Branch 37 of the Court of Appeals of Fars province has upheld the initial sentence against Hoshidar Zarei, a Baha'i resident of Shiraz and a provincial judo champion.
In July, the Shiraz Revolutionary Court issued a one-year prison sentence for Zarei on the charge of "propaganda activity" against the Islamic Republic and five years for "engaging in activities that endorse a religious group conflicting with Islamic Sharia.”
Zarei also had his social rights suspended for five years and was fined 50 million tomans ($1,000), barred from online activities and banned from traveling outside the country for two years.
Baha’is have been persecuted in Iran for decades for their faith and are often accused of being spies or opposed to the Iranian government.
On August 16, the Baha'i International Community denounced a “new wave of repression” targeting Baha’is, saying that approximately 60 of them have been arrested or imprisoned across the country in recent weeks.
Eighteen have faced interrogations, 59 Baha’i-owned businesses were reportedly sealed by the authorities and the homes of nine others were raided and searched.
Shia Islam is the state religion in Iran. The constitution recognizes several minority faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, but not the Baha'i faith.
The Baha’i community claims to have more than seven million followers worldwide, including some 300,000 in Iran.