Sen's daily

December 9, 2019

Bardiyeh and Isma’il Farzaaneh bailed in Omidiyyeh


HRANA, December 7, 2019. –

I have previously reported that on November 29, Bardiyeh Farzaaneh (بردیا فرزانه) was arrested at his home in Omidiyyeh, Khuzestan Province. I missed a report that his nephew Isma’il Farzaaneh (اسماعیل فرزانه) was also arrested. They were released on bail on December 7.

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

Mozhgaan Ahmadzaadeh sentenced to six months in Qaemshahr


HRANA, December 6, 2019. –

Mozhgaan Ahmadzaadeh-Fedaa’i (مژگان احمدزاده فدایی), a Bahai from Qaemshahr whose arrest was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, has been sentenced to six months in prison by the Revolutionary Court, on the charge of propaganda against the regime. She was informed of the sentence on December 2. She was arrested on December 26 last year, when she was driving with her family to a garden they have on the outskirts of Qaemshahr. Her car was surrounded and stopped by four security agency cars. They took her back to her home, which was searched by eight agents. They seized three mobile telephones, a tablet computer, a computer, some flash drives, CD, prayer books, photographs of their children and some religious images. She was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility, where she was held in solitary confinement for interrogation for one week. She was bailed on January 2, 2019. She was tried by the revolutionary court on November 13, 2019. She has three children; the youngest has just started primary school.

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

December 7, 2019

Sentences of Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani reduced to 6 months


HRANA, December 5, 2019. –

On December 2, Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani were informed that their five-year sentences have been reduced to six months by the Provincial Review Court for Kerman. They were exonerated of the charge of “membership of the Bahai organisation,” and sentenced to six months for “propaganda against the regime.” The review court hearing was held on November 9, and — unusually — the accused were allowed a lawyer. Mr. Mohammad-Madi `Erfaaneyaan (محمدهادی عرفانیان) represented them. Kiani Rezvaani is a Bahai student excluded from university with the excuse of a faulty file, the excuse used to bar Bahais from tertiary education in Iran.

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

Fariba Ashtari arrested again

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, December 4, 2019. –

Mrs. Fariba Ashtari (فریبا اشتری), a Bahai from Yazd, was arrested in her home on December 2. She has already served a two-year sentence for her faith, beginning on February 21, 2015. She was released on January 13, 2017. An active Bahai, and a psychologist, she is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai community activities. Her husband Nasser Baaqeri (ناصر باقری) and her son Fa’iz Baaqeri (فایز باقری) have also been imprisoned for their faith. Fa’iz Baaqeri was 17 years old when he was arrested, along with his father, on February 28, 2015, a week after his mother began her two-year sentence. In November 2018 he was sentenced to three years in prison, and his father to nine months. Mr. Baaqeri began his sentence in late September 2019. So far as I know, Fa’iz Baaqeri is still free on bail, waiting to begin his sentence.

In the latest arrest, five security agents raided Mrs. Ashtari’s home, which they searched. They seized some Bahai books and her mobile phone and computer. Her relatives are concerned for her as she has a heart condition and has recently had two operations, and because there is no news about where she is being detained.

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

December 2, 2019

Tenth Bahai arrested in Baharestan, Isfahan Province; one arrest in Omideyeh

HRANA, December 1. –

Following previous reports of the arrest of nine Bahais in Baharestan, Isfahan Province on November 29, HRANA reports that a tenth Bahai, Soroush Azaadi (سروش آزادی), was arrested on the same day. Also on November 29, Bardiyeh Farzaaneh (بردیا فرزانه) was arrested at his home in Omidiyyeh, Khuzestan Province. The agents seized some of his personal possessions. There is no apparent link between these two reports.

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

December 1, 2019

Keyhan Propaganda denounces President Khatami and others as Bahai pawns

Editorial, December 1, 2019. –

Keyhan, a government-controlled media outlet in Iran, has labelled Iran’s former Presidents Mohammad Khatami (سید محمد خاتمی) and Mir-Hossein Mousavi (میرحسین موسوی), the former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi (مهدی کروبی) “and others” as “the hostages of Bahaism [who acted] in the uprising of 1388 (2009).” Mir-Hossein Mousavi is singled out as subservient to the Anglo-Zionist network of Bahaism (شبکه صهیونیستی- انگلیسی بهائیت). All three of these leaders are Islamic clerics, a class whose religious learning, according to the ideology of Khomeini, makes them uniquely fitted to rule the common people. All three have been approved as Presidential candidates by the Guardian Council. So Keyhan’s claim that they were and are hostages to the Bahais will be read as casting doubt on the country’s governing system and governing class, although Keyhan’s purpose was probably to give the impression that “outsiders” — and not everyday Iranians acting spontaneously — are responsible for the current unrest. A previous article in Fars News claimed that “most” of those arrested in the fuel price protests are Bahais. So far there is no evidence of any Bahais being engaged in the protests or of them being arrested afterwards to take the blame for the protests.

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

November 30, 2019

Nine Bahais reported arrested in Isfahan

Radio Zameneh, November 30, 2019. –

Nine Bahais are reported to have been arrested in Baharestan, 20km south of Isfahan, on November 29: Shahaab Ferdowsian (شهاب فردوسیان), Nasim Jaberi (نسیم جابری), Mehraanullah Dadi (مهران‌الله دادی), Shahbaaz Baashi (شهباز باشی), Wahideh Niazmand (وحیده نیازمند), Nasr Lotfi (ناصر لطفی), Qodous Lotfi (قدوس لطفی), Sagher Manouchehrzaadeh (ساغر منوچهرزاده) and Homa Manouchehrzaadeh (هما منوچهرزاده). Their homes were searched and belongings were confiscated.

Radio Zameneh suggests that this could be related to an accusation made in government-sponsored media [such as Fars News], that Bahais were involved in the recent unrest over fuel price increases. I think this unlikely. (1) While none of those named is known to me, the names are not unlikely for the children of Bahai parents. If the authorities had arrested some rioters and launched a story that they were actually Bahais, they would probably be named Muhammad, Fatimah and Ali. (2) If the authorities arrested these Bahais in the hope of accusing them of causing the unrest, that story would face the obvious objection that the unrest arose spontaneously and simultaneously all over the country, immediately after the surprise announcement of price increases, while these nine were in Isfahan with the internet and telephones cut off across the country.

Therefore, pending further information, I am assuming that they were arrested for being Bahais, in the usual way, and will be charged with “propaganda.” Readers may have seen reports of major fuel price protests in Baharestan: this is Baharestan in Tehran Province, not the new dormitory town of Baharestan in Isfahan province.

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

November 26, 2019

Abbaas Taa’ef free on bail in Tehran


Campaign for prisoners of conscience, November 25, 2019. –

`Abbaas Taa’ef (عباس طائف), a Bahai from Tehran, was freed on bail from Evin Prison on November 25. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27. The agents searched his home and workplace and seized a laptop, mobile phone and some ID documents and some of his personal effects. His office, which is his workplace, has been sealed by the authorities. He suffers from heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

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

November 22, 2019

Sentences confirmed for 7 Bahais from Bushehr


HRANA, November 21, 2019. –

The Review court has confirmed the three-year sentences of seven Bahais from Bushehr. They are Minou Reyaazati (مینو ریاضتی), Asadollah Jaaberi (اسدالله جابری) and his wife Ehteraam Shakhi(احترام شخی), Leqa Faraamarzi (لقا فرامرزی), Emaad Jaaberi (عماد جابری) and Puneh Naashari (پونه ناشری). All seven were arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Bushehr on February 15, 2018 (an earlier report said February 13). Their homes were thoroughly searched, and personal effects such as laptops, books, flash drives, external hard drives, and family photograph albums were seized. Emaad Jaaberi and Puneh Naashari (were released on bail on March 6 and the remaining five on March 13, 2018. Bail was set at 250 million tumans (53,000 euros ; $US 66,000).

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

One arrest in Damavand


Iran Press Watch, November 21, 2019. –

Maryam Leqaa’i-Forsatipour (مریم لقائی فرصتی پور) was arrested on October 22 after being summoned to the Damavand Office of the Ministry of Intelligence. She has been taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention center known as Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Authorities also searched the home of this Bahai after her arrest and confiscated several personal belongings, including laptops and mobile phones belonging to her and her husband. As previously reported, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence also arrested Mitra Forsatipour (میترا فرصتی پور) in her home in Gilavand on October 21.

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

November 20, 2019

New arrest in Karaj


Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, November 19, 2019. –

Naaser Rajab (ناصر رجب), a Bahai from Gohardasht, a suburb of Karaj, was arrested in his home on November 16. Seven agents, without a court order, came to his home to arrest him. They also seized some personal effects, including a mobile phone. It is not known where he is being held.

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

November 10, 2019

Samin Maqsudi goes to jail for celebrating the birth of Baha’u’llah


Campaign for prisoners of conscience, November 9, 2019. –

Samin Maqsudi (ثمین مقصودی), a Bahai from Tehran, began her sentence in the women’s wing of Evin Prison on November 9. She was charged with participating in Bahai activities. The charges relate to her commemoration, in her own home, of the bicentennial of the birth of Baha’u’llah, on October 21, 2017. She was initially sentenced on May 21, 2018, by Judge Moqiseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), a notorious abuser of human rights, and of judicial procedures, who was responsible for the imprisonment of the seven “Yaran.” The Review Court for Tehran Province, headed by Judge Zargar (قاضی زرگر), confirmed the 5-year sentence in September this year.

Ghazaaleh Baaqeri-Taari (غزاله باقری طاری), also from Tehran, was arrested on the same day and sentenced to five years in prison for celebrating the birth of Baha’u’llah.

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

November 8, 2019

Kiaana Sho`aari bailed in Shiraz


HRANA, November 7, 2019. –
Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی) has been released on bail from the Ministry of Intelligence detention centre in Shiraz. She was arrested on October 21, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested her and two other Bahais in Shiraz : Farzaan Ma`sumi ( فرزان معصومی) and Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی). The agents also searched their homes, along with the homes of a number of other Bahais in Shiraz, and seized personal effects such as computers, mobile phones and laptops.

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

November 4, 2019

Eighteen Bahai businesses sealed in Abadan

HRANA, November 3, 2019. –

On November 2, the police chief for Abadan, Mohsen Taqizaadeh ( محسن تقی زاده), announced that eighteen businesses had been shut down for failing to observe Islamic traditions, and the “offenders” files have been passed to the judicial authorities. The Bahai Faith is not mentioned, but given the timing it is certain that the businesses were operated by Bahais, who respect Islam but are not Muslims.

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

November 2, 2019

Five Bahai businesses closed in Chabahar

HRANA, October 30, 2019. –

Five business premises operated by Bahais in Chabahar, a port city on the Gulf of Oman in the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan, were sealed by the jucidical authorities on October 30. The owners had taken a day off work to celebrate a Bahai religious holiday. According to the regulations, all businesses may close for up to 15 days in a year, without notifying the authorities, but Bahais are apparently subject to a different, unwritten rule, applied by the judiciary. The businesses are identified an an optician’s workshop run by Shamim Touhidi (شمیم توحیدی) and Habibullah Touhidi (حبیب الله توحیدی); a similar business run by Ahmad-Ali Shokati (احمدعلی شوکتی), an electrical business run by Behman Gholam-Reza’i (بهمن غلامرضایی), a plumbing goods shop run by Behzaad Gholam-Reza’i (بهزاد غلامرضایی), and a tile and ceramics shop run by Behrouz Gholam-Reza’i (بهروز غلامرضایی).

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

November 1, 2019

Meeting raided, and Jamaal Saabet arrested, in Tehran


HRANA, October 29, 2019. –

Jamaal Saabet (جمال ثابت), a Bahai from Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 28. It is not known where he is being detained. The agents raided a private gathering in another home — entering by breaking down the door — and questioned the guests for some hours, searching the house and making video recordings. They confiscated some personal effects of the home owner, including CDs, flash drives, a laptop computer and books. Then they went to Mr. Saabet’s home, which they searched, and arrested him. He was arrested on a previous occasion [not reported on Sen’s Daily], and interrogated for 40 days.

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

Two arrests in Shiraz


HRANA, October 30, 2019. –

On October 29, agents from the Fajr Corps Intelligence Service arrested Shahryaar `Ataareyaan (شهریار عطریان) and Poulaad Karami (پولاد کرمی) in Shiraz. A number of agents went to a home where Bahais were commemorating the birth of the Bab, and questioned and photographed (on video?) those attending for several hours. They confiscated twenty cell phones, three laptops, numerous books and pamphlets, prayer books, and signs and pictures relating to the Bahai Faith. The Fajr Corps Intelligence Service announced the arrests publicly, explaining that it was in relation to the birth of one of the Bahai “leaders.” A Shia news service adds that it was a “secret ceremony,” which was raided to “counter the Israeli-backed sect and prevent them from realizing the ominous interests of foreign countries and reconstructing their espionage pyramid.” Radio Farda adds that they will be charged with “insulting those mourning Imam Reza,” the eigth Shiah Imam who is buried in Mashhad, and is believed to have been poisoned by Caliph al-Ma’mun. His martyrdom is commemorated according to the lunar calendar, which means that this and other Shiah holy days will sometimes coincided with Bahai commemorations based on the solar calendar. This year, the Shiah commemoration fell on October 28.

On October 21, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz : Farzaan Ma`sumi ( فرزان معصومی), Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی) and Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی). The agents also searched their homes, along with the homes of a number of other Bahais in Shiraz, and seized personal effects such as computers, mobile phones and laptops. It was later claimed that they were holding a religious ceremony that would eclipse the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Karbala. That commemoration, which this year fell on October 20, marks 40 days after the death of Imam Husayn.

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

October 29, 2019

Three Bahais in Semnan given long sentences


Voice of America, October 28, 2019. –

The Revolutionary Court in Semnan has sentenced three Bahais who were arrested on April 30 to ten years in prison on charges of “membership of illegal groups acting against national security” and “acting against national security through propaganda and organizational activities.” Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), who is 30 years old, has been sentenced to ten years in prison and one year exile in the town of Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan Province; Behnaam Eskandreyan (بهنام اسکندریان) and Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان), aged 20, have been sentenced to five years in prison and two years’ exclusion from the city of Semnan. They were arrested by teams of four to six masked agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Semnan, in simultaneous raids on their homes at 8 a.m. on April 30.

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

October 23, 2019

Three new arrests in Shiraz


HRANA, October 22, 2019. –

On October 21, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz : Farzaan Ma`sumi ( فرزان معصومی), Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی) and Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی). The agents also searched their homes, along with the homes of a number of other Bahais in Shiraz, and seized personal effects such as computers, mobile phones and laptops. It is not known where those arrested are being detained.

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

New arrest in Gilavand


HRANA, October 22, 2019. –

Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Mitra Forsatipour (میترا فرصتی پور) in her home in Gilavand on October 22. Gilavand is a village in Tehran Province. The agents seized some personal items, including cell phones, laptops and a camera. She is being held in block 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. It is believed that she is to be charged with “propaganda against the regime.” Mrs Forsatipour’s grandmother, buried in Gilavand, was exhumed by unknown persons in 2017 (not to be confused with the exhumation of Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian (شمسی اقدسی اعظمیان) in October this year).

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

October 21, 2019

‘Ataa-ollah Zafar bailed from Evin Prison

Photo credit: HRANA


HRANA, October 20, 2019. –

Mr. Ataa-ollah Zaffar (عطاالله ظفر) was released from Evin prison “in recent days,” after about three weeks in detention. His family obtained his release following serious concerns about his health in detention.

On September 27, security agents raided a number of Bahai homes in Tehran and Karaj, seizing various personal effects. Behrouz Asadollah-zaadeh (بهروز اسدالله زاده) and Mr. Zafar (آقای ظفر) are among those whose homes were searched. Mr. Zafar was then arrested. At least five other Bahai homes were raided, and agents went to the home of Waliollah Qademiyaan (ولی‌الله قدمیان) to search it, but found nobody home. It appears that Mr. Asadollah-zaadeh, Mr. Zafar and Mr. Qademiyaan were involved with the Bahai cemetery in Tehran.

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

October 17, 2019

Three more early releases in Isfahan


HRANA, October 16, 2019. –

HRANA has announced the early release of Mr. Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین , holding the flowers in the photo), and in a separate report, of Mrs. Bahaareh Dhini-Sobhaaniaan (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان) and Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی). They join Mrs. Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی), released a day earlier and incorrectly identified — in my first translation — as a man. These four releases leave four others — Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Milaad Daavadaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhaang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Anush Raayneh (انوش راینه) in prison, of the eight Bahais from Baharestan, near Isfahan, who were arrested on September 23rd, 2018.

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

October 16, 2019

Fuzhaan Rashidi released early in Isfahan (corrected)

HRANA, October 16, 2019. –

Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی) has been granted a conditional early release after serving just over one third of her three-year sentence. She was released from Esfahan prison on October 15. She and her recently-married husband Milaad Daavadaan (میلاد داوردان) were among a group of arrested Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. Milaad Daavadaan was sentenced to six years in prison. Fuzhaan Rashidi was sentenced in a Revolutionary Court to three years for “membership of the Bahai organisation” with a concurrent one-year sentence for “propaganda against the regime.” This was confirmed by the Review Court.

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

October 14, 2019

Two Bahais sentenced for internet postings

do_shahrvand_bahaiee
Iran Wire, October 14, 2019. –

On September 21, Paymaan Damashqi (پیمان دمشقی), a Bahai from Karaj, was sentenced to one year in prison by the Revolutionary Court. The trial, lasting less than 10 minutes, was held on September 19. The trial is reported to have taken place at both the Prosecutor’s office and the revolutionary court, suggesting that the Prosecutor also acted as Judge, which would be highly unusual. A relative said that Mr. Damsashqi did not accept the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and did not know what it was based on. Therefore he has not, thus far, made any comment on it himself. He was initially summoned in writing by the Police in Karaj in February this year. When he went to the Police station, his mobile telephone was confiscated and he was questioned for half an hour. He was told that he had posted an article entitled “Justice” under the pen-name “A certain Bahai”, and the use of this name constituted, indirectly, propaganda for the Bahai Faith. When he asked to see the article attributed to him, the interrogator refused. In April/May this year he was summoned to the Revolutionary Court (the ideological court) to hear the charges against him. During the hearing, the Judge twice asked him in writing [sic] “have you made propaganda for the Bahai Faith” to which he replied, “until now, nobody has asked me about Bahai.” The Judge offered him release on bail of 50 million tumans, but he was not able to pay that amount. Two days later he was released when the business licence of a friend was accepted as bail. Another source told IranWire that Mr. Damashqi had been sentenced because of a question — not an article — that he had posted, but the Judge had not disclosed what this question was. They [undefined] “told him that because he was a Bahai, a question about justice was propaganda against the regime. Mr. Damashqi, who is active in various groups, still cannot recall what question he asked, in which group, that has led to his punishment, but thinks it must have been in comments on a thread.

In recent days, Sima Behrouzi (سیما بهروزی) was sentenced to three months in prison in the Revolutionary Court of Yazd, presided over by Judge Dashtipour (قاضی دشتی‌پور). She was charged with membership of a group opposing the regime. The Judge did not find her guilty of the other charge, of circulating jokes in favour of opposition groups. She was summoned in writing by the Police in Yazd on March 20 this year, and questioned about her membership of Telegram groups. After some time she was summoned to Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court, and charged with “membership of a group opposed to the regime” and “propaganda in support of a group opposed to the regime.” Bail was set at 250 million tumans, which she could not provide, but she was released on bail two days later. On July 2, 2019, she was summoned to a hearing on August 18 at the Revolutionary Court. The summons specified the charges as “membership of the Bahai community,” and “Bahai propaganda.” The sentence, of three months in prison, was announced in the last week of September.

In recent years, a number of Bahais in Yazd have been sentenced for activities on internet. Shamim Etehaadi (شمیم اتحادی), a Bahai student excluded from tertiary education, was sentenced for filming a Bahai cemetery that had been destroyed by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. He was charged with propaganda against the regime, membership of Bahai organisations, insulting officials, spreading lies and having satellite receiving equipment. The charges relate to his supposed responsibility for a 4-minute video documenting the destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Yazd, which was shown on the Persian-language television network Manoto. He was sentenced to 3 years and three month in prison [previous report: 3 years], 74 lashes, a two-year ban on leaving Iran, and a fine of 40 million rials (1200 euros; $US 1600). He completed his sentence in June 2016. [The article continues with more examples of the persecution of the Bahais of Yazd for internet crimes].

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

October 13, 2019

Neda Sabeti, Nooshin Afshar and Foroogh Farzaneh sentenced to 1-year terms


HRANA, October 12, 2019. –

Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار) and Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), Bahais living in Abadan and Ahvaz have each been sentenced to a one-year prison term on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” by the Revolutionary Court of Abadan. On May 6, 2019, they were arrested at their houses and were transferred to Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz on May 30, 2019.

Their prosecution was initiated by the Intelligence Corps of the IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) and during their interrogations, they were under pressure to make forced confession. On May 6, 2019, they were arrested at their homes by six agents of the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Ahvaz and Abadan. [My earlier report said they were agents from the Ministry of Intelligence ~ Sen] They were released a week after on May 13 but were rearrested for an unknown reason on the same day. They were released on bail on May 30, 2019.

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

October 12, 2019

Forum 2000 in Czechoslovakia to present Bahai community


Mistni Kultura, October 12, 2019. –

This year’s Forum 2000 Festival of Democracy in Prague will present the Bahai community. The 2019 Festival also marks 30 years of freedom in Eastern Europe. After November 1989, a number of organizations that were suppressed under Communist governments, including the Bahai community, were able to resume operations.

The Forum 2000 Foundation was founded in 1996 as a joint initiative of the Czech President Václav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel. Mr. Havel based his idea for Forum 2000 on the principle that, “it would be good if intelligent people, not only from the various ends of the earth, different continents, different cultures, from civilization’s religious circles, but also from different disciplines of human knowledge could come together somewhere in calm discussion.” This year’s Forum 2000 Conference, held under the theme Recovering the Promise of 1989, will take place in Prague on October 13-15, 2019.

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

October 11, 2019

Farhaang Sahba, imprisoned in Isfahan, transferred for interrogation

Iran Press Watch, October 4, 2019. –

Farhaang Sahba, a Bahai serving a 5-year sentence in Isfahan prison, has been transferred to a solitary confinement cell of the IRGC’s Intelligence Unit, and is being subject to intense interrogation and psychological pressure. He was convicted of “membership in the Bahai organizations with an intent to act against national security,” with a one-year (concurrent) sentence for “propaganda against the regime through Bahai propaganda.”

Mr. Sahba was one of a groups of Bahais arrested in Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. He was sentenced in November 2018, and I have no reports indicating when he began his sentence. The Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has now intervened, is an Iranian intelligence agency within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and is as powerful as the Ministry of Intelligence. Rivalry between the two agencies is not unknown.

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

October 10, 2019

Azita Rafizaadeh released after four years


Voice of America, October 9, 2019. –

Azita Rafizaadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده) has been released from Evin Prison after serving a four-year sentence for teaching online classes in computer engineering to members of the Bahai Faith. Under Iran’s apartheid system, Bahais are banned from gaining advanced qualifications in tertiary institutions in Iran, although there is no formal law against teaching one’s skills to others. Nevertheless, she was charged with “undermining national security” for teaching at the Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). In January, 2018, she was offered prison furlough if she would sign a statement to repent for her work and promise that she will not work with the BIHE again. But she said she had done nothing to repent for.” Her husband Peyman Koushk-Baghi was also imprisoned in October 2015, for teaching at the BIHE.

Rafizadeh, 36, is a former BIHE student who returned to Iran after receiving a master’s degree in computer engineering from a university in India. She began teaching the subject at BIHE in 2002.

In 2014, Judge Moqisseh (قاضی مقیسه) of Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Rafizadeh to four years in prison and her husband to five years in prison on the charge of “membership in the illegal and misguided Bahai group with the aim of acting against national security through illegal activities at the BIHE educational institute.”

The imprisoned couple’s son, Bashir Koushk-Baghi, has been raised by another Bahai family.

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

October 5, 2019

One arrest in Tehran

Voice of America, October 5, 2019. –

`Abbaas Taa’ef (عباس طائف), a Bahai from Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27. The agents searched his home and workplace and seized a laptop, mobile phone and some ID documents and some of his personal effects. As previously reported, security agents raided a number of other Bahai homes in Karaj and Tehran on the same day, and Mr. Zafar (آقای ظفر) was arrested. `Abbaas Taa’ef (or another Bahai with the same name) was arrested in Tehran in connection with the raids on the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in 2012.

Update: Iran Press Watch adds that his office, his workplace, has been sealed by the authorities, and that he suffers from heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

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

October 2, 2019

Raids and arrest in Tehran and Karaj

HRANA, September 29, 2019. –

On September 27, security agents raided a number of Bahai homes in Tehran and Karaj, seizing various personal effects. Behrouz Asadollah-zaadeh (بهروز اسدالله زاده) and Mr. Zafar (آقای ظفر) are among those whose homes were searched. Mr. Zafar was then arrested. At least five other Bahai homes were raided, and agents went to the home of Waliollah Qademiyaan (ولی‌الله قدمیان) to search it, but found nobody home. It appears that Mr. Asadollah-zaadeh, Mr. Zafar and Mr. Qademiyaan were involved with the Bahai cemetery in Tehran. HRANA expects information on more arrests to follow.

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

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