Iran Sentences Five Bahai Women to Total Five Years of Prison

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

HRANA – Nika Pakzadan, Faraneh Daneshgari, Sanaz Ishaqi, Nakisa Hajipour and Naghmeh Zabihian, five Baha’i citizens living in Mashhad, were each sentenced by the Mashhad Revolutionary Court to one year in prison. These citizens were originally arrested by security agents in Mashhad on November 15, 2015, and were later released on bail pending trial.

According to the verdict issued by Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad and announced to these citizens on Monday, October 19, 2020, Naghmeh Zabihian, Sanaz Ishaqi, Faraneh Daneshgari, Nika Pakzadan and Nakisa Hajipour were charged with propaganda against the regime by promulgating the Baha’i faith. They have been sentenced to 1 year in prison.
“These citizens are protesting against the verdict, and their case is to be sent to the appellate court,” a source familiar with the status of their case told HRANA.

The trial of these Baha’is was held on September 28, 2019 in the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad.

Naghmeh Zabihian, Sanaz Ishaqi, Faraneh Daneshgari, Nika Pakzadan and Nakisa Hajipour were arrested by security agents in Mashhad on October 16, 2015. Simultaneously with the arrest of these citizens, at least 11 other Baha’i citizens were arrested by security agents in the cities of Tehran and Isfahan. Some time after the end of the interrogation process, they were temporarily released until the end of the trial.

Among these citizens, Naghmeh Zabihian had previously been arrested in the winter of 2011, along with a number of other Baha’is, for setting up a handicraft exhibition at the home of a Baha’i living in the city. He was tried and sentenced to six months in prison for propaganda against the regime.

Baha’is in Iran are prevented from practicing their religion. This systematic deprivation of liberty occurs even though Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights entitle every individual to freedom of religion and belief, as well as to freedom to express it individually or collectively, in public or in private.

According to unofficial sources, there are more than 300,000 Baha’is in Iran, but Iran’s constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism; it does not recognize the Baha’i Faith. For this reason, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for many years.


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