups” and “spreading propaganda against the state”. The sentence has not been confirmed by the Appeals court yet.
Amin Zolfaghari was detained on May 21, 2020, and released on bail the next month. Mahboubeh Misaghian was detained on June 1, 2020, by security forces and later released on bail on June 16, 2020.
Mitra Bandi Amirabadi and Hiva Yazdan Mehdi Abadi were detained on May 30, 2020, and released after three months on bail. Hiva was detained previously in December 2017 on charges of teaching music to children. He was later released on bail.
In another case on June 27, three Baha’is of the same family were sentenced to a total of seven years of prison by Tehran’s Appeals Court.
According to the report by the Human Rights News Agency, the three Baha’is were identified as Afsaneh Emami, Hamid Naseri, and Saeed Naseri. The three Bahais were charged with “membership in the illegal Bahai organization which is a threat to national security”. Afsaneh was sentenced to three years of prison, and Saeed and Hamid were sentenced to two years of prison each.
Iranian Baha’is persecuted systematically
Unofficial sources say that 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 Baha’is have been systematically persecuted as a matter of government policy. During the first decade of this persecution, more than 200 of Iran’s Baha’is 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 Baha’is is still ongoing with dozens of Bahais languishing in prisons throughout Iran.