Sen's daily

October 20, 2020

Farhaad Fahandezh recovers, released from solitary


HRANA, October 13, 2020. –

Farhaad Fahandezh (فرهاد فهندژ), a 61-year old Bahai serving a 10-year sentence in Rajai Shahr prison, was returned to the ‘general’ or ‘common’ section of the prison on October 13. He had previously tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and was moved to a solitary confinement cell in the high-security block, where he remained for 13 days. Rajai Shahr prison holds many prisoners of conscience. A recent report said that 119 of them had the Corona virus.

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

October 15, 2020

Mehrdaad Mousavi Khoulenjaani granted early release


HRANA, October 14, 2020. –

Mehrdaad Mousavi Khoulenjaani (مهرداد موسوی خولنجانی), a Bahai from Shahin Shahr, was granted early release from Dastgerd Prison, near Isfahan, as of October 12. In September he was granted a one-month furlough, beginning on September 9. He reported back on October 10. Two days later, he was released with an apology and told there had been a mistake in handling his file. On July 9 this year, he begin a six-month sentence on what are apparently ideological charges : “propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith.” His case has been an extraordinary tale of confusion as competing security forces, Ministeries and courts have alternately imprisoned and released him, and charged him alternately with ideological and criminal charges. Although on this occasion he has served just over two months of a 6-month sentence, he has not recovered the belongings that were seized from him, despite one court ordering that they should be returned, and it appears that his business is still sealed by other authorities.

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

Three Bahai homes searched in Yazd


HRANA, October 2020. –

On October 6, security forces in Yazd raided the homes of Kataayun Shahryaari (کتایون شهریاری), Peymaan Ruhi ( پیمان روحی), and Eymaan Rashidi (ایمان رشیدی) and his wife Shabnam Mottahed (شبنم متحد). In one case, they broke the lock to enter and refused to show a warrant. They also searched the home of a neighbour of one of these Bahais, and seized the CCTV camera of another neighbour, without a warrant. After searching the three homes, they seized mobile telephones, laptops, personal computers, bank cards, and photographs and books related to the Bahai Faith, and departed. The children of these families need the electronic devices for their school studies during the pandemic period.

Mr. Eyman Rashidi and his wife have served prison terms for their Bahai beliefs in the past. They were among a large number of Bahais who were arrested on July 31, 2012, as part of a wave of arrests in Isfahan, Shahin Shahr (a city in Isfahan province), Vila Shahr (on the outskirts of Najafabad, also in Isfahan province) and in Yazd. They were released on bail on August 27 that year and tried in Yazd on August 24, 2013. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and acting against national security
through the establishment and membership of the secret organization (the Bahai community). Mr. Rashidi was sentenced to three years in prison and a one year suspended sentence, while his wife received a sentence of two years and one year suspended. These sentences were confirmed in late April, 2014. Both entered prison on March 18, 2015. Mrs. Motahed completed her sentence on January 24, 2017, and Mr. Rashidi was released on February 2, 2018.

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

Arzu Mohammadi and Banafsheh Mokhtaari begin their sentences


HRANA, October 13, 2020. –

On October 12, Arzu Mohammadi (آرزو محمدی) and Banafsheh Mokhtaari (بنفشه مختاری) reported to Birjand prison to begin serving their sentences. Both were sentenced to two years in prison by a revolutionary court. This was reduced to 18 and 15 months, respectively, by the Review Court for Khorasan Province, headed by Judge Ibrahim Ramezani ( قاضی ابراهیم رمضانی), with Counsellor Hamid Arabzaadeh (مستشاری حمید عرب زاده). See the previous report here.

October 9, 2020

Farid Ziragi-Moqadam summoned to begin sentence


HRANA, October 8, 2020. –

Farid Ziragi-Moqadam (زیرگی مقدم), a Bahai from Birjand, has been summoned to begin serving his 5-year prison sentence. He must report within ten days. The Provincial Review Court confirmed his sentence on September 20.

Update: He began his sentence on October 19.

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

October 3, 2020

Farhaad Fahandezh tests positive, moved to isolation cell

HRANA, October 1, 2020. – 

Farhaad Fahandezh (فرهاد فهندژ), a 61-year old Bahai serving a 10-year sentence in Rajai Shahr prison, has been moved to a solitary confinement cell in the high-security block after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus. He is now in the eighth year of his sentence.  He suffers from a gastro-intestinal disorder and heart disease. Mr. Fahandezh was born in Torbat-e Heydarieh, and was arrested in his home Gorgan on October 17, 2012.  He was held incommunicado for seven months, before being tried in the Revolutionary Court of Tehran by the notorious judge Moqayeseh ( قاضی محمد مقیسه ), also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran).  He was charged with teaching the Bahai Faith and administering the Bahai organisation. This is the second time he has been imprisoned for his religious beliefs. In 1983, when he was 24 years old, he was sentenced to six years in prison. The conditions he endured during this sentence left him with a gastro-intestinal disorder. 

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

September 30, 2020

Eight Bahais begin prison sentences in Birjand


HRANA, September 28, 2020. –

Eight Bahais from Birjand have been given ten days to report to prison to begin serving their sentences. They are Atieh Saalehi (عطیه صالحی), Nasrin Qadiri (نسرین قدیری), Banafsheh Mokhtaari (بنفشه مختاری), Farzaaneh Dimi (فرزانه دیمی), Arzu Mohammadi (آرزو محمدی), `Ataa’ollah Maaleki (عطاالله ملاکی), Sa’id Maaleki (سعید ملاکی) and Ru’ya Maaleki (رویا ملاکی).

On September 7, 2020, the Review Court for Khorasan Province, headed by Judge Ibrahim Ramezani ( قاضی ابراهیم رمضانی), with Counsellor Hamid Arabzaadeh (مستشاری حمید عرب زاده), sentenced Mrs. Nasrin Qadiri, Farzaaneh Dimi and Banafsheh Mokhtaari to 15 months in prison for “membership in the illegal and subversive organization of the deviant Bahai sect.” Mrs. Arzu Mohammadi, Ru`ya Maaleki and Atieh Saalehi, and Mr. Ataa’ollah Maaleki and Sa’id Maaleki were given 18-month sentences on the same charge. The same court acquitted Rahmat’ollah Dimi (رحمت الله دیمی) of this charge. The Review Court also handed down one-year concurrent sentences for “propaganda in favor of the Baha’i organization, that being a group and organization opposed to the holy order of the Islamic Republic.”

He Who is the Spirit (Jesus) — may peace be upon Him — was asked: “O Spirit of God! Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?” And He made reply: “Yea, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” He forbade it not.
~ Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, tr. Shoghi Effendi.

There is in fact no Bahai organisation in Iran, as it was disbanded after the 1979 Revolution, but the Islamic Republic is a theocratic state, while the Bahai teachings endorse the principle of “render unto Caesar.” Nevertheless, the Bahais in Iran do not engage in political or subversive activities against the theocratic order, because in their understanding, “render unto Caesar” makes obedience to government a religious duty.

These nine Bahais are among those whose homes were raided in October 2017 in connection with the birth of Baha’u’llah 200 years previously. From the large number of homes in Birjand that were raided at that time, it appears that the Bahais had not gathered to celebrate the day, but were remembering the occasion separately in their homes. They were summoned for interrogation twice in 2019-2020 (سال ۹۸), and tried on April 20 this year.

Mrs. Nasrin Qadiri is not formally a resident of Birjand. She is 60 years old and lives in Mashhad. However from 2014 to early 2018 she often stayed in Birjand to care for her father, who was ill. When the Bahai homes in Birjand were searched in October 2017, she was in Mashhad, but the security agents seized some of her belongings when they searched her father’s house. She was previously imprisoned in 1983 and 2010. In the latter case, she was sentenced to two years in prison, on charges of propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, membership and activity in the Bahai Faith, advocating contact with foreigners after traveling outside the country, participating in illegal organisations, and producing and distributing Bahai CDs and books.

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

September 25, 2020

Judge Mahmud Saadaati of Shiraz sanctioned for human rights abuses

Al-Arabiyya, September24, 2020. –

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the United States has imposed sanctions on Judge Seyyed Mahmoud Sadati, Judge Mohammad Soltani, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, and on Adel Abad, Orumiyeh, and Vakilabad Prisons.

The notorious human rights abuser Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (سید محمود ساداتی), who heads a bench of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, has specialized in sentencing Bahais to prison and internal exile for their Bahai beliefs, usually under the guise of “propaganda against the regime,” “membership of an illegal organisation,” “collusion” or “undermining state security.” The evidence in every case is the possession of Bahai religious materials such as books, images, and computer files. Sittings under Judge Saadaati are often closed. In September 2018 he sentenced five Bahais to prison in closed court, without informing the defendants or their lawyers of the trial.

A sampling of this Judge’s persecution of the Bahai community in Shiraz over recent years can be found with a search of Sen’s Daily.

Judge Soltaani ( قاضی سلطانی) heads a Revolutionary Court in Mashhad. The only recent case I have recorded is the sentencing of five Bahais. However Soltaani is a common name, and Iran has many judges who abuse human rights. Watch this space as more details of the sanctions are announced.

The Revolutionary Courts in Iran are responsible for charges such as blasphemy, espionage, terrorism and seeking to overthrow the government. The trials are not public, there is no jury, and a single judge decides the case. Sentences are however reviewed by the Provincial Review Court.

September 22, 2020

Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani released


HRANA, September 20, 2020. –

Kimia Mostafavi ( کیمیا مصطفوی) and Kiaana Rezvaani ( کیانا رضوانی), Bahais from Kerman, were released from prison in the past week. In September 2019, the Revolutionary Court in Kerman sentenced them to five years in jail for membership in the Bahai organisation, with a one year concurrent sentence for “propaganda against the regime and in favour of opposition groups.” The Review Court reduced this to six months supervised probation with electronic monitoring, on a charge of “propaganda against the regime.” They served just over two months of this electronic supervision.

They were arrested in Kerman on January 19, 2019, and released on bail five days later. Kiaana Rezvaani is a student excluded from tertiary education because of her religious beliefs.

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

September 21, 2020

Farid Moqadam-Ziragi’s 5-year sentence confirmed


HRANA, September 20, 2020. –

The review court for South Khorosan Province has confirmed the 5-year sentence of Farid Ziragi-Moqadam (زیرگی مقدم), a Bahai from Birjand. The presiding judge was Ibrahim Ramezaani (قاضی ابراهیم رمضانی), with Counsellor Hamid `Arab-zadeh (مستشاری حمید عرب زاده ). A Revolutionary Court had already sentenced him to five years in prison on a charge of “membership of the illegal Bahai organisation”, with a one-year concurrent sentence for “propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” The review court acquitted him of the latter charge. The Court of Review based its sentence on his acting as moderator in a Telegram channel.

However a criminal court in Birjand has also sentenced him to one year in prison for “insulting the sanctities of Islam,” apparently for internet postings included Bahai interpretations of the Quran, the coming of the Mahdi, the “seal of the prophets” and other theological points. The review court has not yet spoken on that sentence.

Mr. Moqadam-Ziragi, whose name was initially reported as Farid Moqadam-Ziraki (فرید مقدم زیرکی), was arrested on August 3 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, who searched his home and seized his personal effects. At the time of his arrest, the accusation was “aggravating the economic sanctions against Iran” and “undermining national security.” These accusations were widely reported in the state-sponsored media. He was interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence for 26 days before being transferred to Birjand’s Prison. The Ministry evidently failed to find evidence to support the economic and security charges. On September 7 he was released after posting bail of 150 million tumans (32,000 euros ; $US 35,000).

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

September 13, 2020

Mehrdaad Mousavi Khoulenjaani granted prison furlough


HRANA, September 11, 2020. –

Mehrdaad Mousavi Khoulenjaani (مهرداد موسوی خولنجانی), a Bahai from Shahin Shahr, has been granted a furlough from Dastgerd Prison, near Isfahan. He began a six-month prison term on July 9, 2020. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith.” He was initially told that he would have to wear an electronic ankle bracelet, but when he objected he was released without the tracing device. If the supervising judge approves, he will not have to return to prison; otherwise he will have to return “next month” (about September 22). However it appears that another case on the same charges is also being prepared against him, by a different arm of the security apparatus.

September 4, 2020

Mitra Bandi-Amirabaadi and Heyva Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi bailed in Yazd


HRANA, September 1, 2020. –

Mitra Bandi-Amirabaadi-Baaghi (میترا بندی امیرآبادی) and Heyva Yazdaan-Mahdiabaadi-Bahifar (هیوا یزدان مهدی آبادی) were released on bail on September 1 after three months of detention. They were arrested on May 30, and detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in Yazd. Their release on bail was delayed by opposition from the investigating judge.

In late November, 2017, Heyva Yazdan-Mahdiabadi was arrested for teaching music to children. She was at first held incommunicado by the Ministry of Intelligence, and then transferred to the central prison in Yazd. She was released on bail on December 25, 2017. The report says that both were previously given suspended sentences, which have expired, but does not indicate when this occurred.

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

August 26, 2020

Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan returns to prison, three days after his wedding

The wedding appears to have been conducted in the prison carpark


Iran Wire, August 26, 2020. –

Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), a 32-year-old Bahai from Semnan who is serving a six year sentence for his beliefs, was granted a short prison furlough recently. During the furlough, he married Golrokh Firuzeyan (گلرخ فیروزیان), also from Semnan, who has also served two prison terms for her beliefs. He requested an extension to his furlough, but this was denied by the Ministry of ‘Intelligence.’

Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan was born in Semnan Prison. His parents were both imprisoned in 1983, for adhering to the Bahai Faith, and Ardeshir was born in the prison in 1988. He was arrested early in 2013 and sentenced to 8 months in prison. Golrokh Firuzeyan was among the young Bahais arrested and sentenced at that time, and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. They were charged with various offenses, but eventually sentenced for “propaganda against the regime.” Both began their sentences on January 10, 2014. When Ardeshir had completed his sentence, he was sent to do military service. Golrokh’s sisters, Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان) and Shidrokh Firuzeyan (شیدرخ) have also served six-month prison sentences. Yalda currently faces another sentence, of two years and six months. Their father, Hadjbar Firuzeyaan (هژبر فیروزیان), served a 40-day sentence in 2014, charged with libel against an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence. He had complained to the judicial authorities that one of his daughters was beaten in prison. When they took no action, he wrote to the President of the Islamic Republic, describing the beating. He was charged with libel and fined, but refused to pay the fine and was sent to prison instead.

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

August 25, 2020

Two arrests in Vilashahr, Isfahan Province


HRANA, August 24, 2020. –

On August 23, Mazhdeh Eqteraafi (مژده اقترافی) and her husband Houshmand Taalebi (هوشمند طالبی) were summoned and arrested in Vilashahr. After their arrest, officers went to the Bahai couple’s home and searched it, confiscating laptops, cell phones, books, and an acoustic “Dastgah” keyboard. Two cars and a truck belonging to the family have been confiscated.

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

August 20, 2020

Liza Tebyanian arrested again in Karaj


Iran Press Watch, August 17, 2020. –

HRANA reports that Liza Tebyanian, a Bahai living in Karaj, was arrested by security forces on the evening of Saturday, August 16, and taken to an unknown location. The grounds for her arrest and the charges against her remain unknown.

She was previously detained on March 16, 2017, and was released on bail from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on April 26. In August 2017, she was sentenced to 7 months in prison by Branch 4 of the Karaj Revolutionary Court on charges of “propaganda activities against the regime.”

Branch 12 of the Alborz Court of Appeals acquitted Ms. Tebyanian of the charges against her, arguing that teaching the Bahai faith was not propaganda against the regime.

Farid Moqadam-Ziraki gets additional one-year sentence


HRANA, August 19, 2020. –

A criminal court in Birjand has sentenced Farid Moqadam-Ziraki (فرید مقدم زیرکی), whose name is reported in this case as Farid Ziragi-Moqadam (زیرگی مقدم), to one year in prison. He was charged with “insulting the sanctities of Islam.” The judge was Mehdi Shiri Abbaasabaad (قاضی مهدی شیری عباس آباد). His judgement referenced internet postings, apparently referring to Telegram repostings that included Bahai interpretations of the Quran, the coming of the Mahdi, the “seal of the prophets” and other theological points.

Mr. Ziragi was notified of the new sentence on August 19. A Revolutionary Court has already sentenced him to five years in prison on a charge of “membership of the illegal Bahai organisation”, with a one-year concurrent sentence for “propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.”

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

August 8, 2020

Nine Bahais from Karaj receive one-year sentences


HRANA, August 6, 2020. –

The Revolutionary Court in Shahriar, which lies between Karaj and Eslamshahr on the Western fringe of Tehran, has sentenced nine Bahais to one year in prison for ‘propaganda against the regime.’ They are Mr. Keyaanush Salmaanzaadeh (کیانوش سلمانزاده), Mrs. Jamileh Paakrou (جمیله پاکرو), Mr. Paymaan Ma’navi (پیمان معنوی), Mr. Payaam Sha’baani (پیام شعبانی ), Mr. Parvan Ma`navi (پروان معنوی), Mrs. Ilham Salmanzadeh (الهام سلمانزاده), Mr. Houman Khoushnam (هومن خوشنام), Mrs. Neda Shabaani (ندا شبانی (بیوک آقایی)) and Mr. Soroush Agaahi (سروش آگاهی). They were arrested in September and November, 2018, and are at present free on bail. The trial was held on July 27, and sentences were announced on August 6. The trial judge was Judge Panahi (قاضی پناهی).

At the time of their arrest, agents searched the homes of some of these detainees and seized personal belongings, including books, computers, laptops and mobile phones. The business premises of some of them were also sealed after their arrest.

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

August 1, 2020

Volunteer firefighter barred in Shiraz, for Bahai beliefs


HRANA, July 31, 2020. –

Kiarash Mo`ini (کیارش معینی), a 19-year-old Bahai from Shiraz, has been expelled from the volunteer firefighters because of his Bahai beliefs. The head of his team in the fire department informed him of this in a meeting on July 25, and told him to return his firefighting uniform. The team leader said he was acting under pressure from the Security Department [This is not a department of the fire service, but rather the Ministry of Intelligence presence within the fire service, analogous to the Political Commissars in the Soviet Union.] Mr. Mo`ini has been a volunteer for about two years, and has gained proficiency certificates in training courses. The voluntary firefighters are an auxiliary, used in emergencies or to fight exceptionally large fires.

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

July 31, 2020

Yemeni Houthis free 6 Bahai prisoners

Associated Press, July 30, 2020. –

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Thursday freed six prominent members of the Bahai religious minority whose years-long incarceration on charges of espionage and heresy had drawn worldwide condemnation, their lawyer said. The release of the six came four months after the Shiite Houthis, who control most of northern Yemen and the capital, Sanaa, announced they had commuted the death sentence of Bahai leader Hamed bin Haydara and ordered his release, as well as that of the other five detainees. The six men were flown out of Yemen to Ethiopia late on Thursday, said bin Haydara’s wife, Alham.

“Today we feel joy after so much suffering,” she told The Associated Press over the phone, adding that she and her daughters were threatened and harassed by anonymous callers over the years of her husband’s detention. She now lives in Luxembourg with the children. “The sentence was unjust and the charges baseless,” she added.

Houthi judicial officials said the Bahais were required to leave Yemen as a condition of their release. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Bin Haydara was arrested in 2013 by the government of President Mansour Abed Rabbo Hadi, before the Iran-backed Houthis came to power. After the Houthis overran Sanaa, forcing President Hadi to flee and igniting a civil war with a Saudi-led military coalition, bin Haydara was transferred to a Houthi prison where he languished until Thursday.

A Houthi court sentenced him to death in 2018, prompting sharp criticism from human rights groups that decried the verdict as a sign of the Iran-backed Houthis’ systematic repression of religious minorities.

The Bahais have been particularly vulnerable to persecution and pressure to convert to Islam by the Houthis who consider Bahaism a heresy for its belief in a 19th-century Persian prophet and his revelation that departs from traditional teachings of Shiite Islam.

The other five Bahai members were arrested in 2017. Throughout their years in prison, all were tortured, barred from seeing their lawyers, denied access to medical care and placed in solitary confinement, according to the Bahi International Community. Bin Haydara was blindfolded, beaten, electrocuted and forced to confess to being a “destroyer of Islam” and spy for Israel, the community reported. He was sentenced to a public execution for his religious beliefs.

Their release followed months of international pressure this spring from the United Nations and rights groups, as the coronavirus pandemic surged across war-torn Yemen, raising fears of unchecked contagion in crowded Houthi prisons.

“We welcome the releases today yet remain gravely concerned,” said Diane Ala’i, a representative of the Baha’i International Community. “Bahais must be able — like all Yemenis — to practice their faith safely and freely.”

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

July 23, 2020

‘A moment of historic portent’ : the House of Justice writes to the Bahais of the United States


Editorial, July 23, 2020. –

The Universal House of Justice has addressed a six-paragraph letter to the Bahais of the United States, in relation to the effects of racial prejudice and the present possibilities for reform of the social order. It speaks of promoting race unity in the contexts of community building, social action, and involvement in the discourses of society, and of the profound immorality of racism. “Ultimately, the power to transform the world is effected by love,…

The full text is available in the documents archive of my Bahai Studies blog.

July 22, 2020

Yemen’s Houthis “stalling” on release of Bahais


Al-Mashareq, July 21, 2020. –

On March 25th, head of the Houthis’ Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, announced they would pardon and release the Bahai prisoners. The pardon came just days after the Houthi-run Court of Appeals in Sanaa upheld a death sentence handed down against one Bahai, Hamid bin Haydara, in January 2018. Abdullah al-Olafi, spokesman for the Bahai community in Yemen, said it is not clear why the detained Bahais have not been released. “The Houthis are stalling and promising to release them without taking real steps,” he told Al-Mashareq. “There are efforts being made by international organisations and appeals issued by a number of European foreign ministers calling on the Houthis to do what they announced they would do.”

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

July 21, 2020

Review court cuts sentences for 11 Bahais in Fars Province

HRANA, July 20, 2020. –

The Review Court for Fars Province (Shiraz) has sentenced Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی) to five years and nine months in prison. In May, Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), sitting in the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, had sentenced her to eight years in prison. Navid Bazmaandegaan (نوید بازماندگان) and his wife Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری), Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت), Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) and Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) were sentenced to six years by Judge Saadaati: this has been reduced to two years and nine months. Ehsanollah Mahbub-Rahwafa (احسان الله محبوب راه وفا) was given a one-year sentence by Judge Saadaati, which the Review Court has changed to a fine of one million tumans (200 euros ; $US 240). All were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of groups opposed to the regime.

Mrs. Sami`zaadeh has also been sentenced — in a criminal court — to one year in prison by Judge Fakhaarzaadeh (قاضی فخارزاده) on a charge of “misuse of scientific titles,” which refers to her studies at the Bahai Institute of Higher Education. In addition to the prison sentence, he added a 2-year suspension from holding all governmental and public jobs. This seems to be a bit of black humour on the part of the Judge: all Bahais in Iran are permanently barred from governmental and public jobs, and also from work in many economic sectors, and from tertiary education. According to this report, Nilufar Hakimi has also been sentenced to five years in prison by a criminal court, but the report does not give further details. The only additional charge against Mrs Hakimi that I know of, is one count of blasphemy.

In a separate story, HRANA reports that the Court of Review has given two-year sentences to Farhaam Saabet (فرهام ثابت), Farzaan Ma`sumi (فرزان معصومی), Shahnaaz Saabet (شهناز ثابت) and Soheila Haqiqat (سهیلا حقیقت). Mr Saabet and Ma`sumi were previously sentenced to five years in prison (with an additional one-year concurrent sentence), while Mrs Saabet and Haqiqat were sentenced to six years in prison, by Judge Saadaati. They were charged with “propaganda against the regime and membership in anti-regime groups. The report also says that Soheila Haqiqat faces additional charges, but that no details are available.

The same Review Court recently confirmed Judge Saadaati’s 5-year sentence for Shahryaar `Ataareyaan (شهریار عطریان).

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

July 11, 2020

Mehrdaad Mousavi Khoulenjaani begins 6-month sentence


HRANA, July 9, 2020. –

Mehrdaad Mousavi Khoulenjaani (مهرداد موسوی خولنجانی), a Bahai from Shahin Shahr, was arrested in that city on July 9 after being summoned by telephone to the office responsible for the implementation of criminal (i.e., not ideological) crimes. He was taken the central prison in Dastgerd to begin a six-month sentence on what are apparently ideological charges : “propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith.” Shahin Shahr and Dastgerd are both towns just north of Isfahan City.

On June 10, the Provincial Review Court for Isfahan Province, headed by Judge Seyyed-Javaad Mansouri ( قاضی سیدجواد منصوری)and Counsellor Mohammad Mohammadi Kalaal-Abaadi (مستشاری محمد محمدی کمال آبادی), confirmed his prison sentence.

Following a house raid and the seizure of personal effects in August/September 2018, he was summoned on November 27, 2018, arrested and taken to Dastgerd Prison in Isfahan. Some time later he was released on bail. He was acquitted [by the Review Court?] and the court ordered the return of confiscated items except those relating to the Bahai Faith.

However the Ministry of Intelligence then intervened to obtain a warrant sealing his place of business for “propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith.” On March 18, 2019, he was summoned, supposedly in relation to the return of confiscated items, and was again arrested — thanks to the intervention of the Ministry — on the charge. His case was then reopened.

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

July 7, 2020

Negin Qadamiaan granted early release


HRANA, July 5, 2020. –

Negin Qadamiaan (نگین قدمیان), a Bahai prisoner who began a furlough from Evin Prison in Tehran on June 9, has been informed by telephone that she has been granted early release and will not need to return to prison. She began serving her 5-year sentence for educational crimes in relation to the Bahai Open University (BIHE) on December 16, 2017, and was granted a medical furlough April 22 to April 27, 2019. She was arrested, along with many others associated with the Open University, in May, 2011. On March 12, 2013, she and nine other Bahais associated with the Open University were tried, in absentia in a closed court, by Judge Moqiseh (قاضی مقیسه), a notorious abuser of human rights, and of judicial procedures, who was responsible for the imprisonment of the seven “Yaran.”

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

June 24, 2020

Amin Dhulfaqaari free on bail in Yazd


HRANA, June 23, 2020. –

On June 23, Amin Dhulfaqaari (امین ذوالفقاری), a Bahai from Yazd, was released on bail pending his trial. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 21. He is expected to be charged with teaching the Bahai Faith.

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

In Birjand, Farid Moqadam-Ziraki sentenced to five years in prison


HRANA, June 21, 2020. –

A Revolutionary Court has sentenced Farid Moqadam-Ziraki (فرید مقدم زیرکی), whose name is also reported as Farid Ziragi-Moqadam (زیرگی مقدم), to five years in prison on a charge of “membership of the illegal Bahai organisation”, with a one-year concurrent sentence for “propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” (see Deutsche Welle for the breakdown of the six-year total sentence, omitted in the HRANA report). The court was headed by Judge Ja’far Islaam-Khwaah ( قاضی جعفر اسلام خواه). The defendant and his lawyer were barred from speaking or presenting a defence.

Mr. Moqadam-Ziraki was arrested on August 3 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, who searched his home and seized his personal effects. At the time of his arrest, the accusation was “aggravating the economic sanctions against Iran” and “undermining national security.” He was interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence for 26 days before being transferred to Birjand’s Prison. The Ministry evidently failed to find evidence to support the economic and security charges. On September 7 he was released after posting bail of 150 million tumans (32,000 euros ; $US 35,000).

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

June 22, 2020

Fariba Ashtari sentenced in Yazd to five years in prison


HRANA, June 21, 2020. –

The Revolutionary Court in Yazd has sentenced Mrs. Fariba Ashtari (فریبا اشتری) to five years in prison on a charge of “membership of groups opposed to the regime of the Islamic Republic,” with a concurrent sentence of one year for “propaganda against the regime and in favour of groups opposing the regime.” The court was headed by Counsellor Muhammad-Reza Dashtipour (مستشار محمدرضا دشتی پور). The ruling was dated June 20 and communicated to Mrs. Ashtari on June 21. This lengthy text says that the organisation of the deviant Bahai sect is not recognized in the Constitution and any Bahai activity at all constitutes a repudiation of the twelver Shiah school of Islam, of the Islamic Republic, and of the coming return of the 12th Imam … (paraphrased). In short, it draws on all the prejudices used to mark the Bahais as the “enemy within,” simply because of their beliefs.

Mrs. Ashtari (فریبا اشتری), an active Bahai and a psychologist, has already served a two-year sentence for her faith, from February 21, 2015 to January 13, 2017. She was arrested again in her home in Yazd on December 2, 2019, and bailed about two month later. During her arrest the agents seized a number of Bahai books, as well as computers and mobile phones. She suffers from a heart condition and had surgery twice in the year before her arrest.

Her husband Nasser Baqeri (ناصر باقری) and her son Fa’iz Baqeri (فایز باقری) have also been imprisoned for their faith in Yazd.

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

June 20, 2020

Review Court confirms 10-year sentence for Farouq Izadinia


HRANA, June 19, 2020. –

The Review court of Tehran Province, headed by Judge Ahmad Zargar (قاضی احمد زرگر), has confirmed the 10-year sentence Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ). The Review Court made its ruling on May 19, but it was not announced until June 19.

Mr. Izadinia is a Bahai scholar and translator. Using the transliteration system I have adopted here to indicate long vowels without any special symbols, his name is Faarouq Izaadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا), but since his works are also published in the Latin script, he has his own preferred spelling.

Mr. Izaadinia was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12, 2017. The agents confiscated some 1300 books, and some of his personal effects. He was released on bail about two weeks later. His trial in a Revolutionary Court was not held until mid-February, 2019. Mr. Izaadinia later described the process of his prosecution in an open letter which Iran Press Watch has translated. The judge was 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.” Mr. Izadinia was charged with undermining national security by administering Bahai activities. The verdict stated that he had been and is one of the people influential and effective in organising Bahai activities, and mentions his work for the BIHE, the informal university that gives courses to some of the Bahai students who are excluded from tertiary education.

He has also been arrested previously for his religious beliefs, and served three prison terms, including being among those sentenced to death in the 1980’s, but this sentence was reversed and he was released after a five-year prison term. He has worked as a translator, and is know for his Persian translation of Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun, William Sear’s Thief in the Night, Moojan Momen’s a Short Introduction to the Bahai Faith and Madeleine Hellaby’s Death, Messenger of Joy. In his research work, he has contributed to locating the sources of the selections from Baha’u’llah’s works that Shoghi Effendi translated and published in Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah.

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

June 19, 2020

Five year sentence for Shahryaar `Ataareyaan confirmed in Shiraz


HRANA, June 19, 2020.

The Review Court for Fars Province has confirmed the five-year prison sentence of Shahryaar `Ataareyaan (شهریار عطریان), a Bahai from Shiraz. Mr. `Ataareyaan and his lawyer were not informed of the trial.

On October 29, 2019, agents from the Fajr Corps Intelligence Service arrested him 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 those attending. They confiscated computers and mobile phones and 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.” Which is to say, these Bahais had said prayers together. Mr. `Ataareyaan was one of eight young Bahais tried in a Revolutionary Court on May 10, 2020, on charges of propaganda against the regime and membership of groups opposed to the regime. The Judge, Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), gave him concurrent one-year and five-year sentences on the two charges.

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

June 18, 2020

Bahiyyeh Yalda’i’s sentence quashed in Shiraz

HRANA, June 17, 2020. –

Bhaiyyeh Yalda’i (باهیه یلدائی), a Bahai from Shiraz whose arrest, sentencing and imprisonment was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, has been informed in the past week that she will not be required to complete her sentence. She was arrested in Shiraz around July/August 2018, by the cyber police unit, and was bailed some time later. She went through two trials: one in the criminal court, on in the criminal court which is normally closed to Bahais, and one in the ideological court, the Revolutionary Court. In the latter, the notorious Judge Saadaati ( قاضی سید محمود ساداتی) sentenced her to 5 years on the charge of “insulting holy things through internet activities,” with a [concurrent] one-year sentence for “propaganda against the regime.” The Provincial Review court acquitted her on the first charge, but confirmed her one-year sentence for propaganda against the regime. She began her sentence in January or February 2020, and was granted a furlough in March, in relation to the onset of the Corona pandemic.

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

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