Iranian authorities have summoned nine Baha’i citizens to begin prison terms after convicting them of security crimes for peaceful activities including proselytizing for the Baha’i faith.
On April 6, nine Baha’i men and women were summoned to serve their prison terms in Alborz Province, west of the capital Tehran. They were told to present themselves within five days to serve their sentences.
The nine Baha’i men and women were identified as Houman Khoshnam, Elham Salmanzadeh, Payam Shabani, Kianoush Salmanzadeh, Sorush Agahi, Parvan Manavi, Jamileh Pakrou, Peyman Manavi and Neda Shabani.
Earlier in August 2020, these Baha’i citizens were sentenced to one year in prison each by Branch 2 of the Shahriar Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Panahi, and the Tehran Court of Appeals upheld the sentence.
According to the verdict, which was upheld by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals, presided over by Judge Seyed Ahmad Zargar, the Baha’i men and women were sentenced to one year in prison each on charges of “propaganda activities against the state through proselytizing for the Baha’i faith.”
They were previously detained by security forces in Andisheh district in Karaj, between September and December 2018, and transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center, Ward 209 of Evin Prison. They were subsequently released on bail until the end of the trial.
The homes of the Baha’i citizens were searched, and their personal belongings including their religious books, electronic devices, computers, and smartphones were confiscated upon arrest.
The Iranian regime does not recognize the Baha’i community, with more than 300,000 members in the country. Instead, for four decades, Iranian authorities have routinely arrest minority Baha’is for engaging in religious activities, accusing them of national security offenses without disclosing evidence. Most are charged with “propagation” of the Baha’i faith, which authorities consider to be a form of anti-regime propaganda.