Sen's daily

2011-01-03

February-March 2011

(January 2011 appears to be accidentally deleted)

Abuse in Bahai school in Suriname?

Star News, March 28

In Suriname (on the North coast of South America), the media and a member of parliament have been focusing on accusations of child abuse in a Bahai-run primary school in Bofokoele. The Dutch teacher who was principal of the school, named as Sjerome S., has been suspended for three months and asked not to come near the school. Hedy Heymans, Chairwoman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Suriname, says that although Sjerome S. has not been proven guilty, no risks can be taken with the well-being of the children and the good name of the Bahai communty. Heymans says that the public can be assured that the Bahai community takes the case very seriously. “We consider it a very, very serious matter, and not one we can accept.”

Heymans says Sjerome S. had worked for the Bahai community since October 2010, and his background had been checked internally “without finding anything remarkable. The man has a good reputation in Bofokoele and, according to his colleagues, is a very good teacher.

In December last year there was a quarrel at the school between Sjerome and a teacher from the capital city of Paramaribo. She refused to work under him on the basis of rumours about his alleged practice with young girls. “When we heard the rumors, we brought all the teachers to the city. All the teachers from the interior [Bofokoele] refuted the charges, only the teacher from Paramaribo had a different story. “For us, it was just a rumor and you are not going to fire a well functioning school principal on that basis. He received a severe reprimand from us,”, says Heymans.

Heymans said she was not aware that Sjerome S. had been dismissed for the same reasons by Roman Catholic Diocese Education from another inland school Masiakriki. “We knew nothing, only that he had a wife and child in the interior.”

Sjerome S. said he welcomed an investigation, in the interests of the children, and had done nothing wrong. When Star News confronted him with a recording of a conversation and the suspicions expressed by other teachers, and other material indicating the charges might have some substance, he said the material had been manipulated. Both the Ministry of Justice and the human rights organisation Moiwana are said to have begun investigations. One likely outcome of the affair is the accelerated passage of new child protection legislation.

On March 30, the Minister of Justice announced that a special police team would be departing that day, to investigate the matter on the spot.

Source (in Dutch)
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Three free on bail in Kerman

Bahai News Service, March 25

Nayusha Badi`i Thabet, Shamis Nourani and Soulemaz Qasemi ( نیوشا بدیعی ثابت، شمیس نورانی و سولماز قاسمی ), three Bahai women of Kerman, were released on bail on March 13. Mrs. Thabet was involved with the administration of the child care facility in Bam, which has been subject to the attentions of the security agencies.

Source (in Persian)
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Agents seize children’s books in Semnan and Sangsar

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 25

On March 12, the homes of Mr. Sahil Qorbani ( سهیل قربانی) in Sangsar and Mr. Shirdel Firuzeyan ( شیردل فیروزیان ) in Semnan were searched by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence, who seized materials relating to children’s classes and other effects. Two other Bahai homes in Semnan, whose owners are not named, were searched on the same day.

Source (in Persian)
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Isfahan cemetery vandalized again

CHRR, March 28

Source (in Persian)

In the days following Naw Ruz, unknown persons have destroyed a considerable number of young trees planted at the Bahai cemetery of Isfahan. In October 2008, some 2500 trees at the cemetery were destroyed by vandals, who also damaged gravestones and destroyed a building used for washing bodies before burial. Since 1996 many Bahai cemeteries across Iran have been vandalized or completely destroyed.
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One arrest in Shiraz

RAHANA, March 26

Farshid Ghavaseh ( فرشید غواصه ), a Bahai of Shiraz, has been arrested in his home by plain clothes agents. They arrived in the night to search his home, without a warrant, and took all his personal effects with them when they took him away. His whereabouts are unknown.

Source (in Persian)
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UN Human Rights Council appoints monitor for Iran

Bahai World News Service, March 24

For the first time since its creation five years ago, the UN Human Rights Council has appointed a special investigator to monitor Iran’s compliance with international human rights standards. The vote was 22 to 7, with 14 abstentions. The 47-member Council also called on Iran to allow the investigator, who is known as a Special Rapporteur, to visit the country. The resolution followed the March 14 release of a report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which expressed concern about a wide range of human rights violations in Iran.

“The Secretary-General has been deeply troubled by reports of increased executions, amputations, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials, and possible torture and ill-treatment of human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and opposition activists,” wrote Mr. Ban.

Mr. Ban’s report also expressed concern about continuing reports of the persecution of minority groups in Iran. He specifically highlighted reports of persecution against Iranian Baha’is, and noted as well that members of the Arab, Armenian, Azeri, Baloch, Jewish, and Kurdish communities have also reportedly faced discrimination and persecution.

In the case of Baha’is, Mr. Ban noted that a number of Baha’is have been arrested recently, and that seven Baha’i leaders were sentenced to long prison terms after a trial last year that many felt was unjust.

Mr. Ban also noted that the UN also has been receiving reports of persecution directed against Christians.

Full report
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Details on two arrests in Kerman

HRANA, March 22

As previously reported, a number of persons involved in running a child care facility in the Bam region have been arrested. HRANA reports the names of two of those arrested in Kerman as Sara Hajj-Behrami and `Ali Divsalar ( سارا حاج بهرامی و علی دیوسالار ). They have been accused of working with Bahais, implying that they may not themselves be Bahais. They were arrested by security agents and transferred to Kerman prison. After the Bam earthquake the two established an institution for child care in the city, which has continued operating, quite legally, until today. `Ali Divsalar is also a board member in an association for children’s rights. Two members of that association have previously been arrested on flimsy charges. He is also a member of the ‘children’s house’ in Shoush, which may refer to the city of that name, or more probably to an area in South Tehran.

From the information given, it is not clear whether those arrested are Bahais, or were simply arrested for employing Bahais, and to what extent the purpose of the arrests is to make child care a sector in which Bahais may not be employed (until now it has been permitted), or is to crack down on children’s rights activism in general.

Source (in Persian)
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Achilan Door: all Bahai employees fired

HRANA, March 18

All Bahai employees of Achilan Door, a manufacturer of automatic doors have been dismissed, on the instructions of the Intelligence Office of IRGC (Revolutionary Guards). The exact number is not known, but is believed to be more than 25, in Mashhad and Tehran. Six senior staff members have previously been arrested, of whom three are Bahais.

Source (in Persian)
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Another arrest in Semnan

HRANA, March 21

Nader Kasai ( نادر کسایی ), a Bahai resident of Semnan, was arrested late last week. Security agents searched his home and confiscated a computer and religious books. He is being held by the Ministry of Information’s detention facilities in Semnan. This brings to six the number of Bahais arrested in Semnan in recent weeks, one of whom, Elham Muta`arefi ( الهام متعارفی ) has been released on bail.

Source (in Persian)
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Bookshop workers accused of selling Bahai books

HRANA, March 21

Three employees of a bookshop in Kermanshah have been arrested, and after several days of interrogation have been transferred to Dizelabad prison, on the north edge of Kermanshah city. They are accused of selling Bahai books. Since most Bahai books in Persian are freely available on internet, and are circulated on CDs, it seems unlikely that current Bahai literature would be distributed in this way by Bahais in Iran. It could be that the shop is an antiquarian selling old books or manuscripts, some of which happened to be produced by Bahais.
Source (in Persian)
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Afif Naeimi summoned to prison office

HRANA, March 21

In recent days, Afif Naeimi ( عفیف نعیمی ), one of the seven Bahai Yaran or facilitators serving 20-year sentences in Raja’i Shahr prison near Tehran, has been summoned to the security office of the prison. The reason for this is not clear, but another of the political and religious prisoners in that wing of the prison received a similar summons recently, after one of his letters appeared on the internet.

Source (in Persian)
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Yaran sentences confirmed at 20 years

Khabar Navard, March 19

The written sentences have finally been delivered to the lawyers acting for the seven Yaran (facilitators) who served the Bahai community of Iran in its dealings with government bodies (for example, in relation to Bahai burial places) until their arrest three years ago. Despite previous oral declarations that the sentences had been reduced to 10 years as an act of “Islamic mercy,” the sentences are for 20 years.

Source (in Persian)
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Letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Japan

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Japan

Dear Friends,

Three days have passed from the devastating natural disaster that struck the northern region of Japan, from Kanto, Tohoku, to all the way to Hokkaido. It is a humbling experience to see and experience the powerlessness against nature, yet at the same time, a reconfirming experience of the strength of the human soul, when one witnesses people bravely standing up to unite and help each other, and begin the process of putting their lives back together.

Thankfully, as far as we know at this point, although many have been affected by this calamity, all Baha’i friends are safe. We are also receiving heartwarming messages from communities and friends all around the globe, offering their sincere prayers, and offering their assistance.

It is at times like this, when one remembers the short prayer written by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

” On the appearance of fearful natural events call ye to mind the might and majesty of your Lord, He Who heareth and seeth all, and say “Dominion is God’s, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation” ” ~ The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 23

The days ahead will in no way be easy, and we can expect the troubles to continue. We offer our sincere prayers for the safety of the friends. May the Blessed Beauty guard and protect you all.

We would like to ask the friends around the nation to continue to pray for those friends who have been affected by this disaster, and for the nation as a whole.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Japan
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Another arrest in Semnan

RAHANA, March 16

On March 14, security agents arrested Zhinous Nourani ( ژینوس نورانی ) in Semnan. There is still no news of her whereabouts. This follows the arrests of four Bahais in Semnan on the morning of March 12. Their names are Zahra Nik-A’in, Elham Ruzbehi, Taraneh Ehsani and Puya Tabiyaniyan ( زهره نیک آئین (تبیانیان)، الهام روزبهی (متعارفی)، ترانه ترابی (احسانی) و پویا تبیانیان ).

Source (in Persian)
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Further information on the Bam kindergarten arrests

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 16

I previously reported that Sahar Beyram Abadi ( سحر بیرام آبادی ) and Nahale Shahidi (نهاله شهیدی) were arrested in Kerman on March 5, and that Saman Astuvari ( سامان استوار ) was arrested there on March 2. According to the Bahai News Service, Mr. Saman Estavari, the director of a pre-school in Bam was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Information on March 2 after several periods of interrogation. His home was searched and personal effects and a computer were seized. On the same day, Sahar Beyram Abadi, a resident of Tehran who has been working with the pre-school, was arrested at the airport in Bam as she was returning to Tehran.

The Bahai News Service in English states that the arrest of four Bahais this month in connection with the provision of kindergarten-level education in Kerman Province has been confirmed, and that two other Bahais from Kerman were arrested on March 13, but their involvement in education projects has not been confirmed.

Source (in Persian)
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Sari: Sapideh Ma`sumi released

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 11

Mrs. Sapideh Ma`sumi ( سپیده معصومی ), who was arrested on November 22, 2010, and sentenced to six month in prison, was released on parole on February 26 after serving half of her sentence. She had previously been arrested on December 19, 2009, and released on bail on January 12, 2010.

Source (in Persian)
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Isfahan: four school students re-admitted

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 11

Four Bahai school students in Isfahan, who were expelled on charges of teaching the Bahai Faith, have been readmitted after signing a written undertaking. One of them, Arad Ishtiyaq ( آراد اشتیاق ), was informed of his expulsion on February 14 (reported on this blog). The remain three are women students: Nikin Rahmani, Ava Salimani and Bahar Ruhani ( نگین رحمانی، آوا سلیمانی، بهار روحانی ).

Source (in Persian)
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Shahin Sana’i free on bail

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 11

Mr. Shahin Sana’i ( شاهین سنائی ), a Bahai resident of Qaemshahr, was released from jail in Sari on February 25. He had been arrested on this occasion on February 5, but had previously been arrested on September 21, 2005, and released on October 11 that year. Bail was set at 30 million tumans (about 21,000 euros).

Source (in Persian)
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Bahai-run business closed in Malard Karaj

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 11

In Malard Karaj, a town 50 km east of Tehran, a cafe run by Mr. Afshin Ehsani ( افشین احسنی ) was closed by the authorities recently, because he is a Bahai.

Source (in Persian)
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Didar Ra’ufi sentenced: 3 years

Khabar Navard, March 16

Didar Ra’ufi ( دیدار رئوفی ), a Bahai of Tehran, has been sentenced to three years in prison. He was one of twelve Bahais arrested on January 14, 2010, as the authorities tried to blame the Ashura unrest on the Bahais. He was interrogated and held in solitary confinement for almost two months before being released on bail.

Source (in Persian)
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Haifa pressures Israel Railways: bury the rail at the foot of Carmel

Jerusalem Post, March 14

Israel Railways has an electrification project for much of its tracks, including 7 kilometers in the lower city of Haifa along the coast. The Haifa municipality objects to the placement of electricity poles spaced as little as 20 meters apart on this section, saying the tracks separate the city from the coast. The municipality would like the railroad to run that section of track into a tunnel, allowing contiguity between the upper city, the lower city, and the coast. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel also has concerns: “The existing parks along the coast and the ones in the planning stages, as well as the tourism area being planned for the Ben-Gurion route will be seriously visually marred. The damage will be multiplied by the fact that the path of the tracks is windy and will therefore require a lot of poles.”

Full article(English)
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Burial of Mrs. Khanjani an event in Tehran

Iran Press Watch (English), March 14

Several thousand people, Bahai and non-Bahai, attended the funeral of Mrs. Ashraf Khanjani at Golestan Javid, a Bahai section of the Khavaran cemetery near Tehran, “not only to show their respect for this loving believer of Baha’u’llah, but also to show solidarity with the Baha’i community of Iran, and especially the innocent imprisoned Baha’is.” Iran Press Watch has a report and photographs (which does not mention what some Persian reports have stated, that agents of the security forces were in attendance). In the present Iranian context, this is a significant demonstration of solidarity and determination, and a message sent to the government that Bahais are there in Iranian society, and will not go away. There is no Bahai Administration in Iran, but it would appear that informal networks are filling the gap rather well, since the funeral took place one day after Mrs. Khanjani died, yet significant numbers heard of it and attended.

Source
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Arrest, business closure and release for Afshin Safa’ayan

Bahai News Service, March 11
RAHANA, March 14

On February 26, Mr. Afshin Safa’ayan ( افشین صفائیان ), a Bahai resident of Nasim Shahr (or of the nearby Islam Shahr, according to RAHANA) was arrested on charges of conducting propaganda. Security agents searched his business and confiscated personal effects, identity papers and a computer. His shop was closed down. They accompanied him to his home and confiscated religious books and pictures and a computer. According to RAHANA he had been summoned on February 22 to answer some questions. On February 26 he was summoned again, and this time held in Raja’i Shahr prison. He was released on bail on March 6, and has been charged with propaganda against the regime and cooperating with opponents of the regime.

Source (in Persian)
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Contact with Mrs. Eshaqi and Farhad Amri in Mashhad

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 11

Mrs. Daya’yeh Eshaqi-Sho`a`i and her son-in-law, Mr. Farhad Amri (ضیائیه اسحاقی و آقای فرهاد امری ), were arrested on January 1 (according to this report, but previously reported to have been February 1). Their whereabouts was for some time unknown. They are being held in the detention facilities of the Ministry of Information in Mashhad. Each of them has been permitted to make two brief telephone calls.

Source (in Persian)
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One arrest in Amol

PCED, March 14

Hoshang Fana’ayan ( هوشنگ فنائیان ), a Bahai living in Amol, was arrested at his work on March 13. The security agents also searched his father’s home, and seized a computer and some books. It appears the arrest related to information about the Bahais of Sari, about 70 kilometres away, where the Bahais have been the target of heavy persecution for the past year. Both towns lie on the coastal plain of the Caspian Sea.

Source (in Persian)

HRANA adds that he has been taken to Sari, and a 20-day detention order has been issued.
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Mithaq Afshar free

PCED, March 14

Mithaq Afshar ( میثاق افشار ), a Bahai student excluded from education who was arrested in Tehran on February 15, was released on March 13.

Source (in Persian)
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Four arrests in Semnan

HRANA, March 12

On the morning of March 12, four Bahai residents of Semnan were arrested. Their names are
Zahra Nik-A’in, Elham Ruzbehi, Taraneh Ehsani and Puya Tabiyaniyan. Their names indicate they are all women. The agents showed a copy of a search order, and searched their home, confiscating some personal effects, before arresting all four.

Source (in Persian)

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Shahrukh Ta’ef tried in Tehran

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 7

On February 13, Mr. Shahrukh Ta’ef ( شاهرخ طائف ), a Bahai of Tehran, was summoned to court for trial. The sentence has not yet been announced. He was arrested on January 14, 2009, following a search of his home, and held in solitary confinement until March 18, 2009, when he was released on bail.

Source (in Persian)
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Trial of Didar Ra’ufi in Tehran

Bahai News Service (Persian), 7 March

Mr. Didar Ra’ufi ( دیدار رئوفی ), a Bahai resident of Tehran, was tried on February 12, but the sentence has not yet been announced. He was arrested on January 14, 2009, and his release on bail was allowed on March 17, 2009. However the bail was set at 700,000,000 rials (about 49,000 euros).

Source (in Persian)
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One arrest in Semnan

Ey Bahai, March 12

Mr. Irfan Ehsani ( عرفان احسانی ) was arrested in Seman today, by agents of the Ministry of Information who entered his home.

Source (in Persian)
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Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announces arrests of Bahai teachers

ReutersAfrica, March 12

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has announced the arrest of a number of adherents of the Bahai religious minority for proselytising their faith in schools, student news agency ISNA reported on Saturday quoting a court official. The arrests were the outcome of nine months of undercover investigation in the capital Tehran and the city of Bam, in south-eastern Iran, said Mohammad Reza Sanjari, the prosecutor-general of the revolutionary court in Bam. He did not indicate how many and when the arrests were made. (The arrests of 3 Bahai teachers have already been reported on Sen’s Daily).

“The investigation indicated the existence of a wide and intricate network, members of which undertook measures at the order of a central organisation,” he said. Sanjari said the adherents of Bahai, which Shi’ites consider a heretical offshoot of Islam, took advantage of a powerful earthquake that rocked Bam in 2003 killing thousands and destroying 70 to 90 percent of homes and schools.

“The abuse by the Bahai organisation of the 2003 post-earthquake in the city of Bam, which was in need of cultural, social and educational measures is very obvious,” he said.

While arrests of Bahais are everyday events in Iran, they are usually not announced by the authorities unless a show trial is being prepared.

Source
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Anisa Safaryan summoned for sentencing

Khabar Navard, March 11

Anisa Safaryan ( انیسا صفریان ), a student from Babolsar who was expelled from the University of Science and Technology in Behshar (Mazandaran province) because she is a Bahai, received a summons on March 5 to got to court in Sari to hear her sentence. (Theoretically, a Bahai can be found not guilty, but I can’t recall it actually happening.) She was detained on December 20th, 2010, and taken to the Ministry of Information in Sari. She was freed on bail on January 1.
Source (in Persian)
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Leva Khanjani’s sentence confirmed

Ey Bahai blog, March 12

The review court has confirmed the sentence of two years in prison for Leva Khanjani ( لوا خانجانی، ), a Bahai student excluded from education, and the granddaughter of the imprisoned Bahai facilitator Jamaloddin Khanjani. She was arrested on January 3, 2010, along with her husband Babak Mobasher ( بابک مبشر). They were among 12 Tehran Bahais blamed for the Ashura protests in late 2009. She was released on bail on March 1.

Source (in Persian)
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Iqan Shahidi summoned

Ey Bahai blog, March 11

Iqan Shahid ( ایقان شهیدی ), a Bahai student of Kermanshah who has been excluded from education, was summoned to court in a phone call on March 9. He is to appear on March 13. However his lawyer had still not been given access to the documents on the case. He was arrested on March 2, 2010. During his detention he was pressured to make a televised confession. He was released on bail of 50 million tuman (about 350 euros) on May 11. Charged with “membership and multiple activities in the illegal Association of activists for the defence of human rights, which is a threat to security,” and “membership and multiple activities in the misguided sect of Bahais… (etc.),” he presented his final defence in a courtroom in Evin Prison in Tehran on November 28.

Source (in Persian)
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Passing of Mrs. Ashraf Khanjani

A reliable source in Iran indicates that Mrs. Ashraf Khanjani, the wife of the imprisoned Bahai facilitator Jamaloddin Khanjani, died in her home at 10 a.m. today, at the time of her scheduled contact with her husband.
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Another children’s right’s worker arrested in Kerman

Ey Bahai blog, PCED, March 8

Ms. Nahale Shahidi (نهاله شهیدی), a Bahai living in Kerman, and active in extramural education for children, was arrested on March 5. Her brother states that she was arrested in a village near the earthquake-affected city of Bam, where she went every week to give classes. He said they gave classes only in non-religious subjects, and Nahale even removed her Bahai ring when she traveled in case someone asked about it. She has contacted her mother since the arrest to say that she is well.

In recent days, two other Bahais engaged in extramural education for children have been arrested in Kerman: Sahar Beyram Abadi ( سحر بیرام آبادی ) and Saman Astuvari ( سامان استوار ), on March 5 and March 2 respectively. The Bahais, and especially those working for disadvantaged children, have been under increasing pressure recently, especially in Kerman, Isfahan and Mashhad. In May 2006, 53 Bahais, most of them youth, were arrested in Shiraz. They had been teaching classes to underprivileged children in a school as part of a community service activity conducted by a local nongovernmental organization. They had a letter of permission for this work from the Islamic Council of Shiraz. Muslim co-workers who were also arrested were quickly released, while 50 of the Bahais were given 3 year suspended sentences followed by a 6-month renewable travel ban, and three, Raha Sabet, Haleh Rouhi and Sasan Taqva, are still in prison serving four year sentences for organizing an illegal group and propaganda on behalf of groups opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Source (in Persian)
PCED report (in Persian)
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Mithaq Muhammad `Alipour released

PCED, March 8

Mithaq Muhammad `Alipour ( میثاق محمد علی پور ), a Bahai student excluded from tertiary education, has been released in Isfahan after providing his business license as surety. He was arrested by security officers at 2 a.m. on February 15. His detention was said to be related to “propaganda in support of organisations and groups opposed to the Islamic Republic.” Two other Bahais arrested at about the same time, Anisa Motahar and Farhud Ishtiyaq, ( انیسا مطهر و فرهود اشتیاق ) are still being held. A further three young Bahais were arrested in Isfahan on March 5, and are still being held.

Source (in Persian)
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Another arrest in Qaemshahr

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 7

On February 12, Mr. Shahin Shefa’i ( شاهین شفائی ), a Bahai resident of Qaemshahr, was arrested by intelligence agents following a raid on his home.

Source (in Persian)
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Changiz Derakhshayan arrested, bailed

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 7

Mr. Changiz Derakhshayan ( چنگیز درخشانیان ), a Bahai resident of Qaemshahr in Mazandaran province, was summoned to court on February 1 to answer charges of propaganda against the regime and possessing a satellite [dish]. It appears that he was detained at that time, since he has now been released on bail. His home has been searched on several occasions (see previous reports) and books and other items relating to the Bahai Faith were confiscated. He was previously arrested in 2005 and 2006, and in 2008 he served five months in prison.Source (in Persian)
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Bahai workshop closed in Arabkheyl

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 7

In the town of Arabkheyl, near Babolsar in Mazandaran, a sugar processing workshop belonging to Mr. Ayman Salari ( ایمان سالاری ) has been closed by the authorities on the grounds that Bahais are not permitted to engage in any sort of food production. In Iran, white sugar is commonly distributed in sugar cones weighing several kilograms, made and sold in small workshops. Flavoured sugar flakes are also used in tea.

Source (in Persian)
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Anti-Bahaism in Ardestan

Bahai News Service, March 7

On February 1, residents in several parts of the town ofArdestan, in central Iran, who were assembling for commemorations of the death of the Prophet Muhammad, chanted anti-Bahai slogans and broke some windows as they passed through an area in which most of the inhabitants are Bahais.

Source (in Persian)
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Three Bahais fined in Kashan

Bahai News Service (Persian)

Mr. Wahid Haqiqi, his son Sina Haqiqi, and Mrs. Mona Ruhani (وحید حقیقی، سینا حقیقی و خانم مونا روحانی), who were arrested in August 2009, and later freed on bail, have each been fined 100,000 tumans (about 100 American dollars), on charges of promoting the Bahai sect, propaganda against the regime and supporting opposition groups.

Source (in Persian)
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Student expelled in Ramsar

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 7

Mr. Shayan Dhakheriyan Jushqani ( شایان ذاکریان جوشقانی ), a student at a Technical Institute in Ramsar, was expelled in December 2010, due to his commitment to the Bahai Faith.

Source (in Persian)
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Another arrest in Kerman

HRANA, March 5

Sahar Beyram Abadi ( سحر بیرام آبادی ), a children’s rights worker, was arrested by security agents in Kerman today. Sahar works for a charity for children’s welfare in the earthquake-affected region of Bam. The charge is said to be “promoting the Bahai Faith under the guise of philanthropy.” Her family have been told that she has been transferred to Bam. Another Bahai, Saman Astuvari ( سامان استوار ), was arrested in Kerman on the same charges on March 2.

Source (in Persian)
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Three youth arrested in Isfahan

HRANA and Khabar Navard, March 5

On March 4, officers of the Ministry of Information arrested three Bahai youth in Isfahan. Those arrested are Payman Penah (16 years), Saman Golshani (18 years, in photo) and Ramina Ehrari ( پیمان پناه، ثمن گلشنی و رمینا احراری ). They were arrested at a Bahai meeting in a home in Isfahan, which was disrupted by the agents. Their whereabouts is unknown. Three other Bahais who were arrested about two weeks ago in Isfahan, Mithaq Muhammad `Alipour, Anisa Motahar and Farhud Ishtiyaq (میثاق محمد علیپور، انیسا مطهر و فربود اشتیاق ) are still being held.

Source (in Persian)
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Amnesty International : priority for Navid Khanjani

Persian to English, March 2

Navid Khanjani ( نوید خانجانی ), a Bahai and a member of two Iranian human rights organizations, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment on 31 January 2011 (see previous report). An appeal is still pending. During his detention, he spent between 23 and 25 days in solitary confinement; was beaten while interrogated, and was strangled while blindfolded by a prison official for refusing to “confess” on camera. Amnesty International has designated his case as an “urgent action” campaign, requesting letters to be written to Iran’s Supreme Leader and the Head of the Provincial Judiciary in Tehran, calling on the Iranian authorities to review his conviction immediately.

Full statement (English, German and Persian versions)
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One arrest in Kerman

HRANA, March 3

Saman Astuvari ( سامان استوار ), a Bahai of Kerman, was arrested March 2. Security forces arrested him away from his home, and took him with him to his house, which they searched. They confiscated books, CDs and images relating to the Bahai Faith, before taking him away. His whereabouts are unknown.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3 Bahais arrested & tried in Indonesia

Editorial content, 2 March

This news is several months old, but it was recycled yesterday by an English-language anti-Bahai site, Baha’i Activities in Indonesia, which gives no dates and is likely to give the impression, as the story enters the English-language blogosphere, that this is a recent event.

The report says, in brief, that the Indonesian Police arrested three Bahais for teaching and converting Muslim children in Lampung Timur, Sumatra, contrary to various government guidelines and directives. Among these, the Law of Child Protection states that “whoever converts or attempts to convert children to other religion will be charged up to 5 years prison or fine of U$10,000 or both.” The Bahais were prosecuted under this law, and were convicted [although no punishment is mentioned]. From the description it appears that they were giving tutoring and holding children’s classes open to non-Bahais. The ban on Baha’i activities in Indonesia was lifted in the year 2000, after almost three decades, on the condition that there would be no conversion activities. The Bahais referred the case to the Commission of Human Rights, which in turn wrote to the Ministry of Religious Affair. [The outcome of that is not mentioned.]

The two separate events, involving one and two Bahais respectively, occurred in October 2010. In the first, reported on October 6, a Mr. Sahroni was tried in the District Court of Sukadana (in the province of Lampung, on the island of Sumatra). He was charged with exploiting children under the guise of providing tutoring. A demonstration (see the photo above) demanded the dissolution of the Bahai religion. In the second case, reported on October 21, two Bahais were tried in the same court. Their names are given as Sahroni, known as Cak Roni (50) and Iwan Purwanto (45). It is possible that Cak Roni is the same person as the Mr. Sahroni of the previous case, or that they are related. They appear to have been holding children’s classes in the nearby village of Sidorejo.

On February 10 this year, the Lampung branch of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Indonesia (MUI) issued a ‘black list‘ of unacceptable heresies, the last of which is the Bahai Faith.
~~~~~~~~~~~

Behzad Dhabihi released

Ay Baha’ blog, February 28

Behzad Dhabihi-Mahforuzeki ( بهزاد ذبيحي ماهفروزكي ), a Bahai of Sari, has been released, but it is not clear what sort of release this is, or whether bail was required. He was arrested on the morning of February 22, after being summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence in Sari.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Badi`ullah Lohrasb arrested

HRANA, February 28

Badi`ullah Lohrasb ( بدیع الله لهراسب ), an elderly Bahai of Salman Shahr (on the Caspian coast, due North of Tehran) was arrested by security forces about 10 days ago. He was a university teacher before the 1979 revolution, and has since given private lessons. He has been able to contact his wife by telephone twice since his arrest, and assured her that he is well.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Arrest of Majid Majidi related to Achilan Door case

HRANA, February 26

HRANA has related the arrest of Majid Majidi ( مجید مجیدی ) in Mashhad, reported previously by the Bahai News Service, to the curious case of Achilan Doors in Mashhad. In that case, three employees and a Company Director at Achilan Doors were arrested by security agents, on January 14. Two of the employees arrested at that time, named as Farnud Muhammadzadeh and Behran Mahusni ( فرنود محمدزاده و بهرنگ محسني ) were Bahais. If the report is correct, Majid Majidi is the third Bahai, and fifth employee, to be arrested. Achilan is a substantial company producing automatically opening doors. The Pasdaran (Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) have a rival automatic door company, which has accused Achilan of spying activity, using its camera-controlled doors. The semi-official Fars News Agency reported that Achilan Doors has a Zionist background and is linked to the Bahais, and its products are used in sensitive places and in government buildings. (see Pars Daily January 17)

Mr. Majidi is said to be the manager of a daughter company of Achilan Door. The four people previously arrested have not contacted their families as yet, after more than a month in detention, although prosecutors have said they are to be charged with security offences.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Payam Aghsani sentenced: 3 years and a fine

Khabar Navard, February 26

Payam Aghsani ( پیام اغصانی ), a 32-year old Bahai of Tehran, has been sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of about 280 euros. On January 14, 2009, security forces raided twelve Bahai homes in Tehran, confiscating books and CDs and pictures relating to the Bahai Faith. Mr. Aghsani’s home was one of those searched. He was arrested and detained in Evin Prison, and released on bail on March 11, 2009.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Payman Kashfi begins a 4-year term for Bahai activities

Khabar Navard blog, February 24

Payman Kashfi ( پیمان کشفی ), a Bahai of Tehran, began serving his 4-year sentence, in Tehran’s Evin Prison, on February 14. He was charged with “membership and promotion of an illegal group,” a charge under which Iranian Bahais are commonly imprisoned.

In August/September ( شهریور ) of 2009, the father of Payman Kashfi was contacted [apparently by the Ministry of Intelligence, see below], to say that Payman Kashfi should not host the Bahai 19-day Feast in his home. The officials said that since the government had shut down the Bahai organisation, he did not have a right to organise “Feasts.” Payman Kashfi said that he accepted the government’s closure of Bahai institutions, but hosting and attending the Bahai Feast is an individual spiritual obligation which, like the other spiritual duties [e.g., prayer, fasting], cannot be ignored, and Bahais can organise the Feast as an individual initiative. The officer who had contacted him then threatened him with the confiscation of his property and a summons to court. At about the same time, Payman Kashfi’s employer was contacted, with the request that he should be dismissed because he was a Bahai and was “insulting Islamic sanctities” (blaspheming). However the manager who employed him rejected these charges, defended Payman Kashfi’s rights, and said he would not dismiss an employee without an official order. Following ineffectual pressure from the Ministry of Intelligence, and pressure of various sorts on his family and employer, Mr. Kashfi received a written summons to the Tehran Revolutionary Court, where he was arrested on October 28, 2010. The next day his wife and family inquired at the court about his whereabouts and were told he had been detained in block 209 of Evin Prison, and would not receive any visits or clothes from his family for two months.
He was later released on bail of about 7000 euros. He was sentenced by Judge Maqiseh ( مقیسه ) of Bench 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, on July 16, 2010. A sentence review court did not alter the 4-year sentence.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Arson against Bahai-owned properties in Shuraniya, Egypt

Muslim Network of Bahai Rights, February 23, supplemented February 24

Two homes belonging to Bahais were set on fire in Shuraniya village, in the Sohag governorate in Egypt. Those responsible for the arson also stole property of the Bahais. The owners of the homes were among 40 Bahai families who fled Shuraniya after previous attacks in March 2009. While several people were arrested after the previous arson attack, they were later released and no charges were brought. The March 2009 attack targeted five homes of Bahais following anti-Bahai incitement on Egyptian TV.

Update, February 24: The Daily News Egypt has a fuller report in English, citing the head of the legal unit of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Adel Ramadan, as saying “A group of Bahais had asked state security police to secure their return to their homes. They were told that they can return on Tuesday, and suddenly we found people attacking homes…. We have strong evidence that two state security officers incited the people to attack the homes of Bahais and we will file a complaint to the Prosecutor General as soon as all the data evidence is collected and we will take these officers to court,” he said.

Eyewitnesses said that a number of village youth were holding a protest on Tuesday — demanding an extension of the operating hours of the ferry that connects their village with nearby villages, increasing price surveillance over butchers and bakers and establishing a local unit for the village — when suddenly they started chanting slogans against Bahais to burn their homes down.

One Bahai named Mohamed Abdel-Rahman Mohamed Ammar, who fled the village to Cairo in 2009, said that his home was robbed before it was set alight. “People told us that the police had left the village an hour before the attacks, which proves their involvement in inciting people,” he said.

Bahai activist Dr Basma Moussa told Daily News Egypt that none of the members of the Bahai community have been in the village since 2009. When they heard about the second attacks, they contacted the police but nothing was done and those who had burnt the homes also prevented the fire trucks from entering the village. “I call for a reinvestigation of the 2009 attacks along with the new attacks, because the previous investigation led to nothing and nobody was interrogated by the prosecution,” she said.

Moussa said that Bahais demand a civil state that guarantees citizens’ rights regardless of their religion.

~~~~~~~~

Behzad Dhabihi arrested in Sari

CHRR, February 22

Behzad Dhabihi-Mahforuzeki ( بهزاد ذبيحي ماهفروزكي ), a Bahai of Sari, was arrested on the morning of February 22, after receiving a written summons to the Ministry of Intelligence. On January 30, his home and optician’s shop were searched by officers and books and CDs relating to the Bahai Faith, and his computer, were confiscated. The officers threatened him with the closure of his business, and summoned him to the Ministry to answer some questions. Mr. Zabihi is still being held, his whereabouts are unknown.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Mashhad: Majid Majidi arrested

Bahai News Service (Persian)

Mr. Majid Majidi ( مجید مجیدی ), a Bahai of Mashhad, was arrested recently.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Isfahan: three Bahais begin serving sentences

Bahai News Service (Persian)

On January 29, two Bahai men of Isfahan, Ahsanullah Ishtiyaq and Soroush Puzeshki ( احسان الله اشتیاق و سروش پزشکی ), began serving their one-year sentences. Mr. Enayatullah Na`imi ( عنایت الله نعیمی ), also of Isfahan, has had his five year sentence extended to seven years. All three were arrested on February 5, 2006, and released on bail on May 4, 2006. At their trial on September 27, 2006, they were all sentenced to one year. They were summoned to begin serving their sentences in November 2010. [The report does not explain how Enayatullah Na`imi came to have a five-year sentence increased to seven years, or why, if they were all summoned in November, Mr Ishtiyaq and Puzeshki began their sentences on January 29 - SM].

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Seven Bahais reported arrested in Shiraz

HRANA, February 16

HRANA reports that the state-sponsored news agency Tabnak states that seven Bahais have been arrested in Shiraz, on charges of links with Israel and participation in the Valentine’s Day disturbances (February 14). Government mouthpieces commonly claim unnamed Bahais have been arrested when they have not, while seldom reporting actual cases of religious persecution of Bahais, Christians, Sunnis and Sufis, so I take the report with a grain of salt: it may be simply a way of saying that the popular unrest has been stirred up by Israel and Bahais.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~

Changiz Derakhshayan’s home raided again

Bahai News Service (Persian)

The home of Mr. Changiz Derakhshayan ( چنگیز درخشانیان ), a Bahai resident of Qaemshahr was recently raided again, and some personal effects were seized. His home had previously been searched by agents of the Ministry of Information, on December 21. At that time his Bahai books were confiscated, and he was summoned to the Ministry.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Adel Fanayan interrogated, released

Bahai News Service (Persian)

Mr. Adel Fanayan ( عادل فنائیان ), a Bahai of Semnan who was detained on November 14 and freed on bail on November 28, was recently summoned to the Ministry of Justice, interrogated, and then discharged.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hushmand Sana’i fined by court in Bojnord

Bahai News Service (Persian)

Hushmand Sana’i ( هوشمند سنائی ), a a Bahai of Bojnord (the provincial capital of Khurasan province), has been fined 300,000 tumans (just over 200 euro).

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

High school student expelled in Isfahan

CHRR, February 16

Arad Ishtiyaq ( آراد اشتیاق ), a second year humanities student at the Shahid Nilfarushzadeh school in Isfahan, has been expelled for his adherence to the Bahai Faith. He was informed of his expulsion on February 14. He is the grandson of Ahsanullah Ishtiyaq ( احسان الله اشتیاق ), a member of the former Bahai administration in Isfahan who has been summoned to prison where he is to serve a one year sentence for his religious beliefs, and he is the nephew of Farhud Ishtiyaq ( فرهود اشتیاق ), whom security agents tried to arrest on February 14.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mithaq Afshar arrested

CHRR, February 16

Mithaq Afshar ( میثاق افشار ), described as a 20-year-old Bahai student at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, was arrested by security officers at 2 a.m. on February 15. The officers confiscated some personal effects. His whereabouts are unknown.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

Harsher treatment for the Yaran

BWNS, February 15

Iran’s seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders, known as the Yaran (friends), have been transferred to more brutal sections of their prison complex, at Raja’i Shahr prison, near Tehran. The five men were transferred three weeks ago to a wing for political prisoners, known as Section 4, which is more crowded and reportedly under close surveillance. They are now suffering severe physical deprivations.

“Three of them are together in one cell, with the other two sharing another cell,” said Ms. Dugal. “There are two beds in each cell, so one of them has to sleep on the floor. The inmates in this part of the prison are able to go outside for fresh air only at designated times, whereas previously they could do so whenever they wished,” said Ms. Dugal.

In the case of the two women, Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet, the circumstances of the move have raised concerns that it may have been orchestrated as a means of creating an insecure environment that threatens their lives. Fariba Kamalabadi has already been physically threatened by inmates since being sent to the notorious Section 200 of Gohardasht Prison.

“Apparently, the atmosphere is highly charged in this section, and there is a great deal of tension and animosity among the inmates,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. “It is difficult to be certain about the reason for the move, however we believe that, since their arrival at Gohardasht, the Baha’i women – despite their own extremely challenging situation – have nonetheless been a constant source of comfort and hope to other inmates. The prison authorities apparently became alarmed that the two women began to receive signs of respect from a growing number of prisoners. As a justification for the increased harsh treatment, the authorities accused the two of teaching the Baha’i Faith. Throughout their imprisonment, the two women have conducted themselves in a spirit of service to others. In early 2009, for example, they shared a cell at Evin prison with Iranian-Japanese-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who later wrote that they had helped her through her ordeal.”

Last week, a general announcement was made to all prisoners that they were not to have any contact with the two Baha’i women. Undeterred, however, fellow inmates continued to seek them out.

“After the women were transferred, a number of prisoners made their way downstairs to visit them in their new quarters, despite efforts by the guards to restrain them,” said Ms. Dugal. “Mrs. Kamalabadi and Mrs. Sabet were told that, prior to the move, the inmates in Section 200 had been warned about them.”

Full report
~~~~~~~~~

Six Bahais, one Christian arrested in Tehran

Aradavan Roozbeh‘s blog, February 14

The journalist Ardavan Roozbeh reports that a spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary announced the arrest of six Bahais and one Christian, in a media conference on February 7. The Christian, named as Hamik Kachikayan ( حامیک ‌خاچیکیان ), was arrested on January 22 and is charged with blasphemy. The six unnamed Bahais were said to have been arrested on January 15 and are charged with propaganda against the regime. I have not seen these arrests reported elsewhere. Reports of the arrest of Bahais are sometimes fabricated by the regime, but in those cases the fictional Bahais have been said to be engaged in terrorism, or immorality. “Propaganda against the regime” is the usual charge when Bahais are really arrested.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Two arrested in Isfahan, one sought

CHRR, February 14

Mithaq Muhammad `Alipour and Anisa Motahar ( میثاق محمد‌علی‌پور و انیسا مطهر ), Bahais of Isfahan, have been arrested by security officers. The officers also sought Farhud Ishtiyaq ( فرهود اشتیاق ), — also referred to as Farhud Hushyar. They broke into his home, and have requested him to report to the office of the Ministry of Information.

Source (in Persian)

Source (in Persian)
Update February 16: HRANA reports the name of the man arrested as Sa’id Hashemi ( سعید هاشمی ), and says that the officers had a warrant for the arrest of Ania Motahar’s mother, Shahnaz Sana’i ( شهناز سنایی ). Religious books and a computer were confiscated.

Update, February 16: RAHANA has a report in English, which states that Anisa and Mithaq have been charged with “propaganda against the regime and assisting organizations and groups that were against the Islamic Regime of Iran.” Rahana’s Persian site reports they are being held in Dastgerd prison in Isfahan.
~~~~~~~~~~~

Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet moved in prison

Personal communication, February 13

A source I have not been able to check indicates that Fariba Kamalabadi and Mahvash Sabet, the two women among the Yaran (seven Bahais who served as interlocutors between Bahais and government bodies in Iran, until their arrest and imprisonment), have been moved to a wing of Raja’i Shahr prison reserved for dangerous prisoners. Both are serving 10-year sentences for their work for the Bahai community and social development. Fariba Kamalabadi, aged 46, is a developmental psychologist, while Mahvash Sabet, 55, is a teacher and was the Director of the Bahai Institute for Higher Education, which provides alternative higher education for Bahais (who are excluded from tertiary education in Iran). Neither is “dangerous.” One possibility is that they have been moved to this environment in the hope that the prisoners there will do the work that the state executioner cannot be seen to do.

Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.
~~~~~~~~~

Siamak Iqani moved to hospital

Khabar Navard, February 11

Siamak Iqani ( سیامک ایقانی ), a Bahai prisoner in Semnan serving a 3 year sentence for propaganda against the regime and teaching the Bahai Faith has been moved to hospital. A 10 day leave for recuperation is being considered. He began serving his sentence on 6 November. Since then he has suffered three attacks of a respiratory ailment, requiring the administration of oxygen and tablets placed under the tongue.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~

Two Bahais released in ‘Orumiyeh

RAHANA, February 11

Farhad Aqdasi ( فرهود اقدسی ) and Changiz Dargahi ( چنگیز درگاهی ), Bahai residents of ‘Orumiyeh arrested on January 30 and February 1, respectively, have been released on bail.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

Lectureship in the Bahai Faith in Iran at UCLA

UCLA web site Press Release, January

The UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) Iranian Studies Program, in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, is pleased to announce The Taslimi Lectureship on the Bahai Faith in Iran endowment. A generous gift of one million dollars will allow it to significantly broaden and enhance the scope of Iranian studies at UCLA, by hiring a distinguished lecturer with expertise on the Bahai Faith in Iran. The Taslimi Lectureship will also facilitate development of new curriculum and open the courses to a broader audience, including Study of Religion majors.

The Taslimi Foundation was founded in 1996 by UCLA alumni, Shidan Taslimi (‘76 ‘78 Engineering), Mehran Taslimi (‘81 Engineering), Susanne Taslimi (‘74 Psychology) and Laila Taslimi (‘82 Theatre, ’98 Education).

The Taslimi Lectureship will commence in fall 2011 with special lectures and courses featuring prominent scholars in the Bahai Faith.

UCLA and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures are deeply grateful to the Taslimi family and the Taslimi Foundation for their visionary gift and for partnering with the university to achieve excellence.

Source
~~~~~~~~~~

Four-year sentence for children’s rights activist

HRANA, February 9

Afshin Hayratiyan ( افشین حیرتیان ), a Bahai activist for the rights of working children and street children, has been sentenced in Tehran to four years in prison. Among the charges were writing and publishing articles about child labour and the Word Day for Children. He was arrested on June 3, detained in block 209 of Evin prison (where he was subjected to severe pressure to make a televised ‘confession’), and released on bail after almost two months in detention.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~

Farhad Sana’i arrested in Qaemshahr

HRANA, February 6

Farhad Sana’i ( فرهاد سنائی), a Bahai resident of Qaemshahr, was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Information on February 5. The agents were from Qaemshahr and Sari, working in two groups who simultaneously raided his home and shop. He was arrested, and taken to prison in Sari. They also searched the home of Shakib Sana’i ( شکیب سنائی ), brother of Farhad Sana’i. Personal effects, books and pamphlets, CDs and a computer were seized.

Source (in Persian)
Update, Bahai News Service, February 16: Shahin Sana’i ( شاهین سنائی ) is reported to have been arrested on the same day.
~~~~~~~~~

Nima Heqar sentenced: 5 years

RAHANA, February 4

Nima Heqar ( نیما حقار ) has been sentenced in Tehran to five years in prison. He was summoned on February 1, 2009, and held in Evin prison for more than one month of interrogation, before being released on bail.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

Two arrests in ‘Orumiyeh

RAHANA, February 2

Farhad Aqdasi ( فرهود اقدسی ) was arrested on January 30, while Changiz Dargahi ( چنگیز درگاهی ) was arrested on February 1. Both are Bahai residents of ‘Orumiyeh.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

Home and shop raided in Sari

Khabar Navard, February 2

On January 30, in the morning, six officers of the Ministry of Information in Sari raided the home and optician’s shop of Behzad Dabihi Mahfarzeki ( بهزاد ذبیحی ماهفرزکی ). They had a search warrant for his home. They confiscated books and CDs relating to the Bahai Faith, and his computer. They threatened to shut down his shop and summoned him to appear at the Ministry of Information.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two arrests in Mashhad

PCED, February 2

Mrs. Daya’yeh Eshaqi-Sho`a`i and her son-in-law, Mr. Farhad Amri (ضیائیه اسحاقی و آقای فرهاد امری ), were arrested on February 1, following a search by security officers of the home of the Sho`a`i family in Mashhad. Audio tapes, computers and books were seized. Their whereabouts are not known.

Source (in Persian)

Update February 7: Khabarnavard blog indicates that the two Bahais who were arrested had been conducting literacy activities and giving assistance with schooling, in Haji Abad village near Mashhad.
~~~~~~~~~~

Source (in Persian)
Update February 1: Persian2English has a longer report in English
February 10: Iran Press Watch has a report in English.

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