Sen's daily

April 9, 2021

Another home raided in Shiraz

HRANA, April 8, 2021. –

On April 7, security agents raided the home of William Momtaaziyaan (ویلیام ممتازیان) in Shiraz, confiscating a computer hard drive, mobile telephones, electronic equipment and Bahai books. Mr. Momtaaziyaan is the father-in-law of Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی), one of seven Bahais arrested in home raids in Shiraz on April 6.

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

Four Bahai women go to jail in Mashhad


HRANA, April 6, 2021. –

Nika Paakzaadaan (نیکا پاکزادان), Saanaaz Es-haaqi (ساناز اسحاقی), Nakisa Hajipour (نکیسا حاجی پور) and Noghmeh Dhabihayan (نغمه ذبیحیان) began their one-year sentences in Mashhad’s Vakil-Abaad prison on April 6. These four were arrested, tried and sentenced in a group of five: Faraaneh Daaneshgari (فرانه دانشگری) is not mentioned in this report. The five were arrested on November 13, 2015, at the same time as agents from the Ministry of Intelligence also arrested 15 other Bahais in Tehran and Isfahan, and Bahai-run businesses were closed down in Mazandaran Province. Judge Baagh-dehi (قاضی باغ دهی), sitting in the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad on 28 September, 2019, sentenced them to one year in prison and the Review Court for Khorasan Province confirmed the prison terms in late December.

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

Seven arrests in Shiraz


HRANA, April 7, 2021. –

Sa`id Ettehaad (سعید اتحاد), Qaasem Ma`sumi (قاسم معصومی), Siyaamak Honavar (سیامک هنرور), Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی), Sadiqeh Aqdasi (صدیقه اقدسی) and `Aliyyeh Farutan (عالیه فروتن) were arrested in home raids in Shiraz on April 6, and Farzandi Ardakaani (فرزندی اردکانی) was arrested the previous evening. During the raids, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence seized their personal effects such as books and electronic devices. They were arrested and taken to a detention centre. Latest reports indicate that the home raids have continued in Shiraz — more details are expected.

Soroush Abaadi was one of three Bahais arrested on October 21, 2019: it was later claimed that the three Bahais were holding a religious ceremony intended to eclipse the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Karbala. [!]

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

Nine Bahais summoned to prison in Andisheh and Karaj


HRANA, April 8, 2021. –

Mr. Houman Khoushnam (هومن خوشنام), Mrs. Ilhaam Salmaanzaadeh (الهام سلمانزاده), Mr. Payaam Sha’baani (پیام شعبانی ), Mr. Keyaanush Salmaanzaadeh (کیانوش سلمانزاده), Mr. Soroush Agaahi (سروش آگاهی), Parvaan Ma`navi (پروان معنوی), Mrs. Jamileh Paakrou (جمیله پاکرو), Mr. Paymaan Ma’navi (پیمان معنوی) and Mrs. Neda Shabaani (ندا شبانی) have been summoned to report to prison within five days to serve one-year sentences. [In this HRANA report, Mr. Sha’baani is mentioned as Payaam Shabaani (پیام شبانی).] They are Bahais from Karaj and Andisheh. They were charged with propaganda against the regime through activity and propaganda for the Bahais. They were arrested in September and November, 2018, and the trial was held on July 27, 2019, and sentences were announced on August 6. The trial judge was Judge Panahi (قاضی پناهی). The Provincial review court that confirmed their sentences was headed by Judge Seyyed-Ahmad Zargar (قاضی سید احمد زرگر) and Counsellor ‘Abbaas-`Ali Houzaan (عباسعلی حوزان). It was Judge Zargar who confirmed the outrageous 10-year sentence handed down to the Bahai scholar and translator Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), and the five-year sentence of Samin Maqsudi (ثمین مقصودی).

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.

April 7, 2021

Maaraal Raasti and Mahnaaz Jaan-Nethaar begin their sentences


HRANA, April 3, 2021. –

Maaraal Raasti (مارال راستی) and Mahnaaz Jaan-Nethaar (مهناز جان نثار) were taken to Bandar Abbas prison begin their sentences on April 3. They were among the eight Bahais who, as previously reported, were summoned in late February.

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

March 13, 2021

Four Bahais from Varamin re-sentenced in Tehran


HRANA, March 12, 2021. –

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran, under Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad (قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد), has sentenced Mrs. Mona Mehraabi (مونا محرابی), Elhaam Karam-Pisheh (الهام کرم پیشه), Afsaaneh Yaadgaar-Ardestaani ( افسانه یادگار اردستانی) and Mr. Ehsaan-Allah Yaadgaar-Ardestaani (احسان الله یادگار اردستانی). These Bahais all live in Varamin, Tehran Province. In September or October 2018, they were sentenced by a revolutionary court in Tehran, in a secret trial without a hearing or defence. This trial was not reported on Sen’s Daily. The court has since agreed to a retrial, and has announced sentences of three years each, in place of the original five years. They were charged with membership of illegal organisations with the aim of undermining state security. Two other Bahais were sentenced to five years in the secret trial of 2018: Safa Forqani-Araani (صفا فرقانی ارانی)
and Mehrdaad Forqani-Araani (مهرداد فرقانی ارانی), but no reduction of sentence for them is mentioned in this report. In his ruling, the Judge says that the accused identified impoverished people and children who were abused or deprived of schooling, and gave them education, and that they made brochures for the Red Crescent (Red Cross) and International Children’s Day.

Mrs. Elhaam Karam-Pisheh and Mona Mehraabi were arrested on February 16, 2015, in a raid on a meeting in Tehran where six Bahais were present. All were separately interrogated in the house, and the two women were arrested in accordance with a warrant and taken away in a car from the Ministry of Intelligence. During the search, which lasted five hours, all the books, pictures and religious symbols of those present, as well as computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, were seized. One report adds that the officers demanded that those present should sign undertakings not to participate in Bahai meetings. Mr. Ehsaan Yaadgaar was arrested in a neighbouring home at the same time, and again religious materials were seized, along with some gold coins. He was told to present himself to the public prosecutor’s office in Varamin (the capital of Varamin County in Tehran Province). He did so, and was released after several hours. He was again arrested in early March, 2015, and taken to Evin Prison for questioning before being released. Mrs. Safa Forqani-Araani was arrested in a raid on her home [apparently in Tehran] on February 17, 2015, and her father Mehrdaad was arrested at his home in Varamin an hour later.

During these raids a number of other Bahais in Tehran were questioned, but they are not mentioned in this report.

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

March 11, 2021

Iran to tighten repression of Bahais and Sufis in Mazandaran Province

HRANA, March 10, 2021. –

A leak of confidential documents has revealed that a meeting of representatives from nine of Iran’s security organisations, together with officials from government departments, held in Sari on September 3 last year, decided to tighten the repression of Bahais and Sufis in Mazandaran Province. The activities of Bahais in the bazaar (in the economy) and in private meetings are to be more tightly controlled. The Directors of primary and secondary schools in Sari County are tasked with identifying Bahai pupils and attracting them to Islam, while the heads of tertiary education in the County are required to ensure that the exclusion of Bahais from tertiary education is enforced. The head of the Ministry of Industry and Mining was tasked with controlling the activities of Bahais in the bazaar. Such a high-level meeting confirms anecdotal evidence that Bahai and Sufi communities are growing in Iran, to the extent that they are seen as a threat.

March 10, 2021

5-year sentences confirmed for Sufeya Mobini and Negin Tadrisi


HRANA, March 2021. –

The Review Court for Tehran Province has confirmed the five-year prison sentences of Sufeya Mobini and Negin Tadrisi. They were initially sentenced in the Revolutionary Court by Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad (قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد). For the details see a previous report on this blog.

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

February 24, 2021

Confiscation of assets from Bahais in Bandar Lengeh


HRANA, February 23, 2021. –

The business, homes and bank accounts of two Bahais in the Southern port city of Bandar Lengeh have been confiscated by court order. The workshop and houses of Mohabatullah Thaabet (موهبت الله ثابت) and Erfaan Noahnezhaad (عرفان نوح نژاد) were ordered to be seized following pressure from the “security office” [ie, agent of the Ministry of Intelligence, ~ Sen] in the town’s Tax Department, and the levy of a substantial, and abnormal, fine on the Bahais. Their workshop, making composite beams, has been closed by the authorities since November, 2019, because of their Bahai beliefs. They had operated the workshop for five years prior to that, and had paid their taxes and kept accounts as required. The business of another Bahai in that town, Vahid Zaraa`at-Kaar (وحید زراعت کار), was also sealed at that time [presumably in relation to the celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah ~ Sen] and also remains sealed by the authorities.

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

February 23, 2021

Eight Bahais summoned to prison in Bandar Abbas


HRANA, February 23, 2021. –

A Review Court has confirmed the sentences of eight Bahais from Bandar Abbas who were previously sentenced to jail and re-education, and on February 21 they were summoned to present themselves at prison within ten days. Arash Raasekhi (آرش راسخی), Nasim Qanawaateyaan (نسیم قنواتیان), Maaraal Raasti (مارال راستی), Mahnaaz Jaan-Nethaar (مهناز جان نثار), Omid Afaaqi (امید آفاقی) and Mehrollah Afshaar [previously reported as Ruhollah Afshaar (روح الله افشار)] were sentenced to two years in prison, while Adib Haqq-pazhuh (ادیب حق پژوه) and Farhaad Amri (فرهاد امری) were sentenced to one year in prison. In addition, all eight were given a two-year ban on membership of social and political parties and groups and attending Bahai meetings, and are required to attend five counselling sessions on “sects” under the supervision of the “Sajjadiyyeh” Institute (named after the fourth Imam, aka Zayn al-Abidin). The court also confiscated 30 million tumans in cash, two small pendants, a gold necklace, gold bracelet and gold ring, all with religious motifs, books, photo displays, statues and CDs. The eight were sentenced on December 12, 2020 in Branch Two of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Bandar Abbas, presided over by Judge ‘Ali Balaador (قاضی علی بلادر). They were charged with conspiracy to undermine national security, based on evidence that they had conducted children’s classes and youth classes for Bahai children, and music classes, and had attended a “Ruhi” study circle and collected donations [from Bahais] for the Bahai “Feasts” (community devotionals). On February 2, the Review Court for Hormouzgan Province, consisting of Judge Mash’allah Afshaarpour (قاضی ماشااله افشارپور) and Counsellor Ebraahim Mohammadi (مستشار ابراهیم محمدی), confirmed the sentences. The verdict of the Review Court does not mention any activities against national security, instead referring to the fact that the Bahai Faith [like Buddhism, Hinduism and many other religions] is not recognized in the Constitution of Iran.

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

February 22, 2021

Three Bahais sentenced in Tehran Revolutionary Court


HRANA, February 21, 2021. –

Saeed Naasseri (سعید ناصری), his brother Hamid Naasseri ( حمید ناصری), and Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی), wife of Saeed Nasseri, have been sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Judge Mohammad-Reza Amouzaad ( قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد ) sentenced Mrs. Emami to three years in prison, and the two brothers to two years in prison, for membership of an illegal group intended to undermine national security. The same court had previously handed down these sentences in absentia and without a hearing, and now, after a hearing, has confirmed its own findings.

Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی) was arrested at her home on the evening of February 2, 2019. Agents searched her house thoroughly and confiscated her mobile phone, computer, books, and essays. Hamid Nasseri was arrested on the street in front of his business on March 11, 2019, and Saeed was arrested on the same day after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother and wife.
She was released on bail of 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ) on March 16, 2019, and Saeed and Hamid were released for the same bail amount on April 18 and 24, respectively.

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

February 9, 2021

Sentences confirmed for Bandar Abbas eight


Iran Wire, February 8, 2021. –

On February 2, the Review Court for Hormouzgan Province, consisting of Judge Mash’allah Afshaarpour (قاضی ماشااله افشارپور) and Counsellor Ebraahim Mohammadi (مستشار ابراهیم محمدی), confirmed the sentences of eight Bahais previously sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Bandar Abbas. Arash Raasekhi (آرش راسخی), Nasim Qanawaateyaan (نسیم قنواتیان), Maaraal Raasti (مارال راستی), Mahnaaz Jaan-Nethaar (مهناز جان نثار), Omid Afaaqi (امید آفاقی) and Mehrollah Afshaar (مهراله افشار) [previously reported as Ruhollah Afshaar (روح الله افشار)] to two years in prison, while Adib Haqq-pazhuh (ادیب حق پژوه) and Farhaad Amri (فرهاد امری) were sentenced to one year in prison. In most cases, Provincial Review Courts simply check that the severity of sentences is in line with sentencing norms, but in this case the Court appears to have heard a legal appeal, as the Court’s judgement states: “No group whose formation and activity are not in accordance with the laws, and which has been proven to act against national security, is permitted to operate and their activities will be considered to undermine security. The existence and activity of the errant Bahai group does not comply with any of the examples of recognized parties, communities or religious minorities in Article 22 of the Constitution. Therefore, their appeal is not recognized and the [Revolutionary] Court’s ruling was issued in accordance with sharia and codified laws …”.

The eight were sentenced on December 12, 2020 in Branch Two of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Bandar Abbas, presided over by Judge ‘Ali Balaador (قاضی علی بلادر). They have also been barred from membership in political and social organizations and from holding Bahai community “Feasts” and gatherings for two years. They must also undergo five sessions of counseling on sectarian issues under the supervision of lecturers at the Sajjadieh Institute of Islamic Thought in Bandar Abbas, and if they do not comply, their deferred sentences will be increased by a third and may be actuated together with a fine. The Sajjadiyyeh Institute (named after the fourth Imam, aka Zayn al-Abidin) was established in December 2016 with the aim of reviving and disseminating Shiite religious teachings. Students are sent abroad to propagate the ideals of Imam Sajjad and, according to Director Hojatoleslam Mohammad Ali Labkhandan, its envoys have been active in no fewer than 26 countries and have held congresses in Honduras, Colombia, and Myanmar. In short, the Institute does the very thing that the eight Bahais were accused of.

The eight are being made to attend these sessions in order to have their beliefs scrutinized and denigrated. This sentence is itself also a clear violation of the twenty-third principle of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which states: “Enquiry into beliefs is prohibited and no one shall be subjected to belligerence and interrogation because of having a belief.”

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

February 5, 2021

Five Bahai women begin 1-year sentences in Mashhad


Iran Wire, February 3, 2021. (with Persian report) –

Five Bahai women from Mashhad have been summoned to the city’s Vakilabad Prison to begin serving their sentences. They are are Noghmeh Dhabihayan (نغمه ذبیحیان), Nakisa Hajipour (نکیسا حاجی پور), Nika Paakzaadaan (نیکا پاکزادان), Faraaneh Daaneshgari (فرانه دانشگری) and Saanaaz Eshaaqi (ساناز اسحاقی). Each has been give a one-year sentence on charges of “propaganda against the regime through propagation of the Bahai Faith.” The sentences were handed down in September 2019 in the Revolutionary Court by Judge Baghdehi (قاضی باغ‌دهی), who has a track record of issuing custodial sentences to Iranian Bahais for no reason other than their faith. The sentences were confirmed by the Review Court around December 25, 2020.

The summonses were issued on January 28 and each of the five women has been given 10 days to report for imprisonment. This comes at the same time as a severe outbreak of coronavirus at Vakilabad Prison, and also amid a recent wave of persecution of Bahais and members of other ethnic and religious minorities in Iran.

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

February 1, 2021

Touraj Amini begins his 6-month sentence


HRANA, January 30, 2021. –

On January 29, Bahai researcher and author Touraj Amini ( تورج امینی) was summoned to the Prosecutor’s office and taken to Karaj Central Prison, near Tehran, to begin his six-month sentence. He was originally sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj to one year in prison and two years of exile from the city, but this was reduced by the Alborz Provincial Review Court. On August 4, 2019, security forces searched his home, seizing books and notes and a laptop, and he was previously detained for a short time, in March 2008. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime.”

His books include one on the role of religious minorities in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911; “The Hidden Awakening” (رستاخیز پنهان), on the relationship between Iranians intellectuals and the Babi and Bahai Faiths; a five-volume collection of source documents relating to the Bahais in Iran, and a volume of “Documents of Contemporary Zoroastrians of Iran.”

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

January 30, 2021

Three Bahais sentenced in Tehran


HRANA, January 29, 2020. –

Mrs. Marvash `Adaalati `Ali-Abaadi (مهوش عدالتی علی آبادی), who in previous reports was named as Mahvash `Adaalati-Za’iri (مهوش عدالتی (زائری), Mrs. Sepideh Keshaavarz (سپیده کشاور) and Mr. Farid Ismaa`ili (فرید اسماعیلی) have been sentenced to three years and seven months in prison by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. They were tried around January 1 this year. The Judge, Muhammad-Reza Amouzad (قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد), issued his verdict on January 10, but the accused were only informed in the past few days. This sentence refers to the charge of “collusion intended to undermine national security by conducting Bahai activities.” They were also found guilty of “propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching and spreading the Bahai Faith,” and sentenced to eight months. However if the sentenced are confirmed by the Review Court, they will serve only the longer sentence.

The home of Mrs Mahvash `Adaalati-Za’iri (مهوش عدالتی (زائری)) in Tehran was searched by security forces for three hours on November 20, 2018, with the seizure of Bahai books and other personal effects, and she was summoned to Evin Prison for interrogation on November 26, and arrested after two hours of interrogation. Interrogations continued in the following days, and she was released on bail on November 29.

The home of Farid Ismaa`ili (فرید اسماعیلی) was raided on the same day. Agents seized his mobile telephone, laptops and books and images relating to the Bahai Faith. They left a summons requiring him to report to Evin Courthouse in Tehran. According to the latest HRANA report he was released on bail the following day: I have no previous record of that.

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

January 25, 2021

Mazhdeh Eqteraafi and Houshmand Taalebi bailed at last


HRANA, January 24, 2021. –

Mazhdeh Eqteraafi (مژده اقترافی) and her husband Houshmand Taalebi (هوشمند طالبی), Bahais from Vilashahr, were released from prison in Isfahan on January 24. They have been detained since August 23, 2020. r. 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 were also confiscated. During their interrogation, they were charged with propaganda against the regime and links to foreign governments.

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

January 23, 2021

Sufeya Mobini’s sentence reduced to five years


HRANA, January 21, 2021. –

In an unusual step, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran has reduced the sentence of Sufeya Mobini (سوفیا مبینی), from ten years to five years. This is not a Review, but the correction of an administrative error within the Revolutionary Court system. Her sentence, and Negin Tadrisi’s (نگین تدریسی) five-year sentence in the same case, will still be considered by the Provincial Review Court, which reviews all the findings of the Revolutionary Courts, and often reduces the sentences. The accused are usually free on bail until the Review Court has spoken. The correction in this case was made by Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad (قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد). The initial 10-year sentence, handed down by the notorious Judge Moqayeseh ( قاضی محمد مقیسه ), was based on Article 498 of the Islamic Penal Code, which provides for a maximum of ‘only’ five years’ imprisonment for “acting against national security” [i.e., commemorating a birth that took place 200 years ago ! Mrs Mobini and Tadrisi were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in October 2017, during the bicentenary celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet Founder of the Bahai Faith.].

The precise charges in this case are “acting against national security by administering the Bahai organisation and promoting its teachings.” In his ruling, Judge Moqayeseh had also accused them of paying the tuition for an Afghani student to attend language classes, of giving counselling regarding behavioural, sexual and economic awareness, and of writing in a personal journal that “the people in this region need education.”

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

January 18, 2021

Two more Bahais barred from universities

Mahsa Foruhari

Sima Fattaahi-Mirshekaarlu


HRANA (twice), January 2021. –

In two separate items, HRANA has reported that Mahsa Foruhari (مهسا فروهری), a Bahai student from Karaj, and Sima Fattaahi-Mirshekaarlu (شیما فتاحی میرشکارلو), a Bahai studying in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), have been barred from tertiary education because of their Bahai beliefs. Ms. Foruhari registered for the tenth consecutive year for entrance to tertiary education with exemption from the University Entrance examination. This exemption is available to those with good academic records, and her average was just over 19 [out of 20, presumably]. Nevertheless she was rejected for “incomplete file” – the usual term used when students are excluded because of Bahai beliefs. After the most recent University Entrance examination, HRANA reported 21 other cases of Bahais excluded from university for “incomplete file.”

Ms. Fattaahi, who began a Master’s degree in International Law at Urmia Azad University about two years ago, received a message on the university website on January 17, saying that she was barred from defending her dissertation and continuing postgraduate studies because of her adherence to the Bahai Faith. This message refers to a letter dated December 29, 2099 regarding the the exclusion of Bahai students and the expulsion of Ms. Fattaaahi. The report does not explain who wrote the letter, but the image caption says it is from the “Security Office,” the on-campus branch of the the Ministry of Intelligence. Presumably it was addressed to the University, who had no choice but to obey.
https://iranwire.com/fa/news/kerman/44103

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

January 13, 2021

House raid in Karaj


HRANA, January 12, 2021. –

On January 11, security forces raided the home of Tina `Alevi-`Enayatipour (تینا علوی عنایتی پور), a Bahai from Karaj, and seized her mobile phone, computer and work tools. She sells jewelry.

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

December 31, 2020

One-year sentences confirmed for nine Bahais from Karaj


HRANA, December 31, 2020. –

A review court for Tehran Province, headed by Judge Seyyed-Ahmad Zargar (قاضی سید احمد زرگر) and Counsellor ‘Abbaas-`Ali Houzaan (عباسعلی حوزان), has confirmed the one-year sentences of nine Bahais from Karaj that were announced by a Revolutionary Court in August this year. It was Judge Zargar who, earlier this year, confirmed the outrageous 10-year sentence handed down to the Bahai scholar and translator Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), and the five-year sentence of Samin Maqsudi (ثمین مقصودی).

The Bahais whose one-year sentences were announced today are Mr. Houman Khoushnam (هومن خوشنام), Mrs. Ilham Salmanzadeh (الهام سلمانزاده), Mr. Payaam Sha’baani (پیام شعبانی ), Mr. Keyaanush Salmaanzaadeh (کیانوش سلمانزاده), Mr. Soroush Agaahi (سروش آگاهی), Mr. Parvan Ma`navi (پروان معنوی), Mrs. Jamileh Paakrou-Mohammad-Hosseini (جمیله پاکرو محمدحسینی), Mr. Paymaan Ma’navi (پیمان معنوی) and Mrs. Neda Shabaani-Bik-Aqaa’i (ندا شبانی بیوک آقایی). They were charged with propaganda against the regime through activity and propaganda for the Bahais. 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.

The case of Maryam Ghaffaarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش) is also pending before the same court. She was one of five Bahais arrested at a meeting for environmental education in Karaj on September 16, 2018.

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

December 26, 2020

Sentences confirmed for five Bahais from Mashhad


HRANA, December 26, 2020. –

The Review Court for Khorasan Province has confirmed the one-year prison terms that Judge Baagh-dehi (قاضی باغ دهی), in the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, had ordered for Nika Paakzaadaan (نیکا پاکزادان), Faraaneh Daaneshgari (فرانه دانشگری), Saanaaz Eshaaqi (ساناز اسحاقی), Nakisa Hajipour (نکیسا حاجی پور) and Noghmeh Dhabihayan (نغمه ذبیحیان). The Review Court decision was announced on December 17. These five Bahai women were arrested on November 13, 2015, at the same time as agents from the Ministry of Intelligence also arrested 15 other Bahais in Tehran and Isfahan, and Bahai-run businesses were closed down in Mazandaran Province. Nakisa Hajipour was arrested at the Mashhad railway station, and the other four at their homes. The Revolutionary court trial was held on 28 September, 2019.

Noghmeh Dhabihayan-Esami was previously arrested in connection with a handcrafts exhibition in Mashhad. This HRANA report states that she was sentenced to 6 months in prison, but my own records from the time show she was acquitted.
https://iranwire.com/fa/news/kerman/44103

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

December 25, 2020

Bandar Abbas: 8 Bahais sentenced to prison and re-education


HRANA, December 24, 2020.

A Revolutionary Court in Bandar Abbas has sentenced Arash Raasekhi (آرش راسخی), Nasim Qanawaateyaan (نسیم قنواتیان), Maaraal Raasti (مارال راستی), Mahnaaz Jan-Nethaar (مهناز جان نثار), Omid Afaaqi (امید آفاقی) and Ruhollah Afshaar (روح الله افشار) to two years in prison, while Adib Haqq-pazhuh (ادیب حق پژوه) and Farhaad Amri (فرهاد امری) wee sentenced to one year in prison. In addition, all eight were given a two-year ban on membership of social and political parties and groups and attending Bahai meetings, and are required to attend five counselling sessions on “sects” under the supervision of the “Sajjadiyyeh” Institute (named after the fourth Imam, aka Zayn al-Abidin). Failure to attend the counselling will result in a one-third increase in their prison sentence for the first omission, and for repeated absences, to imprisonment or a fine. They were charged with conspiracy to undermine national security.

Mr Haqq-pazhuh was arrested in Shiraz in April, 2017, and transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities in Bandar Abbas on April 19. He had previously been arrested, in August 2014, and sentenced to six months in prison for propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies, but benefited from an amnesty granted in February 2019. The other seven were arrested in Bandar Abbas on April 18, and held by the Ministry of Intelligence.

The eight detainees were interrogated by the Ministry for about three weeks before being transferred to the central prison for Hormuzgan Province, which is also in Bandar Abbas. From there, they were released on bail, although I have no record of the details. The behaviour of local and provincial officials during the interrogation was described as good, but interrogators who travelled to Bandar Abbas from Tehran behaved badly, insulting the detainees.

For three years, the case file remained with a Mr. Rahimi from the Prosecutor’s Office, who was supposed to investigate. The charge at that point was “propaganda against the regime.” After three years, the arrestees were told that the Ministry of Intelligence had failed to provide any evidence, and had been given one further month to do so, or the case would be closed. Mr. Rahimi was then removed from the case, and a new prosecutor made a more serious charge, of conspiracy, and sent it to the Revolutionary Court without informing the defendants or their lawyer. The trial was held on December 12, and it was only then that the defendants learned what a more serious charge had been laid. Although their lawyer argued that the process was flawed and should be returned to the prosecutor’s office, Judge ‘Ali Balaador (قاضی علی بلادر) proceeded with a verdict. The additional sentence of counselling by the theological institute shows that they were in fact sentenced only for being Bahais, as the first case investigator had said that no evidence had been presented.

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

December 20, 2020

Wahda Silaani begins her sentence in Kerman


Iran Press Watch, December 16, 2020. –

Wahda Silaani (وحدا سیلانی) a Bahai living in Kerman, was arrested on Sunday, December 13, 2020, after being summoned to the Revolutionary Court “for some explanations.” She was transferred to Kerman Prison to serve her sentence. She had previously been sentenced by the Kerman Revolutionary Court to seven months in prison.

Wahda Silaani was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents on December 29, 2019 and transferred to Kerman Prison. During the arrest, officers searched Ms. Silaani’s home and confiscated some of her personal belongings. She was temporarily released on January 15, 2020, on 100 million toman [approx. $23,750] bail. She was later tried by the Kerman Revolutionary Court and sentenced to seven months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime by means of Bahai propaganda.

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

December 3, 2020

Ruhollah Zibaa’i released


HRANA, December 2, 2020. –

Ruhollah Zibaa’i (روح‌الله زیبایی), who began a 4-month sentence in Karaj central prison on December 1, was released on December 2 for health reason. He was accused of propaganda against the regime and in favour of the Bahai Faith. Due to extensive injuries sustained in multiple actions during the Iran-Iraq war (he was wounded three times in Dehlawieh, Susangard, and Ahvaz), he requires constant medical care. The report suggests that he has lodged bail, since it says he can apply to have to returned to him after four months.

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

December 2, 2020

Ruhollah Zibaa’i goes to jail, released


HRANA, December 1, 2020. –

Ruhollah Zibaa’i (روح‌الله زیبایی) was arrested at his home in Baghastan (Karaj) on December 1 and taken to Karaj central prison to begin his 4-month sentence. He was given a one-year sentence by Judge `Assef Al-Husseini (قاضی عاصف الحسینی), on a charge of propaganda against the regime and in favour of the Bahai Faith. This was reduced to four months by the Provincial Court of Review. [The previous report on Sen’s Daily (May 11, 2020) said that the Review Court had confirmed the one-year sentence.] He was arrested in Karaj on August 3, 2019, and released on bail on September 2.

Update, December 3:  Unconfirmed reports say that he was released soon after arriving at the prison, for health reasons. 

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

 

November 26, 2020

23 Bahai homes raided across Iran

HRANA, November 25, 2020. –

On the morning of Sunday, November 22, in simultaneous operations in various cities across Iran, security agents raided at least 23 Bahai homes. Radio Farda cites estimates that 30 to 50 Bahai homes were raided. The security agents seized personal belongings, including laptops, mobile phones, personal computers, cash, bank cards, real estate documents, identification documents, and books relating to the Bahai Faith. The home raids confirmed by HRANA in Tehran targetted Niki Khaanjaani (نیکی خانجانی), Riaz Sobhaani (ریاض سبحانی), `Arshi Moqaddam (عرشی مقدم), Homa Etemaadi (هما اعتمادی), Shahla Hekmat-Sho`aar (شهلا حکمت شعار), Ataa’ullah Ashrafi (عطاءالله اشرفی) and, in the outlying suburb of Baaba Salmaan, the home of Jamshid Shah Mohammadi (جمشید شاه محمدی); in Karaj, near Tehran, it was the homes of `Afif Na’imi (عفیف نعیمی), Shaahrokh Taa’ef (شاهرخ طائف), Sirous Mithaaqi (سیروس میثاقی), Taaher Safaajou (طاهر صفاجو), Anis Safaajou (انیس صفاجو) and Shahraam Safaajou (شهرام صفاجو); in Isfahan, the homes of Khosrou Shafi`zaadeh (خسرو شفیع زاده), Elhaam Amiri (الهام امیری), Ehsaan Makaari (احسان مکاری) and Bahaador Mota’aarafi (بهادر متعارفی); in Kerman, the home of Naaser Nabili (ناصر نبیلی); in Mashhad, the home of Peymaaneh Naamdaar (پیمانه نامدار). The report does not specify the location of the homes of the following Bahais who were targetted in the raid: Daariush Diaani ( داریوش دیانی), Parvin Naamdaar (پروین نامدار), Faribar Behin-aa’in (فریبر بهین آیین) and Naaser Dalili (ناصر دلیلی). The workplace of Anis Safaajou ( انیس صفاجو), in Mehrshahr, a suburb of Karaj, was also raided.

The reports have been collected in an adhoc way, and may be revised. Initially, individual reports were noted by the human rights activist Mehdi Mahmoudian (مهدی محمودیان), who published them on Twitter, leading to more reports being forwarded to him. HRANA, an organisation with the experience and connections to verify the reports, has not completed its work.

The picture of a chaotic room that is used by HRANA in its report is a stock image predating the recent raids.

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

November 19, 2020

Bahai university applicants summoned to sign pledge

Iranwire, November 19, 2020. –

On Wednesday, November 11, a number of Bahais who passed Iran’s national university entrance exams were summoned by telephone to the Karaj branch of ‘Sanjesh,’ the body responsible for organizing and overseeing the annual tests in Iran. Several said that on arrival, they were taken into a private room and their mobile phones were confiscated. They were then questioned about their belief in the Bahai Faith, and made to fill out questionnaires on their family members, personal relations and social media activities.

In the end, candidates were told that they would be allowed to enroll and study at Iranian universities on the condition that they sign a letter of commitment in which they would undertake to obey the laws of the Islamic Republic and refrain from “propagating” the Bahai Faith. They were also asked to agree not to associate with Bahai organizations and to disregard the rulings of the Universal House of Justice, the elected governing body for the global Bahai community.

Not one of the candidates reportedly signed. This means, in effect, that they are barred from entering higher education in Iran.

It comes after a welter of complaints from Bahai students following the 2020 entrance exam in late summer. After the results were announced, Bahai candidates said, they logged in only to see an error message that read “incomplete file.”

[Bahai teachings require obedience to the government and laws of the land in which one lives, there are no Bahai organizations in Iran with which the students could associate, and Bahai students in Iran, at all levels of education, already follow a policy of not propagating their Faith in institutions that make this a requirement. The point of the pledge lies in the fourth point, requiring the students to disregard the edicts of the Universal House of Justice. This refers to claims in the state-sponsored Iranian media that Bahais obey the instructions of the House of Justice rather than those of the government in Iran, and calling the Bahai community “a state within the State.” This is analogous to the claim, in anti-Catholic rhetoric in the United States, that a Roman Catholic President would be bound to obey the Pope. It is ridiculous in both cases: the Pope and the Universal House of Justice make rulings only on religious matters, affecting only their own communities. The Bahai teachings specify that the Bahais “in whatever country they reside, … will, unhesitatingly, subordinate the operation of [Bahai] laws and the application of [Bahai] principles to the requirements and legal enactments of their respective governments. Theirs is not the purpose, … to violate, under any circumstances, the provisions of their country’s constitution, much less to allow the machinery of their administration to supersede the government of their respective countries.” (Source). Far from aiming to be a state within the State, the Bahais are fully committed to the separation of the institutions of religion from politics. The Iranian authorities know this: it is one reason for their persecution of the Bahais. ~ Sen]

November 9, 2020

Security forces confiscate Bahai agricultural land at Roshankuh


Iran Press Watch, November 9, 2020. –

Recently, the Natural Resources Department of Mazandaran Province confiscated land owned by the mostly Bahai residents of Roshankooh village, near the city of Sari, under the pretense of protecting natural resources. These lands, which have been owned by the villagers for nearly a hundred years and have title deeds, have been occupied by a Special Security Forces Unit.

On October 25th of this year, the head of Forestry of the region, the head of the Sari Protection of Natural Resources Unit, and more than 15 members of the Special Security Forces Unit and the police force, demolished the existing fences and erected a new one without prior notice or presenting a court order.

These farmlands, on which villagers lived, have belonged to them for more than a century. Also, the landowners have deeds showing the ownership of the land since the time of the Land Reform Law enacted in 1963. On top of that, there are other ownership documents that have been issued during the time of the Islamic Republic.

Roshankooh village has about 160 families, most of whom are Baha’is. These people have owned and worked on their farmlands around the village for several generations.

Previously, several court sittings were held on this matter on February 7, 10, 12, and 17, 2016, with a complaint from the Department of Natural Resources in Branch 1 of the General Court of Kiya-Sar city.

HRANA writes: “The Bahais of Roshankooh village petitioned that a look at the map and aerial images will show that not only have they not encroached on natural resources, but that tens of thousands of square meters of their farmland has been occupied by the Department of Natural Resources in recent decades. According to this report, based on the Recognition Advertisement No. 8752-31 / 2/54, Roshankooh village is one of the exemptions from being part of the natural resources. However, the Department of Natural Resources avoids providing a map that is appended to that advertisement.”

Bahais in the village of Roshankooh intend to appeal the decision.

=+=
Persian source , reporting by Amir Soltanzadeh (
امیر سلطان‌زاده)

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

November 2, 2020

Bahai students again barred from Iran’s universities

Iran Wire, November 2, 2020. –

On Friday, October 30, Ebrahim Khodaei, head of the Iran’s National Organization of Educational Testing, announced that this year’s results of 2020 had been posted on the organization’s website. Participants, he said, could visit the site, enter their registration number and other personal information, and then view their personal results.

As in previous years, when Bahai students logged on this year, they found that their records were flagged with the words “incomplete dossier”: a catch-all term the testing organization has been using for more than a decade now to stop students known to belong to the Baha’i community from progressing to the next stage in their education.

At the time of writing, IranWire had received the names of 14 Bahai participants who have been locked out of the grading system because of an “incomplete dossier”. They were Parsa Seyed Ahmad, Shahrad Mohammad-Zadeh (who ranked 653rd in the nationwide entrance exams), Kimia Manouchehri, Setareh Izadi, Kian Laghaee, Aria Sheikh Zavareh, Marjan Abbas-Pouli, Faran Ghodratyan, Vahid Sadeghi, Mobina Hooshmandi, Arshia Eshraghi, Shamim Idelkhani (who ranked 686th), Aryan Dehghani (2000th) and Sayena Shafizadeh. The “Iran” news site reports 17 Bahai students have been excluded, without naming them.

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

October 24, 2020

Five Bahais of Mashhad given one-year sentences


HRANA, October 22, 2020. –

A Revolutionary Court in Mashhad has sentenced five Bahai women to one year in prison. They are Nika Paakzaadaan (نیکا پاکزادان), Faraaneh Daaneshgari (فرانه دانشگری), Saanaaz Eshaaqi (ساناز اسحاقی), Nakisa Hajipour (نکیسا حاجی پور) and Noghmeh Dhabihayan (نغمه ذبیحیان). They were arrested on November 13, 2015, at the same time as agents from the Ministry of Intelligence also arrested 15 other Bahais in Tehran and Isfahan, and Bahai-run businesses were closed down in Mazandaran Province. Nakisa Hajipour was arrested at the Mashhad railway station, and the other four at their homes. They were charged with propaganda against the regime through teaching the Bahai Faith. The trial was held on 28 September, 2019, but the sentences have only now been announced.

Noghmeh Dhabihayan-Esami was previously arrested in connection with a handcrafts exhibition in Mashhad. This HRANA report states that she was sentenced to 6 months in prison, but my own records from the time show she was acquitted.

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

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