Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – Eight Baha’i citizens of Shiraz, Sedigheh Aghdasi, Alieh Foroutan, Siamak Honarvar, Qassem Masoumi, Saeed Ettehad and Behrooz Farzandi Shiraz, were sentenced by the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court to more than 19 years and 6 months in prison.
According to the HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, the Revolutionary Court handed down sentences totaling more than 19 years, 6 months, to Baha’i citizens of Shiraz Sedigheh Aghdasi, Alieh Foroutan, Siamak Honarvar, Qassem Masoumi, Saeed Ettehad and Behrouz Farzandi.
A hearing on the charges against these citizens was held in this branch on October 9th, 2021, and the verdict issued by the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz was announced on November 2, 2021. Each received sentences of 7 months and 16 days in prison each on charges of propaganda activities against the regime and 31 months and 16 days in prison for membership in anti-regime groups. If their sentences are upheld, according to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, 31 months and 16 days of imprisonment will be applicable as a severe punishment for each of these Baha’i citizens.
Arrest of these citizens by security forces occurred on April 6, 2021. All were transferred to solitary confinement in law enforcement detention centers under the supervision of IRGC intelligence and the Shiraz Ministry of Intelligence detention center, and were not released on bail until May 2021, temporarily, until the end of the trial.
Baha’i citizens are denied the right to exercise their religion. This systematic deprivation stands in violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which both affirm that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
According to unofficial reports, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran. While the constitution recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism as accepted religions (People of Book, as articulated in Sharia law), it denies recognizing Baha’i faith, which conclusively leads to the systematic violation of their rights.