Ten years imprisonment for Nematollah and Nazanin Bengal, two Baha’i from Shiraz

Nematollah Bengalah and Nazanin Bengal, a father and daughter of Baha’i from Shiraz, were totally sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz due to religious beliefs.

According to the Campaign for the Defense of Political and Civil Prisoners, on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018, Nematollah Bengal and his daughter Nazanin, each were sentenced to five years in prison for their religious beliefs.

Nematollah Bengaleh and Nazanin Bengaleh, on August 2016, after a search of their house and confiscated a number of their personal properties, and they were arrested by the security forces and were transferred to the Ministry of Information detention center known as number 100. The two Bahraini citizens of Shiraz were released after a while on a bail.

Nematullah Bengaleh after 66 days, was temporary released on November 1st, 2016 on a 550 million bail. Nazanin Bengaleh was temporary released on September 11th, 2016 on 175 million Toman bail. Meanwhile, with the issuance of the sentence, on Tuesday April 24th, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif, in US Foreign Relations Council meeting, in response to a question, said that being a Baha’i is not a crime. He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran recognizes only three religions which include Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrian as religious minorities, and they have their own seats in the parliament. He added: “If we recognize another religion, we should also give these rights to them.”  While Iran’s Foreign Minister, pointing out that Bahais are not a crime, said: “We do not recognize the Baha’is as followers of a religion”.

Twenty-Five university professors and international lawyers have previously called on the head of the human rights headquarters, Mohammad Javad Larijani, to end the Baha’i persecution and call for justice and recognition of Baha’i rights.

According to unofficial sources in Iran, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism and does not recognize the Baha’i religion. For this reason, Baha’i rights in Iran have been systematically violated throughout the past years. Their premises are being sealed or they faced with sentences such as acting against national security, insulting the leadership, etc.

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