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Mahvash Shahriari (Sabet)

Mahvash Shahriari (Sabet)


Mahvash Shahriari (Sabet) is human rights defender, who was formerly part of the community leadership of the Baha’i community in Iran. She tended to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community given the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership. She was prosecuted because of her religious beliefs and for advocating for the rights of the Baha’i community in Iran, who have been persecuted for over 40 years. The human rights defender previously spent a decade in prison on multiple charges including "espionage, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and establishment of an illegal administration" after she was arrested in 2008.


Hope for political reform in Iran surfaced when President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in 2013 and dozens of opposition political figures and human rights defenders were released. However, violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and movement of HRDs continue to be prevalent.


Human rights defenders and journalists are arrested, detained and prosecuted in unfair trials. HRDs continue to receive death threats and are subjected to harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention. They are refused bail or receive extreme bail conditions. HRDs are additionally subjected to systematic surveillance and their family members are targeted. Journalists have been subjected to flogging for criticising the government.