Baha’i Faith Members Sentenced to 12 Years Imprisonment in Kerman

Iranian Baha'i women

Two Iranian Baha’i women, Kimia Mostafavi and Kiana Rezvani, were sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison.

According to the verdict issued by the Revelutionary court of Kerman, the Baha’i women were each sentenced to five years in prison for “membership in Baha’i community” and one year in prison for “spreading ropaganda against the state in favor of opposition groups.”

If the Appeals Court upholds the sentences, the Baha’i women would have to serve five years behind bars each, according to Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, which imposes the maximum punishment for the charge that carries the heaviest sentence in cases involving multiple convictions.

The two Iranian Baha’i women, had been arrested on January 19, 2019, by the state security security forces. They were released on bail five days later.

Kiana Rezvani had been previously deprived of education due to her faith. After participating in the National University Entrance Exam, her file was flagged as ‘deficiency on file’ on the National Organization for Educational Testing website. This flag is used for Baha’i students who are deprived of continuing their studies.

In another development, an Iranian Baha’i woman residing in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern Khuzestan Province, has been sentenced to one year in jail by the Revision Court of Khuzestan Province. The woman identified as Mitra Badrnejad had been arrested on March 3, 2018, and temporarily released on bail. She was subsequently sentenced to five years in 2018.

Iran considers its Baha’is to be heretics with no religion. Rights groups say authorities routinely arrest members of Iran’s estimated 300,000-strong Baha’i minority for expressing or practicing their beliefs.

Widespread and systematic attacks continue to take place against the Baha’is and other religious minorities, including Iran’s attacks on Baha’i places of worship and cemeteries, intimidation, persecution, arbitrary arrests and detention, denial of access to education and incitement to hatred.

According to Amnesty International, in 2018 alone, authorities arbitrarily detained at least 95 members of the Baha’i Faith in Iran.

In December 2018 the General Assembly approved a resolution passed by its Third Committee that calls upon the Iranian government to “release all religious practitioners imprisoned for their membership in or activities on behalf of a recognized or unrecognized minority religious group, including the remaining imprisoned member of the Baha’i leadership.”