Iranian authorities have released two members of the country’s persecuted Baha'i religious minority, IranWire reports.
Farin Nedafian Ghamsari was released on February 9 after spending eight months behind bars in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. A revolutionary court had sentenced him to one year imprisonment for allegedly spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic.
Najaf Tomaraei, another Baha'i, was released from Evin on the same day after serving 11 months of his two-year prison sentence.
IranWire has not been able to verify the terms of their release
At least 10 members of the religious minority are currently being held in Evin prison, according to human rights organizations.
The Iranian authorities’ crackdown on members of the Baha'i minority has accelerated since July. The clampdown continued even after the eruption of nationwide demonstrations in September, with dozens of arrests reported over the past few months.
Those arrested are facing charges including spreading "propaganda against the system,” "gathering and collusion with the intention of committing a crime," "acting against the security of the country” and "membership in an illegal group.”
Baha'is in Iran have faced systematic discrimination and harassment since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. More than 200 Baha'is were executed after the Revolution. The Baha’i community also endures arbitrary detention and torture, property confiscations, denial of higher education, denial of economic opportunities, deportations and a constant barrage of official hate speech.
Iran has at least 300,000 Baha’is – making it the country's largest non-Muslim religious minority.
Shia Islam is the state religion in Iran. The country's constitution recognizes a number of minority faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, but not the Baha'i faith.