[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:] Radio Farda

[Date:] 17 Aban 1396 [8 November 2017]

 

Three Baha’i Citizens Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

According to reports received by Radio Farda, Judge Moghiseh sentenced three Baha’i citizens of Iran, previously deprived of their education, to five years in prison each.

After being summoned to the court several times, Rouhiyyeh Safajou, Tara Houshmand, and Sarmad Shadabi were each sentenced to five years in prison in Aban [October/November] this year. They were accused of: “activities against national security through membership in the perverse Baha’i sect”. Iranian officials call the Baha’i Faith a perverse sect.

These three Baha’i citizens were denied their results after participating in the 1393 [2014] National University Entrance Examination and were eventually barred from selecting a field of study.

The three then protested to the responsible institutions, including the Office of the President of the Islamic Republic, the Ministry of Science and the Sanjish [Educational Assessment and Evaluation] Organization, but to no avail.

Rouhiyyeh Safajou, Tara Houshmand, and Sarmad Shadabi were arrested in Esfand 1394 [February/March 2016] and released on bail in Farvardin 1395 [March 2016].

Finally, after being summoned six times but with only two court hearings, Judge Moghiseh sentenced the three to five years in prison.

Baha’i citizens in Iran have been systematically targeted for all kinds of discrimination in the post-revolutionary years because of their religious beliefs. Deprivation of education, the ban on holding public office, sabotage of freelance employment and prosecution are some of the pressures on the Baha’i community in Iran. Several Baha’i leaders have been imprisoned in Iran for many years.

According to Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; and colour, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege”.

Reports from international organizations indicate that Iran has repeatedly been accused of violating the rights of Baha’is.

According to Simin Fahandej, a spokesperson for the Baha’i International Community, despite the encouraging slogans of Hassan Rouhani’s government, the situation of the Baha’is has worsened in some ways.

Previously a spokesperson for the Baha’i community had told the Iran Human Rights Campaign, “Unfortunately, the situation has not changed over the last four years (the first term of the presidency), and if you look at the detention statistics of Baha’i citizens, it has become worse. We now have about 90 Baha’is in prison, Baha’i students are still deprived of an education, hundreds of Baha’i shops have been closed illegally, and there are other harassments that Baha’i citizens are forced to endure on a daily basis”.