An Appeals court in Fars Province, southwestern Iran, sentenced 12 Iranian Bahais to overall 33 years of prison.
Yesterday a Shiraz court sentenced four Bahai citizens to a total of eight years in prison. The men and women have been identified as Farham and Shahnaz Sabet, Farzan Masoumi, and Soheila Haghighat, the Human Rights News Agency said.
According to the report, Farham Sabet, Farzan Masoumi, Shahnaz Sabet, and Soheila Haghighat were each sentenced to two years of imprisonment.
In their initial court hearing in the 1st Branch of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court, Judge Seyed Mahmoud Sadati sentenced each of them to six years of prison on charges of “spreading propaganda against the state and membership in opposition groups”.
Earlier, another seven Bahais were sentenced to a total of 19 years and 6 months of prison and a fine of 1 million tomans (about $50).
According to this sentence, Nilofar Hakimi was sentenced to five years and nine months of prison. Navid Bazmandegan, Bahareh Ghaderi, Nora Pourmoradian, Soudabeh Haghighat and Elahe Samizadeh were each sentenced to two years and nine months of prison for “spreading propaganda against the state and membership in opposition groups”. Ehsanollah Mahboub Rah Vafa was sentenced to a fine of 1 million tomans.
Elahe Samizadeh was sentenced to another year of prison by the 105th Branch of the Shiraz Criminal Court and a two-year ban from public and state services. Niloufar Hakimi was also sentenced to another five years of prison by a criminal court.
The Court of Appeals of Fars Province had previously upheld the six year prison sentence for Bahai citizen Shahriar Atrian, without a court hearing.
The Bahai citizens were detained by security forces in Shiraz between 2016-2019 and were later released on bail pending trial.
Iranian Bahais are deprived of freedom of religion as stated in Article 18 of the Core International Human Rights Treaties.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”
Unofficial sources say that there are more than 300,000 people following the Bahai Faith in Iran. However, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize Bahaism.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iranian Bahais have been systematically persecuted as a matter of government policy. During the first decade of this persecution, more than 200 of Iran’s Bahais were killed or executed. Hundreds more were tortured or imprisoned, and tens of thousands lost jobs, access to education, and other rights – all solely because of their religious belief.
The persecution of Iran’s Bahais is still ongoing with dozens of Bahais languishing in prisons throughout Iran.