Iran court sentences six Baha’is citizens to 73 years of prison
A revolutionary court in Iran has sentenced six Baha’i citizens to a total of 73 years and 6 months in prison.
Borhan Esmaili, Maryam Bashir, Faranak Sheikhi, Hayedeh Ram, Minoo Bashir and Derna Esmaili, six Baha’i citizens living in Shiraz and Borazjan, were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Dashtestan (Borazjan) to a total of 73 years and 6 months in prison.
According to the verdict issued by the Revolutionary Court of Borazjan on May 19, 2021, and notified to the six Baha’i citizens in recent days, Borhan Esmaili, as a first defendant, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of “propaganda activities against the regime by spreading the beliefs of the Baha’i sect and acting against national security by disseminating and propagating the ideas of the Baha’i sect”.
Other five Baha’is in the case, Maryam Bashir, Faranak Sheikhi, Hayedeh Ram Minoo Bashir and Dorna Esmaili were charged with “assisting in propaganda activities against the regime by spreading the beliefs of the Baha’i sect, producing and publishing vulgar images in social media, and acting against national security by publishing the Baha’i sect’s ideas.”
They have been sentenced to 12 years and 6 months in prison.
In issuing its verdict, the court cited the activities of these citizens for children’s education and training and their membership in the “dissident and counter-revolution Facebook medium.”
The six Baha’i citizens would have to serve 10 years behind bars each, according to Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, which allows defendants to serve only the longest sentence in cases involving multiple convictions.
The Iranian regime has increased its suppression against Baha’is in recent months.
Three other Baha’i citizens living in Tehran were recently sentenced to a total of 10 years and nine months in prison.
Mahvash Adalati Aliabadi, Sepideh Keshavarz and Farid Esmaili were sentenced by Branch 36 of the Tehran Court of Appeals to 3 years and 7 months in prison each, respectively, on charges of “acting against national security through managing the Baha’i organization.”
These citizens were each sentenced to 4 years and 3 months on January 10, 2021, in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on the charges of “acting against national security through managing the Baha’i organization” and “spreading propaganda against the system through promoting Baha’ism”.
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.