Soheil Keshavarz, Baha’i Citizen, Begins Prison Sentence

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

According to HRANA, the Human Rights Activists’ News Agency in Iran, Soheil Keshavarz, a Baha’i citizen residing in Qazvin, has been taken to the Qazvin Prison to begin serving his six-month sentence after the security forces searched his house on Saturday, June 9, 2018.  Mr. Keshavzar was originally arrested by the Qazvin Information Office in December 2016 during a raid on his home.  He was detained and interrogated for a period of 25 days before being released on bail await trial.

Baha’i citizens in Iran are systematically deprived of freedoms related to religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation is in direct contradiction to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Iran is signatory, “all persons have the right to religious freedom, the right to change their religion or belief, and the freedom to express their belief individually or collectively in public or private.”

Iran’s Constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith as a religion. The Regime has used this to justify systematic denial and violation of the civil rights of the Baha’is over the years.

As the Iranian Regime has forced the Baha’i community to disband its administrative bodies, it is difficult to accurately assess the number of Baha’is in Iran. However, based on unofficial sources, it is believed there are over 300,000 Baha’is currently living in Iran.


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