In a chilling audio message obtained by IranWire, Payam Vali, a Baha'i citizen currently imprisoned in Ghezelhasar, has exposed new details on the severe oppression and discrimination faced by Baha'i citizens in Iran.
The audio file includes Vali's condemnation of the recent verdict by Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Court of Appeal, which sentenced him to six years in prison, demonstrating the discrimination and injustice faced by Baha'is and their families.
During the audio message, Vali questions the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, discusses the Ministry of Intelligence's alarming practice of publishing "baseless allegations of Baha'i espionage without providing any evidence or justification for the suppression of Baha'i citizens."
He also challenges the credibility of these "unfounded" accusations, denouncing them as outright lies and acts of blackmail.
Furthermore, Vali emphasizes two critical points in his audio message. Firstly, he refutes the notion that any Baha'i individual has been employed in government institutions over the past 45 years with the sinister intent of gaining access to sensitive government documents for espionage purposes.
Secondly, he highlights the fundamental difference between a spy, "who typically infiltrates a community in disguise to covertly gather information, and a Baha'i, who openly and proudly declares their faith throughout their lives."
He also says that the Ministry of Intelligence's accusations of espionage against Baha’is should perhaps "themselves be regarded as acts of blackmail."
As his message reaches its conclusion, the Baha'i prisoner expresses deep disappointment, saying that the judiciary and the Ministry of Intelligence have "transformed into instruments of oppression and discrimination against Baha'is."
He solemnly asserts that these authorities resort to publishing false accusations in an attempt to "legitimize their repressive actions and discriminatory practices” and cautions that anyone daring to expose their deceit will face even harsher punishment and sentencing.
Vali is accused of spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic, cooperating with foreign media and inciting protests via social media.
He was arrested on September 24 after police raided his home and workplace in the city of Karaj, near Tehran. He was severely beaten by the officers after resisting arrest.
Throughout his detention, Vali has endured pressure and threats aimed at coercing him into falsely confessing against himself. But he has continued to deny all charges against him.
The court deemed Payam Vali's interviews with BBC Persian and London-based Manoto satellite television, where he discussed the violation of the rights of Baha’i citizens in Iran, as evidence of his alleged cooperation with hostile countries.
Payam Vali is being held in Ghezelhasar prison where he continues to serve his revised sentence.