Zabihollah Raoufi, Elderly Baha’i Citizen, Sentenced to Prison and Exile

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

HRANA News Agency – Zabihollah Raoufi, a 69-year-old Baha’i from Sanandaj, has been sentenced by the Fourth Branch of the Kurdistan Appeal Court to one-year in prison in addition to one year of exile in City of Minab, Hormozgan Province.

According to the HRANA, the news wing of Human Rights Activists in Iran, Zabihollah Raoufi, a 69-year-old Baha’i from Sanandaj, was arrested by security forces in his home on September 17, 2015. Mr. Raoufi was released on 30 million Toman bail six days after his arrest. At trial he was convicted on charges of “propaganda against the regime”. Branch 4 of the Sanandaj Appeal Court, which sentenced Mr. Raoufi to one year in prison and one year of exile to Minab, a city in Province of Hormozgan.

A source close to Mr. Raoufi, while confirming the news to HRANA, said: “Parvaneh Rahmani, wife of Mr. Raoufi, whose case is currently under consideration in one of the branches of the Kurdistan Regional Court of Appeals, also has been sentenced to one-year imprisonment on charges of propaganda against the regime.”

This is not Mr. Raoufi’s first conviction related to his Baha’i Faith. He was previously detained in 2009, and at trial was sentenced to one-year imprisonment, also on charges of propaganda against the regime. This sentence was reduced to a six-month prison term in the town of Touisarkan, and Mr. Raoufi served this prison term in that town.

Baha’is in Iran are deprived of religious freedoms. 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.”
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. However, the Iranian constitution recognizes only the religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith, and has used that to justify the systematic violation of the rights of Baha’is.


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