Sen's daily

September 2, 2014

Two arrests in Shiraz


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.

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August 30, 2014

Farhad Eqbali begins 5-year sentence in Gorgan


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.

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Special conditions for allowing Bahai burials in Semnan

HRANA, AUGUST 29, 2014.

The recent burial of a Bahai in Semnan, in the section of the cemetery reserved for Bahais, has revealed that new rules have been drawn up. The family of the deceased was required to sign a commitment to follow six rules. These stipulate that the Bahai gravestones may only show a name and the dates of birth and death, that the Bahais may not beautify the area around the graves with plants or build a wall around the Bahai cemetery, or erect new buildings around the facility where bodies are washed, that they may not have any words or images on the graves or in the cemetery, and that the Bahai gravestones must be level with the ground, without any raised portions.

[Although the discriminatory conditions are regrettable, they do allow burials in accordance with Bahai rites. The situation in Tabriz is much worse. The bodies of Bahais have buried by the authorities, without being washed and without coffins, in the town of Miandoab, about 160 km south of Tabriz. ~Sen]

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Ruhiyyeh Qavami-nik free on bail


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.]

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August 27, 2014

One arrest in Semnan


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]

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August 24, 2014

Bahai athlete excluded from participation or recognition


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.

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Riaz Sobhani free on furlough


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.

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August 21, 2014

Five Bahais arrested, questioned and released in Isfahan Province


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.”

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Shayan Tafazoli marooned in prison quarantine


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.

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August 20, 2014

Shahram Chiniyan Miandavab beaten and placed in solitary

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.

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August 18, 2014

Bahai war veteran unable to enrol children at school in Shiraz

Martyr-Khonsari-Shiraz
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.

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One arrest in Karaj


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.

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August 11, 2014

Six arrests in Tehran: one released


“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]

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August 10, 2014

Afif Na`imi and Emanullah Mostaqim sent from hospital to Raja’i Shahr prison


“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.

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August 9, 2014

Interview with an Egyptian Bahai harrassed and insulted by police

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.

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August 7, 2014

Bodies removed from Bahai cemetery in Shiraz

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.

Full report here

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August 6, 2014

Four Bahais arrested in Shiraz


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 `Abadi, 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.

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August 5, 2014

Bahai university candidates again denied results

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.”

click the pen

See also:
A note from the heart … translation by Iran Press Watch


Although President Rouhani of Iran promised, before his election, to address the exclusion of some citizens from tertiary education, there are no signs of any progress. It should be borne in mind that many of the senior staff at the Ministry of Science and the Organisation for Educational Assessment were appointed under President Ahmadinejad.

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August 4, 2014

Three arrestees in Mashhad transferred to Vakil Abad prison


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.

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August 3, 2014

Iqan Shahidi granted a 6-day furlough


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.

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July 22, 2014

Sarang Etehadi begins a one-year sentence

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.

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Six Bahais arrested in Tabriz


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.

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Report from the Bahai wing of Vakilabad Women’s Prison, Mashhad

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.

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July 11, 2014

Manuchher Kholousi’s trial adjourned in Mashhad


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.

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July 10, 2014

Farhad Sadeqi gets medical leave, returns to prison


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.

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One new arrest in Mashhad (total now four)


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.

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July 5, 2014

Seven Bahais sentenced in Urumiyyeh

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.

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July 3, 2014

Shamim Ruhani sentenced : 1 year and exile


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.

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June 30, 2014

Two Bahais arrested in Yazd


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.

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June 29, 2014

Shomais Mohajer begins her sentence


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.

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June 27, 2014

Shahram Chiniyan in solitary cell

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.

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June 24, 2014

Leva Khanjani free


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.

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June 19, 2014

`Adel Fana’ayan freed unexpectedly


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.

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June 17, 2014

Susan Tebyaniyan’s irregular detention continues


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.

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June 3, 2014

Three new arrests in Mashhad

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.

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June 1, 2014

Susan Tebyaniyan arrested in Semnan

susan-t-2
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. susan-tebyaniyan

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May 29, 2014

Shahram Chiniyan transferred to high security block at Raja’i Shahr prison

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.

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May 26, 2014

Shahab Dehqani reports to Evin prison (updated)


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.

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May 24, 2014

`Adnan Rahmat-Penah sentenced: one year


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.

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Sa’id Reza’i denied medical treatment


HRANA, May 22, 2014.

On May 19, Sa’id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), one of the seven Yaran (national facilitators) who are now entering their seventh year in prison, was to be transferred from Raja’i Shahr prison to hospital. He is 57 years old and suffers from a heart ailment, and recently had heart surgery. He was shackled and dressed in prison uniform, but prison officials prevented his transfer. Five prisoners of conscience at Raja’i Shahr are known to have died due to similar problems in obtaining medical care.

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May 19, 2014

Golrokh and Shidrokh Firuzeyan free


Yaran-Iran (facebook), May 19, 2014

Golrokh and Shidrokh Firuzeyan (شیدرخ و گلرخ فیروزیان), who began serving 6-month sentences in Semnan’s central prison on January 8, 2014, have been released. They send greetings to their families and to the long-suffering Bahais of Iran, and hope for the freedom of all those who are imprisoned for no crime. Ardeshir Fena’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), who was arrested and tried with them, was sentenced to 8 months in prison. They were charged with various offenses, but eventually sentenced for “propaganda against the regime.”

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May 18, 2014

Fu’ad Khanjani and Kamran Rahimiyan barred from meeting imprisoned relatives


HRANA, May 18, 2014

Prison officials have prevented Kamran Rahimiyan ( کامران رحیمیان ) and Fu’ad Khanjani (فواد خانجانی), two Bahai prisoners in Raja’i Shahr prison, from meeting members of their families who are imprisoned in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Yesterday (May 17) it was announced that the two prisoners would be taken to Evin prison, but the visit was later denied on the basis that they refused to wear the standard prison uniform. Kamran Rahimiyan and his wife Faran Hesami ( فاران حسامی ) are both serving 4-year prison sentences for their work as teachers at the Bahai Open University (BIHE). She is held in Evin prison. The couple have a son, Artin (آرتین). Fu’ad Khanjani, who was a student of industrial management in Isfahan until his expulsion, is also serving a 4-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison, while his sister Leava Khanjani ( لواء خانجانی ) is serving a 2-year sentence in Evin prison.

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May 16, 2014

Amanullah Mostaqim transferred to hospital


HRANA, May 15

Amanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ) one of the imprisoned staff members of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, has been transferred to a hospital outside Raja’i Shahr prison. Another prisoner of conscience from the same prison, the 85-year-old Hasan Tafah (حسن طفاح) was also transferred to hospital. Mr. Mostaqim suffers from serious heart problems and has had coronary surgery. In recent months he has been moved back and forth between prison, hospital, and medical furlough. He began serving a five-year sentence for educating excluded groups on 20 May, 2013, in Evin prison, but was soon transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison.

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May 14, 2014

Mother and son arrested in Tehran to serve prison terms


HRANA, May 13, 2014

Elham Faramani ( الهام فراهانی ) and her son Shamim Na’imi ( شمیم نعیمی) were arrested in Tehran on May 11 and taken to Evin prison. They face sentences of four and three years respectively. Security agents went to Shamim’s home on May 10, but did not find him there. Next day, as Shamim was getting read to present himself at the prison, agents arrived and arrested him. An hour later, several members of his family went to the gate of Evin prison to say goodbye to Shamim. An officer came and asked for Shimim’s mother,
Elham Faramani, saying that Shamim wanted to say goodbye to his mother, and she should come inside. When she did, she was arrested to begin serving her own prison sentence. Her husband `Adel Na`imi ( عادل نعیمی ), Shamim’s father, is serving a ten year term, and his younger brother `Afif ( عفیف نعیمی), is also a prisoner of conscience. He is one of the ‘Yaran’ (Bahai national facilitators) who are serving 20-year sentences.

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May 7, 2014

Nasim Ashrafi arrested to begin her sentence


HRANA, May 6, 2014

Nasim Ashrafi ( نسیم اشرفی ), a Bahai from Tehran who was arrested in a wave of detentions of Bahais in Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz in early July, 2012, was arrested on May 6, to begin serving her one-year sentence. She was originally sentenced to 3 years in prison, in June 2013, but this was reduced by the review court. She was charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of Bahai organisations. She has been free on bail (set at one million tumans (300 euros, $US400)) since the end of July, 2012. She was arrested on the street yesterday morning, while on the way to a laboratory that performs medical tests.

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May 5, 2014

Amanullah Mostaqim returns to prison


HRANA, May 4

Amanullah Mostaqim ( امان‌الله مستقیم ) one of the imprisoned staff members of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, returned to prison on May 2, although he has a certificate from the Medical Examiner to say that he is unfit for prison. He was summoned by security officials and taken to prison when he responded. In recent weeks he has been receiving radiation therapy, and he suffers from a heart ailment. Doctors have told him he should live the rest of his life in a quiet environment without stress. He began serving a five-year sentence for educating excluded groups on 20 May, 2013, in Evin prison, but was soon transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison.

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May 4, 2014

15 Bahais tried in Shiraz

Iran Green Voice, May 4, 2014

On April 28, a court in Shiraz dealt with the files of 15 Bahais from Shiraz. The charges against them have been variously reported as “acting against security” and “propaganda against the regime.” All fifteen have been free on bail. The lawyer acting for them, Giti Pourfazel (گیتی پورفاضل), said that he had submitted a defence by post. [The names of the 15 are not included in this report, but I assume they include Mezhdeh Falah, Eyman Rahmat-Penah, Mazhgan `Amadi, Farshid Yazdani, Sam Jaberi, Yekta Fahandezh, Sina Sarikhani, Kambiz Habibi and Kavus Samimi ( مژده فلاح، ایمان رحمت پناه، مژگان عمادی، فرشید یزدانی، سام جابری، یکتا فهندژ، کامبیز حبیبی، کاووس صمیمی، سینا ساریخانی ). Sentences in Iran are usually announced two to four weeks after the trial, and do not come into effect until the review court has approved them ~ Sen]

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Shiraz cemetery destroyed despite restraining order

shiraz-graves
HRANA, May 3, 2014

The destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Shiraz has proceeded despite an administrative order to stop work issued by the local body department responsible for town planning and public spaces. It would appear the order was issued at the request of representatives of the Bahai community before excavations had begun, but the “Imam group” who planned the destruction of the cemetery did not halt work. A member of the armed forces was with them on the site, and paid no attention to the order from the local government department.

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May 3, 2014

Bahai cemetery in Ahvaz sealed off


HRANA, May 29, 2014

For the past two months, the Bahai cemetery in Ahvaz has been closed and the small road leading to it has been blocked by a barricade of pre-cast concrete panels. Thus far no official has been found who will admit responsibility. A month ago, the Bahais sought to bury a member of their community in the cemetery and were unable to do so. A community member told HRANA that they are pursuing the matter but have not been able to obtain any response.

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May 1, 2014

Destruction of Shiraz cemetery has begun

shiraz-graves
BWNS, May 1, 2014

Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, has announced that reports indicate that the excavation at the the Bahai cemetery in Shiraz, known as the Golestan Javid, has begun and that graves are being destroyed. Some 40 to 50 trucks are lined up to remove the earth and accelerate the work. “We are urgently calling on the international community to raise its voice in protest at this disturbing act. We also appeal directly to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to halt this act of desecration.” Some 950 Baha’is are buried in the cemetery, including the “ten Baha’i women of Shiraz,” who were hanged on 18 June 1983 at the height of the government’s campaign of execution against Baha’is.

Reports received so far indicate that workers for the Revolutionary Guards had completed an excavation some 1.5 meters deep and 200 square meters in area. The hole is near a number of very old gravesites in the western part of the cemetery but is not yet deep enough to have disturbed the remains, it is believed.

Ms. Dugal said the local Baha’is have made appeals directly to the Revolutionary Guards asking that it construct the proposed building on the areas of the site where there are no graves – and turn the areas with the graves into a green space, leaving the dead undisturbed.

“Appeals were made to various city and provincial authorities, including the commander in chief of Revolutionary Guard, the municipality of Shiraz, the Friday prayer Imam, the governor of the city, Iran’s prosecutor general and the head of the judiciary, with no results,” said Ms. Dugal.

Owned and used by the Baha’is of Shiraz since the early 1920s, the site was confiscated by the government in 1983, at which time its grave markers were leveled and its main buildings destroyed. Its ownership has since changed. Three years ago, the provincial office of the Revolutionary Guards announced it had taken over the site, and a sign was posted indicating that it planned to build a “cultural and sports building” there.

Between 2005 and 2012, at least 42 Baha’i-owned cemeteries in Iran were attacked in some manner. These attacks, often carried out with implicit if not direct government support, have involved the firebombing of mortuary buildings, the toppling of gravestones, the uprooting of landscape shrubbery, the spray-painting of anti-Baha’i graffiti on cemetery walls, and the exhumation of bodies. Similar symbolic violence through the destruction of Bahai and Jewish graves has been documented in the Qajar era.

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