Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – Sedigheh Aghdasi, Behrouz Farzandi and Qasem Masoumi, Baha’i citizens living in Shiraz, were arrested on Monday, March 7, 2022, and transferred to Adelabad Prison in Shiraz to serve their sentences.
According to the HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, on Monday 7 March 2022, Sedigheh Aghdasi, Behrouz Farzandi and Qasem Masoumi, Baha’i citizens of Shiraz, received a summons to appear before Branch 14 of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court. They were taken into custody when they appeared in response to the summons, which was made under the pretext of some explanations. The three had not been notified about the execution of their sentences and were not made aware they would be detained.
According to a source close to these Baha’i citizens, the three were transferred to Adelabad Prison in Shiraz after appearing in the Revolutionary Court. The transfer to prison was done through the back door of the court, without informing those who had accompanied the three to the court.
Sedigheh Aghdasi, Behrouz Farzandi and Qasem Masoumi were initially arrested by security forces on April 6, 2021, along with Alieh Foroutan, Siamak Honarvar, and Saeed Ettehad, and transferred to solitary confinement in police detention centers under the supervision of the IRGC and the Shiraz Ministry of Intelligence. They were finally released on bail in May last year, temporarily until the end of the trial.
In November 2021, the first branch of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court sentenced them all to 7 months and 16 days in prison for propaganda activities against the regime, and to 31 months and 16 days in prison for membership in anti-regime groups. The convictions of Mr. Farzandi and Masoumi were upheld on appeal and the sentences of Ms. Aghdasi and Ms. Foroutan were suspended for 25 months.
According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’i live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.
This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a breach of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.
March 21, 2022 2:21 am
A surprising timidity on the part of Branch 14 of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court, hustling people out the back door of the court and off to prison. First lying to get the Baha’is into court in the first place. And then becoming afraid to make public a sentence which it saw fit to pass. Did Branch 14 of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court think the Baha’is wouldn’t come to the court if asked? All Branch 14 of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court needed to say was “You Baha’is are going to jail for your religion. Please come so we can put you in prison.” and the Baha’is would show up. Certainly the Shiraz Revolutionary Court cannot think that forcing people to conform to the clerical way of thinking will make anyone a lover of God’s Prophet and God’s Holy Book. And yet the Baha’is already love Muhammad and the Koran. What more could be asked? And they follow all laws, a command of Baha’u’llah: be obedient to the laws of the country in which you reside. And Branch 14 of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court must already know everything about the Baha’is and it would certainly know this. The state security service has watched every inch of Baha’i life since 1979. As did the Savak before them since 1957. And whatever security service was before the Savak also studied the Baha’is,. Everything is already known about the Baha’is, especially that they are never active politically. They are never “anti-regime”. So next time, just ask the honest Baha’is to come to the court so they can be sent off to prison for the crime of loving God and being obedient to His messenger.