Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRANA News Agency – Haideh Ram, Baha’i citizen, was arrested by the security forces on Tuesday, June 17, 2022, and transferred to Adelabad prison in Shiraz to serve her sentence. Five other Baha’i citizens, who were previously sentenced to more than 64 years in prison in a joint case with Mrs. Ram, received a notice to serve their sentence by the enforcement unit of the Barazjan Prosecutor’s Office. The five are Borhan Esmaili, Maryam Bashir, Faranak Sheikhi, Minoo Bashir and Dorna Esmaili.
According to HRANA news agency, the news arm of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, Haideh Ram, a Baha’i citizen, was arrested by the security forces on Tuesday, June 17, 2022, and taken to Adelbad prison in Shiraz to begin her sentence. Additionally, the five individuals who were tried with Ms. Ram in a joint case, Borhan Esmaili, Maryam Bashir, Faranak Sheikhi, Minoo Bashir and Dorna Esmaili, were summoned to the Barazjan Prosecutor’s Office after receiving a notice to serve their sentences.
A decree issued previously on August 25, 2021, by the fourth branch of Bushehr Province Court of Appeals, headed by Hedayat Rahavi and under guidance of Khalil Abdolahi, outlined the charges and sentencing against these citizens. The decree named Borhan Esmaili as the first-tier defendant accused of “propaganda against The Regime through spreading the beliefs of the Baha’i sect and acting against the National Security through publishing and propagating the ideology of the Baha’i sect” and issued a prison sentence of 11 years. Maryam Bashir, Faranak Sheikhi, Haideh Ram, Minoo Bashir and Dorna Esmaili were convicted of the charges of “assisting in propaganda against The Regime through spreading the beliefs of the Baha’i sect, producing and publishing vulgar images in cyberspace and social networks, and acting against the National Security through publishing and propagating the ideology of the Baha’i sect. Each were sentenced to 10 years, 9 months and one day of imprisonment. With the application of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, 10 years of imprisonment will be applicable for each of them for the charge of “acting against the National Security by publishing and propagating the Ideology of the Baha’i sect”.
Also, according to the decree issued by the Court of Appeals of Bushehr Province, this judicial authority sentenced five of these individuals to two years of imprisonment for one of the charges brought against them at the initial stage of the court, namely “production and publication of vulgar images in cyberspace and social networks”, but has reduced the two year prison sentence and 10 million Tomans fine of these individuals to ninety-one days of imprisonment due to the fact that the published images were “vulgar and not obscene”.
The Court of Appeals of Bushehr province also issued a decree regarding the issuance of sentences related to the activities of these citizens on the education and development of children, as well as what was stated on the “Membership in opposition and anti-revolutionary” Facebook page, confirming the news related to the property seized from these people. The seized property included documents, pamphlets, books, pictures, videos and CDs related to the Baha’i faith, which were confiscated by the IRGC Intelligence agents of Bushehr province during the search of the house.
The first court session of these citizens was held on May 19, 2021, by the Revolutionary Court of Dashtestan (Barazjan) under the guidance of Alireza Kiani.
Borhan Esmaili, son of Gholam Hossein, born in 1968, Maryam Bashir, daughter of Ruhollah, born in 1991, Faranak Sheikhi, daughter of Gholam Hossein, born in 1973, Haideh Ram, daughter of Tahir, born in 1972, Minoo Bashir, daughter of Ruhollah, born in 1988, and Dorna Esmaili, daughter of Borhan, born in 1994, are Baha’i citizens and residents of Shiraz and Barazjan were arrested by IRGC Intelligence agents of Bushehr province on February 1, 2017. They released after posting bail to await trial.
Baha’i citizens in Iran are deprived of the liberty to practice their religious beliefs. This ongoing systematic deprivation occurs despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which entitle any individual to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it individually or collectively and 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 and does not recognize the Baha’i faith. This exclusion has allowed the rights of Baha’is in Iran to be systematically violated over the decades since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.