An Iranian Baha’i woman accused of “propaganda against the regime” has been acquitted in a historic verdict that activists hope signals a move away from the discriminatory policies against the country’s largest religious minority community.
The verdict in the case of Lisa Tibanian stated that belonging to the Baha’i faith or proselytizing were not crimes.
Prominent journalist Isa Saharkhiz welcomed the news. “While agents of the Intelligence Ministry of Rouhani’s government are busy arresting Baha’i citizens on charges such proselytizing Baha’ism, propaganda against the regime, espionage, etc, there is this good news from Karaj,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Judge Ali Badri, the presiding judge of Branch 12 of Alborz province’s Court of Appeals, has announced [that] merely proselytizing for the Baha’i faith cannot be considered propaganda against the regime and, fundamentally, the law does not consider belief in the Baha’i faith a crime to justify prosecuting and punishing individuals based on this charge, especially since the appellant [Lisa Tibanian] accepts the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic and is considered [an Iranian] citizen…” Saharkhiz has himself faced prison on several occasions for his work as a journalist.