In yet another assault upon the peaceful Bahá’í community in Iran, 24 more Bahá’ís were recently imprisoned.
They ranged in age from 21 to 60.
The Gorgan Revolutionary Court in the province of Golestan issued a three-page joint verdict in January.
“It sentenced two individuals to 11 years in prison, 13 to nine years in prison, and nine to six years in prison,” according to the Bahá’í International Community. “Their charges were solely based on their membership and activities in the Bahá’í community, demonstrating the religious motives behind the arrests and sentencing.
“The verdict, for example, states that the belief of the Bahá’ís … is, in itself, considered propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.”
Bahá’ís believe their faith “began with the mission entrusted by God to two Divine Messengers — the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh,” according to Bahai.org.
Bahá’ís believe their faith to be an independent religion. They are Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority and number about 300,000.
“The Iranian authorities have, once again, sentenced innocent individuals to prison for no other reason than their Faith,” said Diane Ala’i, a representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva. “These individuals are husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers to their families, law-abiding citizens who use the principles of their religion to contribute to the betterment of their country.
“And instead of allowing them more opportunities, the Iranian authorities put them behind bars, depriving them of their most basic rights.”
There are real people behind the statistics, so it’s important to acknowledge them. Following are the names of the 24 individuals and their sentences:
11 years’ imprisonment: Shahnam Jazbani and Sheida Ghoddousi.
9 years’ imprisonment: Farahnaz Tebyanian, Pouneh Sanaie, Parisa Shahidi, Mona Amri, Mojdeh Zohouri Golkenari, Behnam Hasani, Hona Aghighian, Hona Koushk-Baghi, Bita Hedayati, Vesagh Sanaie, Shohreh Samimi, Bita Mowhebati and Parivash Shojaie.
6 years’ imprisonment: Roufia Pakzadan, Nazi Tahghighi Hesari, Soudabeh Mehdinejad Behnamiri, Mitra Nouri, Shiva Rowhani, Navid Moallem, Houshmand Dehghan, Karmilia Bidelian and Maryam Dehghan.
Glenn Franco Simmons is a Bahá’í.