The harassment of Baha’is

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Dear Editor,

THE Revolutionary Court in Bushehr, southern Iran, has sentenced seven members of the Baha’i religious minority to a total of 21 years in jail on the charges of “propagating against the political system.

The state security forces have arbitrarily arrested the seven Baha’is for their faith in February 2018. Their houses were searched and their belongings were confiscated. They were subsequently released on bail before their trial.

The verdict against the Bahais, Minoo Riazati, Ehteram Sheikhi, Asadollah Jaberi, Pooneh Nasheri, Emad Jaberi, Farideh Jaberi and Farrokhlagha Faramarzi has been issued on May 6 after a very brief summary trial. In another development, a Baha’i woman from Semnan, Yalda Firouzian, was arrested on May 1, 2019 by security forces and transferred to an unknown location. Before her arbitrary arrest, her house was thoroughly ransacked, and her personal belongings and electronic device were confiscated.

On May 1, 2019, civil and women’s rights activist, Mojgan Keshavarz was transferred to the notorious Qarchak prison in Varamin. She is now confined in Ward 7. Ms. Keshavarz was beaten at home in front of her nine-year-old daughter and arrested by security forces. 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 practising their beliefs.

International human rights watchdogs, as well as the United Nations have criticised the Islamic Republic for harassing and jailing Baha’is for their belief.

A January 24 report by the London-based rights group, Amnesty International, says Iran continued a “systematic persecution” of Baha’is last year. It cited the Baha’i International Community organisation as saying Iran “arbitrarily” detained at least 95 Baha’is in 2018.

Iran has repeatedly charged detained Baha’is with national security-related offences without disclosing evidence. The Baha’is in Iran are deprived of university education and the right to work with the government, and their businesses are shut down by the Iranian regime. A large group of Baha’i students who had passed the college entrance exam in 2018 were not admitted to university, and were deprived of continuing their education just because of their faith.
Regards,
Rooplall Dudhnath