Court of Appeals: Teaching Baha’i Faith Not Propaganda Against the Regime; Liza Tebyanian Acquitted



Translation by Iran Press Watch

Liza Tebyanian
Liza Tebyanian

HRANA News Agency – Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Court of Appeals dismissed the charges brought against Liza Tebyanian in the lower court and ordered the acquittal of this Baha’i citizen. The court, referring to the fact that teaching Baha’i Faith is not propaganda against the regime, has acquitted this Baha’i citizen of the charge. Liza Tebyanian was previously sentenced to 7 months imprisonment for propaganda against the regime.

According to HRANA News Agency, the Human Rights Activists news agency, in its Iran report on December 31, 2018, a Baha’i citizen named Liza Tebyanian was acquitted in the Alborz Province Court of Appeals of the charges previously brought before a lower court.

In part of the verdict issued by Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Court of Appeals, headed by Judge Ali Badri, is this advice regarding Liza Tebyanian: “The propagation of the Baha’ism does not constitute propaganda against the regime. Basically, in the law, belief in Baha’i Faith has not been criminalized so as to be able to prosecute or punish anyone under this charge…”

Another part of the proceedings states: “Basically religious propagation, which is not considered to be against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its sovereignty, is not considered a crime; [considering it a crime] is contrary to the Constitutional rights of citizenship.”

This court accordingly vacated the verdict of the lower court and ordered the acquittal of Liza Tebyanian.

Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj sentenced this Baha’i citizen to endure 7 months of prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” in August 2018.

Ms. Tebyanian was arrested by security forces on March 15, 2017, and released on bail on March 26, 2017; from then until the end of the trial she was free from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj.

In November of this year, HRANA published a detailed report of the pressure on the Baha’i community and the arrest of believers in the religion. According to the report, Baha’is in different cities of the country have faced a new wave of oppression and noticeable human rights violations since March 21 of last year up to November 28, 2018. The prevention of at least 58 Baha’i students during this year’s National University Entry Exam from continuing their education, the expulsion of at least 11 Baha’i students at different levels from universities, the prohibition of economic activity and the dismissal of at least 6 Baha’is from their own business or private companies. In addition:

  • summons and arrest of 72 Baha’is by security forces
  • the conviction of 24 Baha’is to a total of 46 years of imprisonment and 9 years of exile
  • the provision of extensive cultural and media propaganda products for the purpose of oppression against Baha’is
  • sealing and continued closure of many Baha’i businesses
  • the destruction of graves and prevention of the burial of Baha’is in Baha’i cemeteries In various cities

This only reflects a part of the increase in pressure on members of this community since March 21 of last year up to November 28, 2018.

Baha’is in Iran are denied freedoms related to religious beliefs, and experience systematic exclusion. In accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, everyone has the right to freedom of religion and conversion of their religion as a result of their convictions, as well as the freedom to express it individually or collectively and publicly or in secret.

According to unofficial sources in Iran, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith. For this reason, Baha’i rights in Iran have been systematically violated in recent years.

Document showing appeal court’s decision

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