Sen's daily

July 5, 2014

Seven Bahais sentenced in Urumiyyeh

Radio Zamaneh, July 4, 2014

The revolutionary court in Urumiyyeh (Urmia), in Iran’s Azerbaijan province, has handed down sentences ranging from six months to six years for seven Bahais. Mr. Fardin A`za’i (Aghsani) and Mrs. Farahnaz Moqadam and Ms. Gisou Sheikh-Hasan-Abadi (فردین اعضایی (اغصانی)، فرحناز مقدم و گیسو شیخ‌حسن‌آبادی) were sentenced to six years in prison. They were sentenced to one year for teaching the Bahai Faith and propaganda against the Islamic Republic through hosting regular teaching classes in their homes, teaching minors and attracting Muslims. They were also charged with assembly and collusion in the form of membership of a Bahai Assembly, and having links to the Universal House of Justice (the elected body that heads the international Bahai community), which is based in occupied Palestine. They were sentenced to five years in prison on this second charge. Another four Bahais were sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of propaganda in support of the Bahai Faith. They are Ms. Neda Farsatipour (ندا فرصتی‌پور), Mr Amir Maboudi (امیر معبودی), Ms. Noushin Mithaqi (نوشین میثاقی) and Ms. Soheila Aqdasi (سهیلا اقدسی).

Those sentenced have less than two weeks to prepare an appeal. Only Mr. A`za’i (Aghsani) and his wife Farahnaz Moqadam have thus far had access to a lawyer. The other defendants were given one notification [of their coming trial and a chance to meet a lawyer], but the notification did not reach them, so on the day of their trial they were summoned to the court by telephone, without an opportunity for professional legal assistance.

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  1. The term “occupied Palestine” is decidedly political, and as such to be avoided. The name of the country is “Israel”. We could speak of the United States as “occupied Indian territory” or Britain as “occupied Pict land”, but all that stuff gets to be too much. There are appropriate times & places to pursue Palestinian human rights, but this is not one of them.

    Comment by petussing — July 5, 2014 @ 00:43 | Reply

    • Iranian anti-Bahai ideologues make a point of saying that the House of Justice is in “occupied Palestinian territories,” and this is the phrase used in the court’s judgement. To “translate” that into “Israel” would obscure the ideological nature of the sentences, which is revealed by the court’s rhetoric. Such a naked reference to political motives is unusual in court sentences, which tend to refer to vague generalities such as “activities undermining national security” or “propaganda against the regime.” The judge in this case apparently felt he was striking a blow for Palestinian freedom by imprisoning innocent people in Iran. It’s twisted, but I think it’s interesting to see how these people think.

      I did consider putting ‘occupied territories’ in quote marks, but that would be taking sides in a dispute between nationalist ideologies which, so long as it is framed in nationalist terms, is a zero-sum game.

      Comment by Sen — July 5, 2014 @ 11:30 | Reply

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