Iranian authorities separate Baha’i parents from their children with Shiraz sentences
New York, July 6. 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A campaign by Iranian authorities to uproot the Baha’i community from Shiraz took a grim step 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.
Travel bans and orders to report daily to a provincial intelligence office were also issued. A number of Baha’is also additionally received a combined total of 24 years of internal exile – with individual banishments set at two years.
Among the 26 sentenced to prison, many are couples with young children.
“How can parents take care of their young children when they are unjustly imprisoned? said Bani Dugal, senior representative of the Baha’i international community to the United Nations. “Separating children from their parents is inhumane and designed to torment and destroy the Baha’i community of Iran. And just as these parents have a responsibility to their children, so does the Iranian government, to all its citizens and especially its children. The government is committing a flagrant injustice against these children by separating them from their parents.
Each of the 26 Baha’is was accused of gathering and collusion “for the purpose of causing intellectual and ideological insecurity in Muslim society”. Baha’is had actually gathered across Shiraz as part of their efforts to meet the needs of the local community and to assess the severity of the water crisis in the region.
“The sentencing of 26 innocent Baha’is to long prison terms, exile and travel bans is the latest in more than 40 years of systematic persecution of Iranian Baha’is,” Ms. Dugal added. “Two years ago, 40 Baha’is from Shiraz were summoned to court, where an official threatened to ‘uproot’ the community from the city. We are troubled that the authorities are now following through on their threat and criminalizing the mere fact of being a Baha’i.
Yekta Fahandezh Saadi, Lala Salehi, Bahareh Norouzi, Rezvan Yazdani and Mojgan Gholampour, were each sentenced to 5 years in prison under tazir law, banned from leaving the country by revoking their passports for two years and reporting to the office daily provincial information for two years.
Nabil Tahzib, Sahba Moslehi, Behnam Azizpour, Esmail Rousta, Ramin Shirvani and Saied Hasani, were each sentenced to 5 years in prison under tazir law, banned from leaving the country for 2 years revoking their passports and under house arrest (exiles from Shiraz) for Nabil Tahzib in Izeh, Sahba Moslehi in Ferdows, Behnam Azizpour in Dehdasht, Esmail Rousta in Bafq, Yazd, Ramin Shirvani in Baghmalek, Saied Hasani in Lordegan, as well as daily reports to the provincial intelligence service.
Maryam Eslami, Parisa Rouhizadegan, Marjan Gholampour, Shadi Sadegh Aqdam, Ahdieh Enayati, Samareh Ashnaie, Nasim Kashaninejad, Sahba Farahbakhsh and Noushin Zenhari were each sentenced to two years in prison under tazir law, banned from leaving the country by revoking their passport for two years, as well as daily reports to the provincial intelligence office for two years.
Mahyar Sefidi, Varqa Kaviani, Shamim Akhlaghi, Farzad Shadman, Farbud Shadman and Soroush Ighani were each sentenced to two years in prison under tazir law, banned from leaving the country with their passports revoked and exiled for two years in residence forced for Mahyar Sefidi in Lamerd, Varqa Kaviani in Kashmar, Shamim Akhlaghi in Semirom, Farzad Shadman in Minab, Farbud Shadman in Firuzabad and Soroush Ighani in Mehriz, as well as daily reports to the provincial intelligence service for two years.
Baha’is, Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, have been persecuted in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A secret memorandum approved by Iran’s Supreme Leader in 1991 calls for “progress and development” members of the Baha’i community are blocked by denying them access to university, by disrupting their ability to earn a living and by other discriminatory means.
CONTACT: James Samimi Farr U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs 202-833-8990 [email protected]