‘Fariba Kamalabadi’ (public figure facebook page), September 18, 2014.
Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (بهیه معنوی پور), one of three Bahais arrested in Shiraz on August 5, has been freed on bail.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-27h
‘Fariba Kamalabadi’ (public figure facebook page), September 18, 2014.
Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (بهیه معنوی پور), one of three Bahais arrested in Shiraz on August 5, has been freed on bail.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-27h
HRANA, September 14, 2014.
On September 9, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence broke into the home of Wahideh Dana (وحیده دانا) in Shiraz, searched it for about an hour, and confiscated religious books, images and CDs. Ms. Dana refused to open the door, but after the agents had forced their way in, they showed a search warrant.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-26K
HRANA, September 14, 2014.
Saqi Feda’i (ساقی فدایی), a Bahai from Mashhad, has been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence and arrested. She was first arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on July 8 this year, following a raid on a Bahai religious meeting in her home on June 1. She was released on bail about one month later (her release has not previously been reported on Sen’s Daily, and the date and amount of bail are not stated in the HRANA report). Her mother, Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی), was arrested during the raid on June 1, as were two other Bahais from Mashhad, Dari Amri (دری امری) and Shayan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی). These three were transferred from the Ministry of Intelligence facilities in Mashhad to Vakilabad prison on August 2. They have now been held for three months without trial or charge.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-26E
This year, as in previous years, Bahai high school graduates who have achieved the necessary passes in Iran’s nationwide university entrance examinations are being refused entry to universities across the country because of their religious beliefs. However this year they are being excluded without documentation: their educational records have the message “write to PO Box so-and-so” or “refer to PO Box so-and-so” in place of examination grades. This phrase, inserted in their educational records, amounts to a coded message for educational institution, which will be understood as saying, “this is a Bahai, do not admit him or her.” An example of this was given on this blog on August 4. A similar procedure has been followed where a student who is already enrolled becomes a Bahai or is discovered to be a Bahai: they are told to make enquiries at an office, where they are informed verbally that they have been expelled because they are Bahais. The example of Yalda Na’imeyan ( یلدا نعیمیان) was reported on this blog on September 7
Another innovation this year is that Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, has publicly stated that “The authorities have never discriminated against the followers of the Baha’i faith merely based on being Bahais, as they believe that based on the Iranian Constitution every individual has the same rights and cannot be deprived of constitutional rights.” “Those who claim to have been deprived of studying at university due to being a Bahai” should “send your documentation for follow-up.” (Translated by Iran Press Watch) Any Bahai who did have such documentation, from previous years when expulsions were sometimes announced in writing, would be very foolish to send it to the “Human Rights Council.” That would be inviting a prison term. Resilient as always, the Bahai students and human rights organisations have been documenting and publishing the stories of individual Bahai students, providing irrefutable evidence for those able to access human rights web sites that Mr. Larijani is lying. They may not say “lying” in as many words (Bahais generally are polite to a fault), but that’s what it amounts to. There are too many stories for me to translate them all, but I am collecting the names and photographs below: click on the photograph for the source in Persian.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-26i
PCED (facebook), September 11, 2014.
Susan Tabyaniyan (سوسن تبیانیان), a Bahai from Semnan who was arrested on May 31, 2014, has been sentenced to one year in prison. Her trial took place on August 7. After her arrest she was held for 45 days before being released on bail.
Mrs. Tabyaniyan, who has two small children, had a shop in Semnan until her arrest in April, 2009. In May 2010 she was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and membership of a Bahai organisation. After serving almost 14 months in Evin prison, she was one of the prisoners granted clemency to mark Eid al-Fitr, on August 27 2011.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-26d
ICHRI, September 10, 2014
The brothers Kamran and Kayvan Rahimiyan ( رحیمیان ) and Kamran’s wife Faran Hessami ( فاران حسامی ), all imprisoned for teaching in the Bahai Open University (BIHE) have been refused prison furlough unless they recant their Bahai beliefs and promise not to teach students at the Open University.
Mrs. Afagh Khosravi-Zand, Mother of Kamran and Kayvan and mother-in-law to Faran, said, “I have written to authorities many times but I have received no reply. Kamran and Faran have a five-year-old son and Kayvan has a 14-year-old daughter and, unfortunately, he also lost his wife to cancer before he was arrested. These kids are living with me now. But I cannot do enough for a girl who’s going through puberty and a small child.”
Under Iranian law, if a prisoner has served a third of his sentence and maintained good behavior, he can be conditionally released, Khosravi-Zand noted. “But it has been ten months since Kamran and Faran submitted their request for a conditional release and every time we followed up they said it is being reviewed. I guess these reviews go on until their term ends. But the officials have said they would be released as soon as they repent and promise not to teach. And [my sons and daughter-in-law] have replied that as long as you don’t allow Baha’is to study in national universities, we have no choice but to educate them ourselves. We don’t want them to be illiterate.”
Baha’is are one of the most persecuted religious minorities in Iran and are routinely denied admission to higher education in the country.
Khosravi-Zand said the three have not been given furlough since their imprisonment and none of the officials had given a reason why. Faran Hessami, Kamran Rahimian and Kayvan Rahimian were professors at the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education, an online university, when they were arrested on September 13, 2012. Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court found them guilty of “assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security” for teaching at the Baha’i university and sentenced Kamaran and Faran to four years and Kayvan to five years in prison.
“Every Tuesday I take the five-year-old boy to see his father in Rajaee Shahr Prison and his mother in Evin Prison on Wednesdays. Also Kayvan’s 14-year-old daughter, Gina, goes to see her father in Rajaee Shahr every week,” she said.
Khosravi-Zand added that the three were not being represented by a lawyer of their choice, because upon hearing the name of the lawyer they had hired, the Judge threatened a stiffer sentence if they were represented by him.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-268
Alliance for Rights of All Minorities-ARAM, September 10, 2014.
Shadi Shirazi (شادان شیرازی), a math student with top tier ranks in her entrance exams was denied admission to university because of her religious beliefs in Baha’i faith, according Taghato News. A decision of Iran’s Supreme Council of Culture and Revolution effectively calls for the exclusion of members of Baha’i faith from employment and opportunities for higher education. The third section of this provision calls for an immediate removal of the student at any point upon the revelation of their religious identity, including post registration or during the academic year.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-262
PCED (facebook), September 10, 2014.
On August 19, Farnaz Rouhani ( فرناز روحانی), who has completed four semesters of study in English translation at the Azad (“free”) University in Shiraz, was expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She began her studies in October 2012. Her efforts to pursue the matter have been fruitless. No evidence or reason for the decision has been given in writing. She was told to direct her enquiries to Tehran, but again received no answers, except that the decision was taken by the University’s central security office in Tehran.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-25Y
Hawkesbury Gazette, September 10, 2014.
A cousin living in Australia has expressed concerns for the health of Sa`id Ebadi ( سعید عابدی), one of four Bahais arrested in Shiraz on August 5. Mr. Ebadi’s cousin, Houshidar Etehad said that with no information available as to his whereabouts and status, the incident had caused his whole family major distress. Mr. Ebadi has a wife and child in Shiraz.
“The government soldiers ran in, destroyed the house and arrested him because they found out he was part of the Bahá’í association in Iran,” Mr Etehad said. “I worry a lot about his health because he is going blind in both eyes. He needs proper treatment or else he will never be able to see again. To make things even worse, his wife is dying from cancer and I’m a million miles away while the family that I love is falling apart.”
“My family took him in when we were children because both his parents had died. We were raised together and he is the closest person to me other than my immediate family. I feel like a part of me is missing now, and there’s not a minute that goes by where I don’t think about what he is going through at the moment.”
On September 1, Mr. Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور) and Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز) were detained in Shiraz, so at least six newly arrested Bahais are being held at present. On July 22 it was reported that fifteen Bahais in Shiraz had recently been sentenced to terms of up to three and a half years. The lawyer representing them, Guity Pourfazel, stated that she has decided to challenge these sentences in a court of appeals.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-25U
(Corrected: three of the four detainees for whom bail was set have not been released as the bail is excessive)
On September 3, Branch 4 of the court at Evin Prison set bail for three Bahais arrested in Tehran: Babak Mobasher ( بابک مبشر ), Nasr `Arshi Moqaddam (ناصر عرشى مقدم), and `Ata’ollah Ashrafi (عطاء الله اشرفى). The family of the three detainees were informed by telephone from Evin prison that bail for Babak Mobasher and Naser Arshi Moqaddam was set at 25 billion Rials (700,000 euros or 938,000 US dollars), while 20 billion Rials (560,000 euros or 750,000 US dollars) was demanded for `Ata’ollah Ashrafi’s temporary release.
These three have been charged with “subverting the economy of Iran,” and “membership in the Baha’i community of Iran.” Their family cannot afford to pay the bail, which amounts to 2.6 million dollars, or almost 2 million euros. They are being held in block 209 of Evin prison, which is controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence. Alaeddin Khanjani (علاءالدین خانجانی), known as ‘Niki,’ is also held in block 209: there is no word about his condition.
On August 11, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided the home and optician’s shop of the Khanjani family in Tehran, and arrested Babak Mobasher, his father-in-law Alaeddin Khanjani, and four employees: Naser `Arshi Moqaddam, `Ata’ollah Ashrafi, Ruhollah Monzavi (روح الله منزوى), and Javad Salehi (جواد صالحى). Javad Salehi was reported to have been released when it was discovered that he was a Muslim. Ruhollah Monzavi was released on bail of 1 billion rials (37,000 US dollars or 28,000 euros.) Iranian media reported this as the smashing of a big spectacle-smuggling network, and said there were eight arrests, without giving names.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-25M
PCED (facebook page), September 7, 2014.
Yalda Na’imeyan ( یلدا نعیمیان), a student at the Payam-e Nur University in Miandoab, has been expelled from the university after five semesters of study because of her Bahai beliefs. Her expulsion took place on May 17, 2014, but has only just been reported. Her efforts to obtain a written statement of the reasons for her expulsion have been fruitless. The University branch in Miandoab referred her to the head office in Tehran. She could not obtain a written statement there either. However a worker at the head office in Tehran told her that the head of the Payame-e Nur University of Azarbayjan province expelled her because of her Bahai beliefs.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-25E
HRANA, September 1, 2014.
On the morning of September 1, security forces arrested Mr. Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور) at his home, and transferred him to the Ministry of Intelligence’s Facility 100 in Shiraz. They also searched his home and seized some personal items. They arrested Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز) in similar circumstances and took him to the same detention facility. The reasons for the arrests are not known.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-25s
HRANA, August 30, 2014.
Farhad Eqbali ( فرهاد اقبالی ), a Bahai resident of Gorgan, reported to prison on August 27 to begin serving his 5-year sentence. Mr. Eqbali was one of about twenty Bahais, and some Muslims accused of associating with Bahais, who were arrested in Goran in November, 2012. His sentence was confirmed by the court of review on August 27, and he began his sentence on the same day, although the enforcement unit [of the Ministry of Justice] had asked for his punishment to be postponed because Mr. Eqbali has heart problems requiring advanced medical treatment.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-25n
HRANA, August 30, 2014.
Ruhiyyeh Qavami-nik (روحیه قوامی نیک), a Bahai from Karaj, was freed on bail on August 29. She was arrested on August 17, following a telephone summons to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence. When she complied, she was arrested, and transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran. She has a four-year-old daughter. The charges against her are not known.
[August 30, possibly related: a news site based in Karaj reports that an unconventional fashion show was held at a clothing outlet in Karaj, which was shut down (citing 'inappropriate dress' and 'undermining Islamic teachings') when a team of inspectors found the organiser was a Bahai.]
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-25d
HRANA, August 26, 2014. (updated)
Noushadhar Khanjani ( نوشآذر خانجانی), a Bahai from Semnan who was visiting family in Semnan, was arrested by security forces this morning. He has been interviewed by the Ministry of Intelligence several times in the past months, on various pretexts, and is presently free on bail and having provided a surety. His father, Afrasiab Khanjani (افراسیاب خانجانی ) has been subject to pressure from the security forces for some time, and has had much of his property confiscated, including a factory for making spectacles. The family have been told that Noushadhar will be transferred to Tehran tomorrow.
On August 13, Babak Mobasher ( بابک مبشر ) and Alaeddin Khanjani (علاءالدین خانجانی), known as Niki, two more members of the Khanjani family, and some of their Bahai employees, were arrested in Tehran and have been accused of smuggling spectacles [!]. They are being held in Evin prison. Noushadhar Khanjani’s grandfather Jamalludin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی) is one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (Bahai national facilitators) who are now in the seventh year of 20-year sentences, and his cousin Navid Khanjani (نوید خانجانی) is serving a 12-year sentence for promoting equal access to education. Both are in in Raja’i Shahr prison. Fo’ad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی) and Behfar Khanjani (بهفر خانجانی) are serving 4-year sentences in Raja’i Shahr and Semnan prisons respectively. Leva Khanjani and Omid Firuzeyan, two more grandchildren of Jamalludin Khanjani, have recently been released from prison. [And all this effort by the judiciary, intelligence services and prison authorities serves absolutely no purpose: they are Bahais when they go into prison and they are still Bahais when they come out. Hats off to a most illustrious family! ~sen]
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-252
Tahlili Ruz(a Kurdish-Iranian news aggregator), August 21, 2014.
Hamza Razyani (حمزه رازیانی), a successful Kurdish athlete, has been stripped of his medals and positions after converting from Islam to the Bahai Faith, and has been forced by pressure from Iran’s security forces to leave Iran. Prior to becoming a Bahai he was a member of Iran’s national Jujitsu team and had won more than 70 medals in Judo and Jujitsu. In 2013 he won six gold medals in three martial arts disciplines and was named as the best exponent of the techniques in the West of Iran. He was also Chairman of the Jujitsu Association in Kermanshah. When he became a Bahai he was dropped from the team and stripped of all rights in this field. On July 13 this year security forces raided his office and he was detained for some time. On August 12 he was threatened and summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence in Kermanshah, and decided to leave Iran. After he had left, his family was put under pressure and his mother suffered a mild heart attack requiring hospitalisation.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-24W
HRANA, August 23, 2014.
Riaz Sobhani ( ریاض سبحانی ), who was arrested in June 2011 and is imprisoned for assisting the work of the Bahai Open University (BIHE), has been released on leave from prison in the past few hours. He is 67 years old and suffers from heart disease, a lung disease and stomach bleeding. He is serving a four-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison, in Karaj, near Tehran. On May 13, 2012 he was hospitalized because his heart condition had become acute. Two weeks later he was sent back to Raja’i Shahr after heart surgery. At that time a medical furlough was denied. Two other prisoners of conscience were granted medical furlough from Raja’i Shahr today. They are Majid Tavakoli (مجید توکلی), a student whose case history reads like an overview of all that is wrong with Iran’s laws, judiciary and prison system, and Mehdi Motamedi-Mehr ( مهدی معتمدی مهر), a political activist with a particular interest in free and fair elections.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-24S
PCED (facebook page), August 21, 2014.
On the morning of August 20, police searched a home shared by Bahais in the city of Shahin Shahr, in the province of Isfahan. They searched the house for several hours, seizing computers, religious books and personal effects, and then arrested five Bahais who were present. Their names are Sa`id Qa’emi, Parviz Gaudarzeyan, Azita Homayuni, Noushin Salkyan and Rashin Shahnazi (سعید قائمی ، پرویز گودرزیان، آزیتا همایونی ، نوشین سالکیان و راشین شهنازی ). They were released on the same evening, following several hours of interrogation, and told that “the courts have been notified, you will have to attend.”
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-24D
HRANA, August 12, 2014.
It is reported that Shayan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی), who was arrested in Mashhad on June 1, 2014, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided a Bahai religious meeting, and who was transferred from the Ministry of Intelligence facilities to Vakilabad prison on August 2, is still being held in the prison’s quarantine unit. However Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) and Dari Amri (دری امری), two Bahai women who were transferred from the Intelligence Office to Vakilabad Prison on the same day, were moved to the section for female prisoners of conscience on the following day. The quarantine section is a short-term holding place for new prisoners, and lacks food and medical facilities. Prisoners usually remain there only one or two days. It is notable that Mr. Tafazoli has not been tried, and the two-month detention order obtained by the Ministry of Intelligence has now expired. An informed Bahai source told HRANA that it is likely that the Ministry of Intelligence is planning to seek a new detention order for him.
Mr. Tafazoli was one of the Bahai youth arrested in February 2012, when police shut down a handicraft exhibition in Mashhad. He was held in Vailabad prison at that time. In July 2012 he was again arrested, and freed some 6 weeks later on bail. On November 27 he was sentenced to 6 months in prison for his handicrafts activities, which the review court reduced to a fine.
Iran Press Watch has a complete translation of the HRANA report.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-24y
HRANA, August 20, 2014
Shahram Chiniyan Miandavab (میاندوآب شهرام چینیان ), a Bahai shopkeeper from Tehran who is serving an 8-year sentence, and who is held in block 1 of Rajai Shahr prison, which is reserved for dangerous prisoners, was placed in solitary confinement on August 19. He was moved to the block for dangerous prisoners late in May, 2014: before that he was held with the prisoners of conscience in block 12. A fellow-prisoner has reported that Mr. Chiniyan was beaten by Mr. Amirian [one of the Deputy Directors at the prison ~ Sen] and a number of prison guards, and his clothes were torn. The prison Director. Mr. Mardani, decided unilaterally to move him to solitary confinement. Mr. Chiniyan was first arrested in March 2009 and released on March 3, 2010, after using his business license as bail. He was sentenced to 70 lashes and 8 years in prison on a charge of insulting Islam, and began serving his sentence, first in Evin prison in Tehran and then in Raja’i Shahr prison, early in March, 2012. It appears that the accusation of insulting Islam was raised by his neighbour, following a legal dispute regarding the use of a right of way.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-24p
HRANA, August 18, 2014.
The administration at the government-run Martyr Khonsari secondary school in Shiraz has refused to enrol the children of Behrouz Farzandi Ardekani (بهروز فرزندی اردکانی) because the family are Bahais. Mr. Ardekani is a war veteran who has been classified as having more than 25% disability. Their actions are in contravention of explicit legislation regarding civil rights, the right to education and the ban on investigating people’s religious beliefs.
Moreover, Mr. Ardekani provided a copy of an official letter stating that Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa stating the Bahai ex-POWs and disabled veterans are entitled to the rights of other veterans and ex-POWs. Nevertheless, the school administration and the Department of Education have continued to refuse to enrol the children of this Bahai family. Numerous Bahai youth have also been denied entry to tertiary education in Iran, or have been expelled when their religious beliefs were discovered.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-243
HRANA, August 18, 2014.
On August 17, Ruhiyyeh Qavami-nik (روحیه قوامی نیک), a Bahai from Karaj, was summoned by telephone to report to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence. When she complied, she was arrested, and transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran. She has a four-year-old daughter. Thus far she has not had any contact with her family, and the charges against her are not known.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23Z
“No” to the harassment and imprisonment of Bahais (facebook group), August 11, 2014. Update, August 13.
Babak Mobasher ( بابک مبشر ) and his father-in-law Alaeddin Khanjani (علاءالدین خانجانی) were arrested around 6 a.m. today when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided their home [which is apparently located in Tehran ~Sen]. Alaeddin Khanjani is the son of Jalaluldin Khanjani, one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran, while Babak Mobasher is the husband of Leva Khanjani ( لواء خانجانی ), a Bahai excluded from tertiary education, who was freed from Evin prison after serving most of a two-year sentence on June 24, 2014.
The Alliance for the Rights of All Minorities in Iran adds that not only the home of Mr. Khanjani but also his office and warehouse was raided, and that four employees were arrested, one whom was later released because he was a Muslim. All the cash, gold personal jewellery, and other items in storage belonging to the business were confiscated. The group responsible for this action is said to be affiliated with those responsible for the arrest of the Yaran seven years ago.
HRANA gives the names of the four employees as Nasr `Arushi Moqaddam, `Ata’llah Ashrafi, Ruhollah Manzui and Javad Salehi ( ناصر عرشى مقدم، عطاء الله اشرفى، روح الله منزوى و جواد صالحى).
[Update, August 13. Iranian internet media are reporting the arrests as the smashing of a big spectacle-smuggling network. Eight arrests are reported, without giving any names. Given that a Muslim employee was released, it appears likely that the security force's action relates to the common belief in Iran that Bahais are "unclean." Because of this belief, they are barred from engaging in certain economic activity, such as in the food sector, where their 'uncleanness' might be passed on to Muslims. In the past two years, a number of optician's shops operated by Bahais have been closed down, especially in the more backward areas of Iran where superstitions have a stronger hold. ~ Sen]
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23Q
“No” to the harassment and imprisonment of Bahais (facebook group), August 10, 2014. (Updated)
Afif Na`imi ( عفیف نعیمی ), one of the seven Bahai ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators) who are now in the seventh year of 20-year sentences for their Baha’i beliefs, was transferred from hospital to Raja’i Shahr prison yesterday. He is 52 years old, and was being treated in Tehran’s Coronary Hospital. Security officials had said last week that he must be returned to the prison on Saturday, August 9, although the forensic doctor had certified that he was unable to bear imprisonment. Emanullah Mostaqim ( امانالله مستقیم ), one of the staff of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran who is serving a 5-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison, was sent from hospital to the prison on the same day, although he too has been certified as unfit for prison.
Update August 11: HRANA reports that the decision that these prisoners should be sent back to prison without completing their treatment in hospital was taken by judicial authorities. Afif Na’imi has been in hospital for the past nine months. He suffers from blood clots which require carefully controlled doses of Warfarin.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23G
Tahrir Institute (TIMEP), August 8, 2014.
Bahaa Ibrahim, also known as Biko, is 26 years old and was born and raised in Egypt. Recently he was detained at a security checkpoint and harassed because he is a Bahai. He described his recent experience to TIMEP, as well as his perception of his protections as a religious minority. The full interview in English can be accessed at the link above. Some extracts …
… they stopped us at El Tor checkpoint. Because I was sitting at the very front of the bus, the guy saw my tattoos. (I have four tattoos.) He saw one of them, he got on the bus, and he asked for my ID first. I gave him my ID. He took a look normally at the front side of the ID, and then he looked at the back of the ID. On the back of my ID, I have a dash for religion because I am Baha’i … he asked me to get off the bus … Inside, there were three army officers; three police wearing the white uniform of the police; and three wearing civilian clothes—from the secret police. … Then, they asked me, “What is your religion?”
I said, “I am a Baha’i.” All of a sudden, they started, two of them talking at the same time: “This is wrong!” They started attacking me directly. “There is nothing called Baha’i. This is not a faith! This is just a shitty religion! The only religions are Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. These are the only options for you.” … Whenever I tried to speak, they would just attack me, calling me an infidel, insisting I should be a Muslim. At one point, one of the officers said that I would need to convert to Islam. He said what I was doing, I would go to hell, and he kept pushing that I should be Muslim…. The scene lasted about fifteen minutes. In the end, they said: “Get this crap out of here.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23C
Bahai World News Service (English), August 6, 2014.
Reports from Iran indicate that the Revolutionary Guard has removed human remains from some 30 to 50 of the 950 graves of Baha’is in the cemetery, placing them in an open canal to make way for the construction of a new cultural and sports complex.
In June, the Guards held a public celebration of their progress in clearing the site. In advance of that celebration, to which the media was invited, they used a heavy roller to compact the ground. A carpet was then laid over a number of graves and the commander of the Guards gave a speech attacking Baha’is.
“The manner in which the Revolutionary Guards have gone about destroying these sacred grounds and, now, celebrating its demolition goes beyond the pale in terms of humane behavior,” said Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23t
HRANA, August 5, 2014.
This morning (August 5), agents from the Shiraz city police arrested three Bahai men and one woman: Adib Haqqpazhouh, Sa`id `Ebadi, Wahid Dana and Mrs. Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (ادیب حق پژوه، سعید عابدی، وحید دانا و یهیه معنویپور). The reasons for their arrest, and their place of detention, are unknown. Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh was arrested previously, on December 30, 2010, and was later released on bail.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23m
HRANA, August 4, 2014.
As in previous years, numerous Bahais who sat Iran’s university entrance examinations this year have been denied their examination results, and are therefore excluded from tertiary education. In previous years, Bahai school-leavers have found the cryptic “application incomplete” on their university entrance results. This year, the Bahai students have received the message “write to PO Box so-and-so” or “refer to PO Box so-and-so” in place of examination grades. This phrase, inserted in their educational records, amounts to a coded message for educational institution, which will be understood as saying, “this is a Bahai, do not admit him or her.”
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23h
HRANA, August 3, 2014.
Authorities have moved Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی), Dari Amri (دری امری) and Shayan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی) from the Ministry of Intelligence facilities in Mashhad to the quarantine at Vakil Abad prison in the same city. In the next few days, they are likely to be transferred from quarantine to the sections for male and female prisoners of conscience. These three Bahais were arrested n June 2, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided a Bahai religious meeting in Mashhad. Their families still have no news about the reason for their detention. Six Bahai women are presently held in one room of Vakil Abad prison, separate from the other prisoners, while two men are in the general detention section for men.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-23d
HRANA, July 29, 2014.
Iqan Shahidi ( ایقان شهیدی ), a Bahai active in the struggle for equal educational opportunities who is serving a 5-year sentence as a prisoner of conscience in Raja’i Shahr prison, near Tehran, has been granted six days of leave from prison, beginning on July 28.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-239
ICHRI, July 18, 2014.
Mr. Sarang Etehadi ( سارنگ اتحادی ) has been summoned to begin serving his one-year prison sentence on charges of “propaganda against the state through participation in Bahai worship and prayer groups.” He told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he had been instructed via a telephone call from the Evin Prison Courts on July 6, 2014, to appear to begin serving his sentence within a week. His wife, Nasim Ashrafi ( نسیم اشرفی ), began serving her sentence at Evin Prison on May 6, 2014. The couple, both from Tehran, were arrested in a wave of detentions of Bahais in Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz in early July, 2012.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-22N
Iran Press Watch, July 19, 2014.
Six Bahais are reported to have been arrested in Tabriz on July 12. Their names are given as Farzad Bahadari (فرزاد بهادری), Samin Rasouli (سیمین رسولی) and their children, Sahar ( سحر بهادری ) and Nassim Bahadari (نسیم بهادری ), who are members of one family, Shabnam Issakhani (شبنم عیسی خانی), a mother of two, and Rashin Saberi, who is reported to be 8 months pregnant. The Bahadari family was arrested in their home and face charges of teaching music in their homes and being Bahais. The family’s books, musical instruments and other possessions have been confiscated. The most recent report indicates that Mr. Farzad Bahadari, who is 60 years old, and Mrs. Simin Rasouli, aged 54, are still in prison, while their children have been released on bail. Separately, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence searched Mrs. Issa Khani’s home in Tabriz, confiscated various personal items including books and electronics and took her away for interrogation. According to reports, as of Tuesday, July 15th she was still in solitary confinement and deprived of visitation rights. No further information is available on Rashin Saberi, except that she was interrograted despite being eight months pregnant, when by law she should have been exempt from interrogation under duress.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-22E
Iran Press Watch, July 17
The fifth ward of the women’s prison of the central prison of Mashhad, in Vakilabad, consists of one room which is approximately 30 square meters, including medical services and a bathroom. At present six Bahai women prisoners are held there, all charged with acting against national security and spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic under Articles 499 and 500 of the Iranian Constitution by promoting the Bahai Faith and participating in its activities. The names of the Baha’i prisoners in this ward are:
1) Rozita Vasseghi (2), sentenced to 5 years.
2) Sima Eshraghi (3), sentenced to 5 years.
3) Noura Nabilzadeh (4), sentenced to 5 years.
4) Sonia Ahmadi (5), sentenced to 5 years
5) Nika Kholousi, sentenced to 6 years
6) Nava Kholousi (6), sentenced to 4.5 years
The prison officials treat inmates in this ward with prejudice. The prisoners are given one hour in the morning for exercise in the gym and one and a half hour in the afternoon to go outside for fresh air, and are locked in their cell for the remainder of the day. They are denied the rights of other prisoners such as attending cultural classes, language learning, seminars, computer use, and other rights. They aren’t allowed access to the prison library, to meet or to communicate with other women prisoners, and during the day, when they are to use the gymnasium or spend time outdoors, the rest of the female prisoners have to be dismissed from these places first. They are kept in complete isolation so that they cannot interact or communicate with other prisoners, and their condition in the prison is kept unknown to the other prison inmates.
These prisoners are also not permitted to have leave from prison, which the other prisoners are granted. They are labeled security-risk prisoners, and are only allowed leave if the prosecutor lets them, and the prosecutor is the eyes and mouth of the Mashhad Intelligence Ministry. More than four years has passed since Rozita Vasseghi’s conviction, but she has not had a single day of prison leave because the Mashhad Intelligence Ministry is opposed to giving her leave!
At present, these six individuals are awaiting the transfer of two other Baha’i prisoners named May Kholousi and Dori Amri, who have been kept in temporary solitary confinement by order of the Mashhad Intelligence Ministry for approximately one month.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-22A
HRANA, July 11, 2014.
Manuchher Kholousi ( منوچهر خلوصی), a Bahai from Mashhad, was tried on July 8. He was charged with “acting against national security by giving interviews with foreign media.” However no interviews with Mr. Kholousi are known, in either Iranian or foreign media. The court therefore adjourned the sitting for lack of evidence. A judge was appointed to gather evidence for or against the charges from various sources. Mr. Kholousi was arrested at his home in Mashhad on November 29, 2013, and was at first accused of propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith, and membership in Bahai organisations. His daughters, Nika and Nava Kholousi (نیکا و نوا خلوصی ), have been sentenced to six years and 4 and a half years in prison, respectively, on charges of membership of the Bahai organisation, participation in illegal Bahai activities, and propaganda in favour of the Bahais and against the regime of the Islamic Republic. In 1999, Mr. Kholousi was sentenced to death for being a Bahai. This sentence was later reduced to one year in prison, by which time he had already served 19 months in prison.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-22r
HRANA, July 10, 2014
Farhad Sadeqi ( فرهاد صدقی ), one of the imprisoned teachers from the Bahai Open University (BIHE), has returned to prison after five days of prison leave. He is serving a 4-year sentence in Rajai Shahr prison, in Karaj (near Tehran). The Bahai Open University was founded to provide education for students excluded from tertiary education because of their religious beliefs. Mr. Sadeqi was arrested on May 22, 2011, during a raid on the institute, and held with other prisoners of conscience, first in Evin prison and then in Raja’i Shahr prison near Tehran. He had one previous medical furlough, for three days in July 2012.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-22e
HRANA, July 9, 2014
Saqi Feda’i (ساقی فدایی), a Bahai from Mashhad, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on July 8. The agents arrived at her home with a warrant for her arrest. On June 2, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided a Bahai religious meeting in her home, stopped the meeting, and searched the house. They seized some religious books and arrested her mother, Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) and also Dari Amri (دری امری) and Shayan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی). The three are still in custody and under interrogation. There is word yet as to where Saqi Feda’i is being held.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-22a
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.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-226
HRANA, July 3, 2014
Shamim Ruhani ( شمیم روحانی ), a Bahai from Ahvaz (a city in the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates), has been sentenced to one year in prison followed by banishment from the province of Khuzestan. He was charged with propaganda against the regime and membership in Bahai organisations. The sentence does not specify for how long he is banished from his home province. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on November 5, 2013, along with a number of Bahais who were present in his home. All the detainees except for Mr. Ruhani were released three days later. Mr. Ruhani was held for several months before being released on bail.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-222
HRANA, June 30, 2014
Two Bahais were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in their homes in Yazd this morning. Their names are Ms. Tannaz Mohammedi and Mr. Iraj Lohrasb (طناز محمدی و ایرج لهراسب). Thus far, it is not know where they are being held, or what the charges may be; they have not had any contact with their families.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-21V
HRANA, June 28, 2014
Shomais Mohajer (شمیس مهاجر), a Bahai from Tehran, has reported to Evin Prison in Tehran to begin serving her one-year sentence. She was one of almost 20 Bahais who were arrested in early July, 2012, in a wave of arrests in Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz. She was charged with propaganda against the regime and forming an illegal group, and has been free on bail. Her husband, Shahab Dehqani (شهاب دهقانی), began serving a four-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison on May 26, 2014.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-21Q
HRANA, June 26
Shahram Chiniyan Miandavab (میاندوآب شهرام چینیان ), a Tehran Bahai serving an 8-year sentence, has been moved to solitary confinement in Raja’i Shahr prison. On May 28 HRANA reported that he had been transferred from block 12 at Raja’i Shahr prison, which holds male prisoners of conscience including many Bahais, to block 1 of the prison, which is reserved for those convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape and armed robbery. When he objected to the insulting behaviour of the prison guards in dealing with these ordinary prisoners, he was moved to solitary confinement.
Mr. Chiniyan was first arrested in March 2009 and released on bail on March 3, 2010. He was sentenced to 70 lashes and 8 years in prison on a charge of insulting Islam, and began serving his sentence, first in Evin prison in Tehran and then in Raja’i Shahr prison, early in March, 2012, although the review court had not at that time confirmed his sentence. It appears that the accusation of insulting Islam was raised by his neighbour, following a legal dispute regarding the use of a right of way.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-21M
HRANA, June 24, 2014
Leva Khanjani ( لواء خانجانی ), a Bahai excluded from tertiary education, has been freed from Evin prison after serving most of a two-year sentence. She was arrested on January 3, 2010, along with her husband Babak Mobasher, on the pretext that they had participated in street protests following the 2009 elections. She began serving her sentence in Evin Prison, in Tehran, on August 25, 2012. Leva Khanjani is granddaughter of Jamaleddin Khanjani (جمالدین خانجانی), one of seven Bahai facilitators (Yaran) who were sentenced to 20 years in prison after their May 2008 arrest. Her brother Fu’ad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی) was sentenced to four years in prison by Tehran Revolutionary Court on January 17, 2012. Both Jamaleddin and Fu’ad Khanjani are now serving their sentences inside Raja’i Shahr Prison.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-21H
HRANA, June 19, 2014
`Adel Fana’ayan (عادل فنائیان), a Bahai from Semnan, has been freed on parole. He was serving a six-year sentence in Semnan’s central prison, which he began on June 11, 2012, meaning that he served just one third of his sentence. He was charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining state security. This was his sixth period of imprisonment. The license of his business in Semnan has also been revoked.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-21C
HRANA, June 17, 2014
Susan Tebyaniyan (سوسن تبیانیان), a Bahai from Semnan, was arrested 17 days ago in her home, and has been held since then, without clarification of her status, in Semnan’s central prison. She is being kept separate from the other female prisoners. An informed source told HRANA that there is a policy of keeping Bahai women separate from other prisoners, and Susan Tebyaniyan is the only Bahai woman held in that prison, she is being kept in isolation. She was detained on a warrant allowing 7 days detention, but after 17 days she has neither been freed nor taken to court.
Mrs. Tebyaniyan, who has two small children, had a shop in Semnan until her arrest in April, 2009. In May 2010 she was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and membership of a Bahai organisation. After serving almost 14 months in prison, she was one of the prisoners granted clemency to mark Eid al-Fitr, on August 27 2011.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-21o
HRANA, June 3, 2014
On June 2, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided a Bahai religious meeting in Mashhad, stopped the meeting, and searched the house where it was being held. They seized some religious books and arrested Dari Amri (دری امری), Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) and Shayan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی). It is not known where they are being held. Dari Amri was first arrest in a raid on her home on June 18, 2011, and sentenced to one year in prison, which was reduced by the court of review to 6 months in prison. She entered prison on October 29, 2012, and was presumably freed early in 2013. Shayan Tafazoli was one of the Bahai youth arrested in the handicrafts exhibition case in February, 2012. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison, but the court of review reduced this to a fine. No details are on file regarding Mey Khalusi, but Nika and Nava Khalusi, sisters who are serving sentences of 6 and 4 1/2 years respectively, and Manuchihr Khalusi, serving a one-year sentence, also come from Mashhad.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-213
HRANA, June 1, 2014
Susan Tebyaniyan (سوسن تبیانیان), a Bahai from Semnan, was arrested in her home on the evening of May 31st. Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence searched her home, seized a computer and religious books and images, and arrested her. Mrs. Tebyaniyan, who has two small children, had a shop in Semnan until her arrest in April, 2009. In May 2010 she was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and membership of a Bahai organisation. She began her sentence in Evin prison on July 1st, 2010. After serving almost 14 months in prison, she was one of the prisoners granted clemency to mark Eid al-Fitr, on August 27 2011.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-20U
HRANA, May 28
Shahram Chiniyan Miandavab (میاندوآب شهرام چینیان ), a Tehran Bahai serving an 8-year sentence, has been transferred from block 12 Raja’i Shahr prison, which holds male prisoners of conscience including many Bahais, to block 1 of the prison, which is reserved for those convicted of serious crimes such as murder, rape and armed robbery. Mr. Chiniyan was first arrested in March 2009 and released on March 3, 2010, after using his business license as bail. He was sentenced to 70 lashes and 8 years in prison on a charge of insulting Islam, and began serving his sentence, first in Evin prison in Tehran and then in Raja’i Shahr prison, early in March, 2012, although the review court had not at that time confirmed his sentence. It appears that the accusation of insulting Islam was raised by his neighbour, following a legal dispute regarding the use of a right of way.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-20Q
HRANA, May 26
On May 24, Shahab Dehqani (شهاب دهقانی), a Bahai from Tehran, reported to Evin prison to begin serving his four-year sentence. He was first arrested on July 11, 2012, in raids that netted nearly 20 Bahais in Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz. He was freed on bail in August, 2012.
Update May 27: HRANA reports that he was moved to Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj (about 50 km from Tehran) on May 25th. After a night in the quarantine wing, he was installed in Block 12, where the prisoners of conscience are detained. There are now 33 Bahai men detained for religious reasons in Block 12.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-20F
HRANA, May 22, 2014
`Adnan Rahmat-Penah ( عدنان رحمتپناه ) has been sentenced to one year in prison, and the sentence has been confirmed by the review court. In early June it was reported that he had been held in limbo in `Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz, as successive courts and judges passed his file, and responsibility for his trial, back and forth, and prison officials on one occasion refused to release him from prison to stand trial.
Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-20w