IRAN: Freedom of religion or belief: Monthly FORB news digest about Baha’is and Christians in Iran in June
Fardin Qamsari begins a 1-year sentence in Tehran
Hrana / Sens Daily (30.06.2022) – On June 18, Fardin Nadaafeyaan Qamsari was summoned to Evin Prison in Tehran to begin a one-year sentence. His arrest, in October 2019, and sentencing were not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. In October 2019, a Revolutionary Court headed by a notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayeseh who was also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran) to long prison terms), sentenced him to one year in prison, with a deduction for days he was detained before the trial. This sentence was confirmed by the Provincial Review Court. He was charged with making images and sculptures relating to the Baha’i Faith, and holding Baha’i meetings.
Three Baha’i citizens arrested in Shiraz
Iran Press Watch (28.06.22) – On Sunday, June 26, 2022, three Baha’i citizens, Shaghayegh Khaneh-Zarin, Negar Ighani and Zhila Sharafi Nasrabadi were arrested by security forces in Shiraz and taken to an unidentified location.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Sunday, June 26, 2022, security forces arrested three Baha’i individuals in Shiraz.
Iranian authorities separate Baha’i parents from their children with Shiraz sentences
Iran Press Watch (27.06.22) – A campaign by Iranian authorities to uproot the Baha’i community in Shiraz took a dark step forward, earlier in June, when Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced 26 Baha’is to a combined total of 85 years in prison. Each individual was sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to five years.
Hrana / Sens Daily (25.06.2022) – On June 17, Haayedeh Raam was taken to Adelabaad Prison in Shiraz to begin serving his ten-year sentence. He is charged with “acting against the security of the country by publishing and propagating the thoughts of the Baha’i sect.” Various personal effects relating to the Baha’i religion were also ordered confiscated. Five of his fellow-defendants in this case have also been summoned and are expected to begin their sentences soon.
In May, 2021, a Revolutionary Court in Borazjan, the chief city of Dashtestan county, Bushehr Province, handed down 10-year sentences to Mr. Raam, along with Borhan Ismaa`ili, Maryam Bashir, Faraanak Shaykhi, Minu Bashi and Darna Ismaa`ili. The court findings cited the accused’s involvement with child education and membership of the counter-revolutionary web site, Facebook.Baha’i children’s rights activist Samin Ehsani imprisoned
Iran Press Watch (17.06.2022) – On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Baha’i children’s rights activist Samin Ehsani was arrested and taken to Evin Prison to serve a five-year sentence.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Baha’i children’s rights activist Samin Ehsani was taken to Evin Prison for sentencing.
After six-year trial, 26 Baha’is sentenced to prison In Iran
Iran Press Watch (14.06.2022) – A court in Iran has sentenced 26 followers of the Baha’i faith to prison terms ranging from two to five years, as well as other measures, on charges of “conspiracy to disrupt internal and external security” in what the religion’s leaders say is another sign of the persecution they face.
According to reports received by Radio Farda, the verdict issued by the Revolutionary Court of the southern city of Shiraz is related to a series of arrests of Baha’is in Shiraz between July 2016 and December 2016.
Hrana / Sens Daily (07.06.2022) – Authorities have installed a new wall and gate around the Bahai cemetery in Tehran that adjoins the Khavaran cemetery, where executed prisoners of conscience were buried following the 1979 Revolution. The gate is locked. This appears to relate to recent earthworks to create a new cemetery of Muslims on an adjoining site, and relocating the entrance to the Khavaran cemetery. Last year, the Bahais were informed that new burials would have to be made among the mass graves in the Khavaran cemetery.
Payman Sobhani: The untold story of a Baha’i teenager killed by fanatics in Iran
Iran Press Watch (04.06.2022) – In 2008, the Baha’i International Community published the names of 221 Iranian Baha’is who had been murdered or executed in the three decades since the Islamic Revolution. The youngest on this list was Payman Sobhani Ezabadi, a resident of Saravan in the southwestern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, who was only 15 at the time. Based on his father’s written memoirs, as related by his sister, IranWire is publishing his story for the first time.
Youhan Omidi returns home from four years’ prison and exile
Article 18 (29.06.2022) – After two years in prison and nearly two more in internal exile over 1,000km from his home and family – not to mention being flogged for drinking Communion wine – Mohammad Reza (Youhan) Omidi is finally free, at least for now.
The 49-year-old, who begun his exile in September 2020, four weeks after concluding a two-year prison sentence for “acting against national security by propagating house-churches and promoting ‘Zionist’ Christianity”, was on 6 June told he could return home for 14 days’ leave, after which his term in exile would be considered complete.
Anooshavan Avedian awaits imprisonment as converts summoned to Tehran prosecutor
Article 18 (29.06.2022) – A 60-year-old Iranian-Armenian Christian is awaiting a summons to begin his 10-year prison sentence for “engaging in propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam”.
This comes after his case, and that of two Christian converts facing exile from their home city of Tehran, was sent to the court responsible for executing judgements.
Converts’ five-year prison sentences for ‘deviant beliefs’ upheld.
Article 18 (27.06.2022) – Three house-church members who have been held for over a month in solitary confinement have now been informed that their appeals against five-year prison sentences have been rejected.
Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh, all members of the “Church of Iran” in Rasht, were re-arrested early last month, despite already facing imprisonment for “engaging in propaganda and education of deviant beliefs contrary to the holy Sharia”, under the amended Article 500 of the penal code
Iran claims ‘no-one prosecuted for merely holding an opinion’
Article 18 (22.06.2022) – Iran has once again denied imprisoning anyone because of their beliefs, in a strongly-worded response to the UN Secretary-General’s latest annual report on the the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic.
“No one is prosecuted in Iran for merely holding an opinion or belonging to a particular class or group,” said a statement released yesterday by Iran’s High Council for Human Rights.
Seven Iranian Christians sentenced to total of 32 years in prisons
Article 18 (07.06.2022) Twenty-five Iranian Christians have signed a joint statement highlighting the Islamic Republic’s deprivation of Persian-speaking Christians’ right to work.
The statement, released on Sunday to coincide with International Workers’ Day, says this deprivation is just one of the ways the Islamic Republic has targeted this unrecognised religious minority over the past four decades, with the ultimate aim of its elimination.