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Court sentences Baha’i woman to eight years in prison

Revolutionary court sentences Baha’i woman to eight years in prison

Atsa Ahmadai RafsanjaniA revolutionary court in Iran has sentenced a Baha’i woman to eight years in prison on the charge of forming a group to empower women.

According to the verdict issued by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Afshari, Atsa Ahmadai Rafsanjani has been sentenced to four years for ““formation of a group to act against national security through requesting an NGO license from the Interior Ministry”, 3 years in prison for “assembly and collusion to act against national security”, and to one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the state.”

The four-year prison sentence on the charge of “forming and setting up a group to act against national security” was handed down to the Baha’i woman while her request for forming a non-governmental organization was rejected by the Interior Ministry because she was a Baha’i.

The court examining the charges of the Baha’i woman Atsa Ahmadai Rafsanjani convened in March 2021 and issued its verdict for her efforts to register a non-governmental organization for the empowerment of women.

Security forces had arrested her on January 20, 2019, and imprisoned her in ward 241 of Evin Prison belonging to the Judiciary’s counterintelligence. She was temporarily released from prison on a 200-million Toman bail after 45 days.

The Iranian regime has stepped up pressure on the Baha’i community in Iran, making many arrests, handing down heavy sentences, and imprisoning others.

The Iranian regime does not recognize the Baha’i community, with more than 300,000 members in the country. Instead, for four decades, the clerical regime has routinely harassed, prosecuted, and imprisoned Baha’is solely for practicing their faith.

In past years, scores of followers have been detained and harassed by Iranian authorities.

The regime severely restricts Baha’is right to education, including prohibiting Baha’i students from registering at universities and expelling them if their identities are discovered.