The Court of Appeal in the northern province of Mazandaran has issued prison sentences and fines for 14 members of the Baha'i religious minority in the province. This follows their arrest on August 31, 2022, in the city of Qaemshahr.
According to HRANA, the human rights news agency, Sanaz Hekmatshe'ar and Bita Haghighi, two Baha'i citizens, have each been sentenced to three years in prison.
The other 12 members of the persecuted Baha'i religious minority, Mani Gholinejad, Negar Darabi, Sam Samimi, Mahsa Fathi, Sameieh Gholinejad, Mojir Samimi, Anis Sanai, Afnaneh Nematian, Basir Samimi, Hengameh Alipour, Golban Fallah, and Nazanin Goli, have been sentenced to pay a fine of fifty million tomans ($1,000) each.
The 14 Baha'i citizens were initially charged with "engaging in educational or propaganda activities contrary to Sharia law of Islam."
In the first-instance court, they were sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison.
HRANA, citing an informed source, reported that the sentences of these citizens were not officially communicated to their lawyers. The lawyers were informed only orally and were prevented from attending proceedings.
The pressure exerted by the Iranian government's judicial and security institutions on the Baha'i religious minority in Iran has significantly escalated, especially after the Woman, Life, Freedom protests began.
Baha’is have been systematically persecuted in Iran for 44 years because of their faith and are often accused of being spies or opposed to the Iranian government.
The Baha’i International Community and other spokespersons note that no evidence has ever been provided to demonstrate these charges.