[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] BBC Persian
[Date:] 14 Mordad 1395 - 4 August 2016
From Battle to the Punishment of Shia Apostasy
For years, Baha’is have faced a variety of punishments for their different religious and ideological beliefs, from the death penalty to imprisonment to the destruction of their homes and even cemeteries. The specific reason for this repression has always been, from the Iranian government’s point of view, that they have been puppets, bearing the traces of the enemy, committing espionage, and in its legal form, undertaking activities against national security.
How can individuals’ being different in either religion or belief or cultural or political ideology, result in the death penalty? Nowhere in Iranian national law is dissenting and having different beliefs defined as a crime, and there is no punishment for it; however, the official recognition and restriction of human and citizenship rights to the Abrahamic religions has, in practice, led to those of other religions, denominations, or beliefs of believers/atheists being deprived of these rights, and has imposed much discrimination against them. In some cases, however, the restriction did not limit itself to discrimination, and it resulted in severe punishments and even formal or informal executions; for example, Baha’is have faced various punishments for years, ranging from executions to imprisonment to the destruction of their homes and even cemeteries, because of their different religious and ideological beliefs. This repression has always stemmed from the Iranian government’s point of view that Baha’is have been puppets, bearing the traces of the enemy, committing espionage, and in its legal form, undertaking activities against the national security. These reasons have even led to the death sentence for a group of these people by the courts of Iran....
Mohsen Qara’ati, a Hojatoleslam who has had supporters among religious and traditional audiences for years because of his interpretation of the Quran in the pulpits and is known for promoting the Islamic policies of the Iranian government, describes the situation thusly: “Why do they kill apostates? Is not Islam free? Until now, he has been a Muslim and now he wants to become an infidel. Well, let him go and be an infidel, why does he express it? A person who becomes an infidel, and does not say anything, no one bothers him/her. But when he says, ‘I have become a Baha’i’, then he should be killed…”