Translation by Iran Press Watch
In the name of God,
To the esteemed President of the Islamic Republic,
I, Payam Vali, an Iranian Baha’i citizen, am writing this open letter to you in light of the current circumstances and the injustices and oppressions faced by Baha’is in Iran.
For the past eight months, I have submitted multiple letters of complaint and appeal regarding my situation to the President of Iran and the esteemed authorities of the Armed Forces.
While I underwent interrogation by the Ministry of Intelligence, my interrogators explicitly stated that Parliament and the Judiciary are irrelevant when it comes to the Baha’is in Iran and that these entities would do exactly whatever we dictate to them. Furthermore, I was told that they were working on my case to make sure that a criminal indictment be issued against me in Branch 7 of Karaj Interrogations and the have maximum sentence be handed to me by the Karaj revolutionary court. To some extent, this scenario has been materialized and implemented according to the ruling of the first branch of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj. The interrogator of the Ministry of Intelligence has further stated that they are taking actions to prolong my case until it reaches the provincial appeals court, and even after that, I would not be released and will be kept in prison for years.
Now, with the ruling issued by the Branch 12 of Alborz Province’s Appeals Court, unfortunately the pre-determined scenario of the Ministry of Intelligence has become fully evident. Judicial institutions, in the case of charges brought by the Ministry of Intelligence against Baha’i Citizens, have shown no independence whatsoever.
If my case were to be examined by an independent, just, and courageous court, even one day of imprisonment, after fifteen years of oppression and discrimination against my family and me, would be considered a double injustice, even a single day in prison … Furthermore, the lack of attention and fair adjudication by judicial institutions and the Parliament regarding my continuous complaints throughout these fifteen years about the closing and sealing of my place of business and the impact on my and my family’s livelihood, is another testament to the lack of independence of judicial institutions, as was confirmed to me by the representative of the Ministry of Intelligence. Worse than all these injustices are the fact that they are happening while domestic media in the country is under heavy censorship that prohibits any news of discrimination and injustices against Baha’i compatriots. If Baha’is themselves attempt to inform the people of Iran about the injustices they are facing, they are be arrested and sentenced to long-term imprisonments, similar to what has happened to me.
Under these circumstances, do the Ministry of Intelligence and the judicial institutions not perceive the oppression and injustices against Baha’is as their responsibility? Are they not involved in this process? Please convey my open voice to the officials of Iran through official media channels. If my contact with my family is cut off, any consequences from now on will be the responsibility of the perpetrators and respected officials of the country.
Payam Vali, Baha’i Citizen from Karaj Central Prison
Payam Vali in February / March 2023 was sentenced by Branch 1 of the Alborz Province Revolutionary Court to a total of 16 years in prison, inclusive of the days of detention, a two-year travel ban, and two years of exile to Town of Yasuj . This sentence, which originally amounted to 16 years, was executable for a period of 10 years. And, ultimately, the Alborz Province Review Court reduced his sentence to six years.
Vali’s mother passed away in the month of March of this year, but he was not granted leave to attend her funeral.