Religious persecution and issues – Monthly digest October



Islamic Republic delegation quizzed by UN experts on compliance with international law

Article 18 (14.10.2023) – Iran’s violations of the rights of religious minorities, including Christians, was one of the issues raised by a panel of UN experts this week as they questioned a delegation from the Islamic Republic on its compliance with international law.

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified, calls for states to provide citizens with “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”, including freedom to “have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice”, and freedom “either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching”.

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Iranian Christian refugees resettled in Canada longing to call somewhere ‘home’

Article 18 (04.10.2023) – An Iranian Christian couple recently resettled in Canada have spoken of their longing to finally be able to call somewhere “home”, having spent seven and a half years as refugees in Turkey.

Earlier this year, Article18 released a report outlining the “critical need” for new resettlement opportunities for the hundreds of Iranian Christian refugees in Turkey, and Naghmeh and Yashar’s story offers a further reminder.

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Shiraz condemning three Baha’i citizens to imprisonment, fines, and social deprivation

Iran Press Watch (29.10.2023) – Hassan Salehi, Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi, Baha’i citizens, were each sentenced to six years, one month and seventeen days of imprisonment under the electronic monitoring system, fines, and social exclusions by the first branch of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court.

According to HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, Hassan Salehi, Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi, Baha’i citizens living in Shiraz, were sentenced to prison.

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Appeal Court; Soosan Badavam, a Baha’i Citizen, was sentenced to imprisonment and social deprivations

Iran Press Watch (29.10.2023) – The sentence of four years, one month and seventeen days of imprisonment and social deprivations of Baha’i citizen Soosan Badavam was confirmed by the appeals court of Gilan province.

According to HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, Soosan Badvam, a Baha’i citizen, was sentenced to prison.

According to the verdict issued on Monday, October 23, by the eleventh branch of the Gilan Province Court of Appeal, Ms. Badavam was accused of “deviant educational or propaganda activity against the holy Islamic law in the form of a sect, group, community or the like” for which she was sentenced to 3 years, 6 months and 1 day imprisonment and another 7 months and 16 days in prison for the charges of “propaganda against the regime”. Also, according to the verdict, this Baha’i citizen will be deprived of some social rights for ten years.

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Eight Mashhad Baha’i women sentenced to 32 years in prison in latest crackdown

Iran Press Watch (27.10.2023) – The Mashhad Revolutionary Court has sentenced eight Baha’i women to a combined 32 years and 4 months in prison, as also reported by IranWire yesterday, as concerns grow over the intensifying harassment and repression of members of the religious minority in Iran.

The verdicts were handed down by the first branch of the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, with Judge Hadi Mansouri presiding over the proceedings held in the past weeks.

One of the most severe sentences was given to Roya Malakouti, who was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison. Malakouti has been in prison since July.

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Twenty-six Baha’is in Iran sentenced to 126 years in prison as 10 Baha’i women arrested in Isfahan, and 3 Baha’is in Yazd

BIC (26.10.2023) – In an escalating pattern of persecution against the Baha’is in Iran, 36 more incidents targeting the community have taken place in recent days, affecting mostly women. Ten women, most of them young, were arrested as part of these incidents while 26 additional individuals, 16 of whom were also women, have been sentenced to a total of 126 years in prison.

The 10 Baha’i women were arrested in Isfahan, in central Iran, earlier this week. Three others have also been arrested in Yazd.

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14 Baha’i adherents were collectively sentenced to 69 years and 8 months of imprisonment

Iran Press Watch (26.10.2023) – A number of fourteen Baha’i members: Noushin Mesbah, Samira Ebrahimi, Saba Sefidi, Saeedeh Khozouei, Nasim Sabeti, Azita Foroughi, Roya Ghane Ezz Abadi, Soheila Ahmadi, Arsalan Yazdi, Iraj Shakour, Pedram Abhar, Hossein Salehi, Vahid Dana, and Saeed Abedi were collectively sentenced to 69 years and 8 months of discretionary custodial term and severe complementary punishment by the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic.

A report obtained by the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, indicates that Samira Ebrahimi, and Saba Sefide, were each recently sentenced to 4 years and 5 months of discretionary imprisonment. Arsalan Yazdi, Saeedeh Khozouei, and Iraj Shakour were each sentenced to six years of imprisonment. In total, they received 32 years and 10 months in detention.

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Businesses belonging to Baha’i citizens sealed in Northern Iran

Iran Press Watch (22.10.2023) – Iran’s Shiite clerical government has shut down at least 14 businesses associated with Baha’i citizens in Gorgan, Iran, as another instance of persecution.

Some sources reported that the sealing of the businesses occurred earlier in the week, purportedly “due to the closure on Baha’i religious holidays.” Moreover, there is an ongoing concern that additional Baha’i-owned businesses in the city may also face similar actions.


The officials in Gorgan sealed the businesses “without prior notice” and, notably, have not provided responses to inquiries made by Baha’i citizens who visited the related government department on Saturday to seek clarification on the matter.

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Five years in prison for Iranian Baha’i who tried to bury her grandmother

Iran Press Watch (10.10.2023) – Branch 36 of the Court of Appeal in Tehran has upheld a five-year prison sentence for Shadi Shahidzadeh, a Baha’i citizen currently in detention in Evin Prison.

Shahidzadeh was arrested on May 1 after attempting to address officials regarding the denial of the burial of her grandmother at the Behesht Zahra cemetery in Tehran. The cemetery has refused to release deceased Baha’i remains since March and several deceased individuals have been buried in the Khavaran mass grave cemetery without the knowledge of their families or proper religious ceremonies.

On May 31, Shahidzadeh and three other Baha’i citizens were tried in Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Shahidzadeh was sentenced to five years in prison on the grounds of being a member of “an illicit group with the intent to disrupt the country’s security.” The accusation pertains to her affiliation with the Baha’i community in Iran – Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority and a persecuted group.

Shahidzadeh has been detained in Evin Prison for over five months. She has a five-year-old child.

Four Baha’i citizens sentenced to twelve years on appeal

Iran Press Watch (10.10.2023) – In a recent development, the Tehran Court of Appeal has issued a collective 12-year prison sentence to Baha’i citizens Shadi Shahidzadeh, Mansour Amini, Valiollah Ghadamian, and Ataollah Zafar.

Presiding over the case, Judge Abbasali Hoozan has pronounced the following sentences: Shahidzadeh will serve five years, while Zafar and Ghadamian will each serve two years, and Amini will face a three-year term.

It is worth noting that initially, the Tehran Revolutionary Court had sentenced all four individuals to five years in prison on charges of “membership in illegal groups aimed at disrupting national security.”

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Homayoun Khanlari, Baha’i citizen, begins two-year sentence in Lakan Prison, Rasht

Iran Press Watch (06.10.2023) – Harana News Agency – Homayoun Khanlari, a Baha’i resident of Rasht, responded to summons to begin his two-year sentence in Lakan prison in Rasht on Thursday, Mehr 6th (28 September 2023).

According to Harana News Agency, the news organ of the group of human rights activists in Iran, on Thursday 28 September 2023, Homayoun Khanlari, responding to the summons of to the Fifth Branch of the Prosecutor’s Office of Rasht, reported to Lakan prison to begin his sentence.

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