Total of 30 Years in Prison for Baha'i University Officials


The seven Baha'i educators sentenced to prison are (top row, left to right): Mahmoud Badavam, Ramin Zibaie, Riaz Sobhani, Farhad Sedghi; (bottom row, left to right) Noushin Khadem, Kamran Mortezaie, and Vahid Mahmoudi.
The seven Baha'i educators sentenced to prison are (top row, left to right): Mahmoud Badavam, Ramin Zibaie, Riaz Sobhani, Farhad Sedghi; (bottom row, left to right) Noushin Khadem, Kamran Mortezaie, and Vahid Mahmoudi.

[HRA, 17 Oct. 2011] HRANA News Agency – Seven professors and officials involved in Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) have been sentenced to a total of 30 years in prison. BIHE is a provisional online university established for Baha’i citizens who have been denied the opportunity to study at Iran’s higher education institutes.
According to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, during the last couple of days, Judge Moqayaseh presiding over the 28th branch of the Revolutionary Court has sentenced seven Baha’i citizens to a total of 30 years in prison. The defendants were present in the courtroom when the verdicts were read. Defense attorneys objected to the rulings and filed appeals on behalf of their clients. The verdicts are as follows:

  • Kamran Mortezahi – 5 years imprisonment
  • Vahid Mahmodi – 5 years imprisonment
  • Riaz Sobhani – 4 years imprisonment
  • Mahmoud Badavam – 4 years imprisonment
  • Ramin Zibaie – 4 years imprisonment
  • Farhad Sedghi – 4 years imprisonment
  • Noshin Khadam – 4 years imprisonment

Citing Article 499 of the Islamic Penal Code [1], Judge Moqayaseh sentenced seven Baha’i professors and university officials for being involved in an illegal group with the intention to commit crimes against Iran’s national security. These seven individuals together with nearly 300,000 other citizens throughout the country are members of Iran’s Baha’i Community outlawed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

On May 22, 2011, Iranian security forces raided the houses of more than 40 Baha’i professors, students and university officials and arrested six of the aforementioned individuals. Riaz Sobhani was arrested separately on June 13, 2011. During the last few months, more than 20 Baha’i citizens connected to the online university have been detained, and nearly 50 individuals have been summoned to the Intelligence Agency. Furthermore, several buildings including a laboratory have been sealed, and the university’s website has been filtered and blocked multiple times.

Last week, all of the defendants with the exception of Noshin Khadam were transferred to Rajai-Shahr Prison. On October 15, 2011, Noshin Khadam was transferred to the women’s ward in Evin Prison.


[1] Article 499 mandates three months to five years’ imprisonment. Two cases above have passed the maximum penalty under article 499, and five cases of 80% of the maximum sentence.


4 Responses

  1. Sean

    October 19, 2011 9:29 am

    Iran should have […]

    This comment violated IPW’s acceptable use of comments. Its language propagated hatred. A notice of this change was also sent to the writer. I would like to invite everyone to contribute with respect and use of proper language that upholds human dignity.


  2. anonymous

    October 25, 2011 5:32 am

    I hope that the respected Iranpresswatch editor does not go to0 far in censoring posts, considering that Baha’is themselves are the victims of oppressive censorship in Iran.

    “Under an autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and development is stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the world of religion. When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail — that is to say, when every man according to his own idealization may give expression to his beliefs — development and growth are inevitable.”
    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 197)

  3. anonymous

    October 25, 2011 5:33 am

    “Let us also remember that at the very root of the Cause lies the principle of the undoubted right of the individual to self-expression, his freedom to declare his conscience and set forth his views.”
    (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 63)

    “The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.”
    (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 87)


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