Sen's daily

News to August 30


Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

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]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~~~~

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]
~~~~~~~~~~

Bahai athlete excluded from participation or recognition

Tahlili Ruz(a Kurdish-Iranian news aggregator), August 21, 2014.

Hamza Razyani (حمزه رازیانی), a successful Kurdish athelete, 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.
~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~

Press Trust of India, August 22, 2014. Corrected in the light of a report on India Tomorrow, August 23.

On August 22, delegations representing the Bahais and Kashmiri Pandits met the Minority Affairs Minister of India, Mrs. Najma Heptullah, in New Delhi to ask that they be accorded minority status, which has been so far given to Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Jains. The Bahai delegation, from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais in India, comprised Nelakshi Rajkhowa and Farida Wahidi; the Pandits were represented by a delegation of the Jammu and Kashmir Vichar Manch organisation. Pandits are Brahman Hindus who are socially disadvantaged in Kashmir, most of the community having fled from religious and nationalist terrorism.

In January this year, Jains became the sixth religious minority to be given national recognition in India. This allows them to benefit from central funds earmarked for welfare programmes and scholarships for minorities and for their educational institutions to be classified as minority educational institutions.
~~~~~~~

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.”
~~~~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~~~

Bahai war veteran unable to enroll children at school

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.
~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~

Six arrests in Tehran: one released

“No” to the harassment and imprisonment of Bahais (facebook group), August 11, 2014.

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).
~~~~~~

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.

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.
~~~~~~~~

Interview with an Egyptian Bahai harassed 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.

~~~~~

Indonesia’s Baha’i Community Grateful for Long-Awaited State Recognition

Jakarta Globe, August 7, 2014.

The Indonesian Baha’i Community thanked the government on Thursday for officially recognizing the monotheistic faith as a religion, after Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin’s recent statement that worshipers will be protected by the Constitution.

“We are gratefully and happily welcome [the minister’s] statement… that Baha’is, as Indonesian citizens, are recognized by the law,” the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is in Indonesia said in a statement. “We express our deepest gratitude to the government, members of the press and the Indonesian public for their attention interest in our society.”

Through his Twitter account, Lukman tweeted last month that “Baha’i is a religion, not a sect,” in response to a letter sent by the Home Affairs Ministry requesting clarification about the 200-year-old faith. The Ministry is currently reviewing the suggestion of officially allowing the religious option of Baha’i on Indonesian KTP, or identity card. Citizens are required to state their religion on their KTP card, which they acquire at the age of 17. At present, only six government recognized religions can legally appear on an ID card, namely Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and Confucianist.

“I told [the Ministry] that Baha’i is a religion protected by articles 28E and 29 in the Constitution,” Lukman tweeted on July 24. Not long after, however, the Indonesian media began accusing the minister of promoting a new religion. “That’s a distortion [of my previous statements],” he said in response, adding that he was not authorized to make any such endorsements. “A number of online media sites have made misleading comments regarding my tweets, saying that I’ve inaugurated a new religion,” Lukman said.

Lukman further emphasized that Baha’is — whether or not they can put their religious identity on their ID cards — deserve equal public services from the government, including those concerning population and legal issues. Nevertheless, the Baha’i Assembly in its Thursday’s press statement, said it wanted the people of Indonesia to learn about the religion from a credible source.

“Baha’i is an independent religion, neither a traditional belief nor a sect deviating from another faith,” the statement says. “The core of Baha’i teachings is the oneness of God; the oneness of mankind and the spiritual basis of every religion,” the Assembly explained.
~~~~~~

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
~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~

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.”

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.
~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~

Five Bahais released on bail in Tabriz

HRANA, July 28, 2014.

Four members of the Bahadari (بهادری ) family, and Shabnam Issakhani (شبنم عیسی خانی), have been released on bail. They are among Six Bahais arrested in Tabriz on July 12, and have been detained by the Ministry of Intelligence. Shabnam Issakhani was released after posting bail of 50 million tumans (14,000 euros; 19.000 US dollars). The same amount was required from Farzad Bahadari (فرزاد بهادری), while his wife Samin Rasouli (سیمین رسولی) and their children, Sahar ( سحر بهادری ) and Nassim Bahadari (نسیم بهادری ) had to provide 20 million tumans each. A source told HRANA that the raid on the Bahadari house was conducted “commando style” by a unity known as the Ashura Intelligence Arm. Rashin Saberi (راشین صابری), who was also arrested and interrogated on July 12, was released following her interrogation.
~~~~~~~

Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Supports State Recognition of Baha’i Religion

Jakarta Globe, July 25, 2014 (updated)

Indonesia’s new religious affairs Minister has indicated that the Bahai religion should be the seventh religion to be recognized by Indonesia as an official faith. “Baha’i is a religion, not a sect,” Lukman Saifuddin tweeted from his Twitter account on Thursday. “There are 220 believers in Banyuwangi, 100 in Jakarta, 100 in Medan, 98 in Surabaya, 80 in Palopo, 50 in Bandung, 30 in Malang and in other regions.”

Lukman said he made the comment as a result of a letter sent by the Home Affairs Ministry requesting clarification about the religion. “I told [the Home Affairs Ministry] that Baha’i is a religion protected by articles 28E and 29 in the Constitution,” Lukman said.

He added that adherents of the faith should be entitled to identify themselves as such on their national identity cards — and that recognition would make it easier to obtain necessary documentation, such as driver licenses, birth certificates, marriage certificates and land deeds.

Some local governments take a hard line against minorities in Indonesia by holding up various permits to individuals if they do not select one of the six religions recognized by Indonesia — Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism and Hinduism.

The deputy secretary of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Amirsyah Tambunan called Bahi’a a sect and said it should not be recognized.

The Minister’s statement has led to numerous articles on the Bahai Faith appearing on the internet. Din Syamsuddin, the general chairman of Indonesia’s second-largest Islamic organization, the Muhammadiyah, has responded with a call for the Indonesian government to protect the followers and the Bahai faith in line with the constitution. However he did not advocate equal rights and freedoms for the Ahmadiyyeh minority in Indonesia. (see the Antara News report, Sunday August 3, 2014)
~~~~~~~~

Jail Sentences for 15 Baha’is in Shiraz

Iran Press Watch, July 22, 2014.

According to a Persian report carried by ILNA news agency, the Iranian lawyer Guity Pourfazel has informed them of the conviction of her 15 Bahai clients in the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. Four women were sentenced to one and half years in jail, the sentences being suspended for five years. Four of the remaining eleven accused were sentenced to three and half year in jail term for “continuous activity against national security.” The remaining seven are to serve twenty month terms.

Giti Pourfazel is quoted elsewhere as saying, “Lawyers are not given the evidence and documents in security-related cases, and these documents are not kept inside the case files, either. … There is only one report from the Intelligence Ministry, based upon which the judge makes his decision. I did ask them to show me the evidence on which my clients’ convictions were based, but I was told that ‘the documents are confidential and they cannot be shown to you.'”

Guity Pourfazel stated that she has decided to challenge these sentences in a court of appeals, and that she hopes that the judge handling the case would reconsider the initial rulings.
~~~~~

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.
~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Manuchher Khalasi’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.
~~~~~~~

Decisions affecting the implementation of the Badi` calendar as of Ridvan 2015

Editorial, July 10

The Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Bahai community, has released a letter detailing three decisions that will allow for the uniform implementation of the Bahai calendar (known as the badi` calendar) in countries that have solar and lunar calendars, with effect from March 21, 2015.

The first decision is that Tehran “will be the spot on the earth that will serve as the standard for determining, … the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and thereby the day of Naw-Ruz for the Baha’i world.” The equinox occurs when the planet, in its orbit around the sun, reaches the point at which its poles incline neither towards nor away from the sun, with the result that the northern and southern hemispheres are equally illuminated. At that precise moment, the time of day or night differs around the globe (as at any astronomical moment). It may be noon in one country, and past nightfall in another country. In the Kitab-e Aqdas, Baha’u’llah states that “The Festival of Naw-Ruz falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries [that is, at the moment of the equinox], even should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.” The ruling of the House of Justice means that if the astronomical moment of equinox occurs before sunset in Tehran, on March 20, Bahais around the world will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 20. If the equinox occurs when the sun has already set in Tehran, they will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 21, and so on.

The second decision is that the birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah will be celebrated on the “first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Ruz.” The Bab was born on 1 Muharram in 1819, and Baha’u’llah on 2 Muharram 1817, with the result that in countries that use the Islamic lunar calendar, the two Bahai holidays followed one another. In the past, Bahais in other countries have celebrated these holy days on October 20 and November 12. Henceforth, the “twin holy days” will be celebrated on two successive days, as a ‘movable feast,’ falling anywhere from mid-October to mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar. Next year, the two Holy Days will fall on November 13 and 14 (10 Qudrat and 11 Qudrat).

The third decision is to fix the dates for all remaining holy days in accordance with the Badi` calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar. This follows from the first decision described above, but it also means that various historical questions, such as whether the Bab was in fact executed on July 8 or July 9, have been set aside. Whatever the findings of historians on such points may be, they will not affect the day on which the holy day is celebrated.

The full text of the letter from the Universal House of Justice is available in the documents archive of my Bahai Studies blog. Editorial, July 10

The Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Bahai community, has released a letter detailing three decisions that will allow for the uniform implementation of the Bahai calendar (known as the badi` calendar) in countries that have solar and lunar calendars, with effect from March 21, 2015.

The first decision is that Tehran “will be the spot on the earth that will serve as the standard for determining, … the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and thereby the day of Naw-Ruz for the Baha’i world.” The equinox occurs when the planet, in its orbit around the sun, reaches the point at which its poles incline neither towards nor away from the sun, with the result that the northern and southern hemispheres are equally illuminated. At that precise moment, the time of day or night differs around the globe (as at any astronomical moment). It may be noon in one country, and past nightfall in another country. In the Kitab-e Aqdas, Baha’u’llah states that “The Festival of Naw-Ruz falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries [that is, at the moment of the equinox], even should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.” The ruling of the House of Justice means that if the astronomical moment of equinox occurs before sunset in Tehran, on March 20, Bahais around the world will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 20. If the equinox occurs when the sun has already set in Tehran, they will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 21, and so on.

The second decision is that the birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah will be celebrated on the “first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Ruz.” The Bab was born on 1 Muharram in 1819, and Baha’u’llah on 2 Muharram 1817, with the result that in countries that use the Islamic lunar calendar, the two Bahai holidays followed one another. In the past, Bahais in other countries have celebrated these holy days on October 20 and November 12. Henceforth, the “twin holy days” will be celebrated on two successive days, as a ‘movable feast,’ falling anywhere from mid-October to mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar. Next year, the two Holy Days will fall on November 13 and 14 (10 Qudrat and 11 Qudrat).

The third decision is to fix the dates for all remaining holy days in accordance with the Badi` calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar. This follows from the first decision described above, but it also means that various historical questions, such as whether the Bab was in fact executed on July 8 or July 9, have been set aside. Whatever the findings of historians on such points may be, they will not affect the day on which the holy day is celebrated.

The full text of the letter from the Universal House of Justice is available in the documents archive of my Bahai Studies blog.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~~

`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.
~~~~~~~~~

“Baha’i” in the news in Egypt

New Today, undated [June 18, 2014]

An Egyptian news website, New Today, has published a video of a television interview Dr. Mohamed El-Saghir (الدكتور محمد الصغير), a former advisor to the Minister of Awqaf, in which he claims that the television presenter Wael Ibrashi (وائل الإبراشي) is one of the most prominent Baha’is in the Arabic world. According to the learned doctor, one of his unnamed friends went to an unnamed country, visited a supposed Bahai temple, and found in it a list of the most important Bahais in the Arabic world. The name of Wael Ibrashi appeared on the list. Dr. El-Saghir emphasized that he personally stood behind this information.
~~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~

Anti-Bahai pamphlets distributed in Yazd

Alliance for Rights of All Minorities-ARAM, June 13, 2014

Washington D.C — The Alliance for Rights of All Minorities (ARAM) has been informed of the dissemination of an incendiary flyer in the city Yazd which states: “Since the Baha’i people are considered as expelled criminals by Islam, any privilege of life or property on their blood is wasted.” The flyer that was posted on targeted sections of the city, including the doors of some Baha’i residences calls for “all Moslems to oppose this group and to fight them with all their life.”

The dissemination of this flyer on the eve of Mid- Shaban, or Shabe-barat, or the “night of deliverance” which honors the birth Imam Mahdi, by design or coincidence presents a heightened threat, particularly as the world’s attention is focused on World Cup fervor and turmoil in Iraq. ARAM calls on Iran’s government officials to preserve the safety and security of its citizens by condemning the flyer and its message.
~~~~~~~~

Firearms incident at the Bahai Institute in Guyana resolved peacefully

South Strand News, June 10, 2014

On June 8, about 5 p.m., Sheriff’s Deputies in Georgetown, South Carolina, responded to gunshots at the Bahai Institute. Two male victims claimed that a young man had become verbally abusive during a basketball game and was trying to start a fight. He left the scene and returned with a handgun and fired several shots, into the air and at the tires on the complainants’ vehicle before attempting to run over one complainant on the basketball court. He left, but returned later, but fled in a vehicle when he observed sheriff’s deputies there. A pursuit ensued, during which he drove into a ditch and fled on foot. He gave himself up the following day. The Louis G. Gregory Institute in Hemingway, South Carolina, was the first full-time Bahai institute established in the US, in 1972. It also hosts Radio Bahai (WLGI) and serves as a venue for community and Bahai events.
~~~~~~~~~

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.
~~~~~~~~

Susan Tebyaniyan arrested in Semnan

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. Tehyaniyan, 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.
~~~~~~~~

For older news, see the “old news” archive

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,753 other followers

%d bloggers like this: