Sen's daily

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.

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.

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.

June 16, 2020

In Shiraz, the trial of 26 Bahais begins and is adjourned


HRANA, June 15, 2020. –

On June 15, the trial of 26 Bahais in the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz began, but was adjourned after three hours after the defence lawyer pointed to problems in the files supported the charges. According to the summons, issued on June 8, these Bahais were charged with “propaganda against the regime and in favor of groups opposing the regime, running groups opposing the regime, membership in these groups, propaganda activities for, and cooperation with, hostile states; links to states hostile to the Islamic Republic and [supporting] global arrogance, and implementing their plans, [all the above taking] the form of the Bahai organization in Iran.” In short, by being Bahais they are supposed to be guilty of all these things. Judge Sayyed-Mohammad Saadaati (قاضی سیدمحمود ساداتی) referred the case back to the Prosecutor’s Office for further and better investigations. The cases are already several years old. It appears that a Prosecutor who has declared his intention to “uproot” the Bahai community in Shiraz has been reviving prosecutions that had previously been dropped.

Those accused are :
Parisa Rouhi-zaadegaan (پریسا روحی زادگان), arrested September 28, 2016.
Esma`il Rusta (اسماعیل روستا), arrested July 16 or 17, in connection with environmental activism.
Bahareh Nowruzi (بهاره نوروزی), arrested September 28, 2016 or soon after.
Bhenam Azizpour (بهنام عزیزپور), previously reported as Behnam Azirpour (بهنام عزیرپور), arrested September 29, 2016.
Thamareh Ashnaa’i(ثمره آشنایی), previously reported as Thamar Ashnaa’i (ثمر آشنایی), arrested November 22, 2016.
Ramin Shirvani (رامین شیروانی), arrested on July 16, 2016.
Rezvan Yazdani (رضوان یزدانی) arrested November 22, 2016.
Soroush Eqaani (سروش ایقانی), arrested September 28, 2016. In this report he is named Soroush Eqaani-Soghaadi (سروش ایقانی صغادی).
Sa`id Hosna (سعید حسنی), arrested July 16, 2016.
Shaadi Saadeq-Eqdam (شادی صادق اقدم), arrested September 28, 2016.
Shamim Ekhlaqi (شمیم اخلاقی), arrested September 28, 2016.
Sahba Farahbakhsh (صهبا فرحبخش), arrested September 28, 2016.
Sahba Maslahi (صهبا مصلحی), arrested September 28, 2016.
Ahdiyyeh Enayati (عهدیه عنایتی), arrested September 28, 2016.
Farbod Shaadmaan (فربد شادمان), previously named as Farid Shaadmaan (فرید شادمان), arrested September 28, 2016.
Farzad Shaadmaan (فرزاد شادمان), arrested September 28, 2016.
Lala Salehi (لالا صالحی), arrested November 22, 2016.
Mazhgaan Gholaampour-Sa’adi (مژگان غلام پور سعدی), whose name has previously been reported as Mazhgah (مژگاه), arrested September 28, 2016.
Marjaan Glomaampour (مرجان غلام پور), arrested September 28, 2016.
Maryam Eslaami-Mahdiaabaadi (مریم اسلامی مهدی آبادی), arrested September 28, 2016.
Mahyar Safidi Miandoab [=Miaandou-aab] (مهیار سفیدی میاندوآب), arrested September 28, 2016.
Nabil Tahdhib (نبیل تهذیب), arrested July 16 or 17, in connection with environmental activism.
Nasim Kaashaani-nezhaad (نسیم کاشانی نژاد), arrested November 22, 2016.
Noushin Zanhaari (نوشین زنهاری), arrested July 16, 2016.
Varqa Kaaviaani (ورقا کاویانی), arrested September 28, 2016.
Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتا فهندژ سعدی), arrested 2010, again on February 3, 2012 (sentenced, but then acquitted by the Review Court), again on March 16, 2014 (sentenced June 16, 2016 by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison), again on March 16, 2014 (sentenced in December 2018 to ten years in prison by Judge Mohammad Mojtaba Rudijaani (قاضی محمد مجتبی رودیجانی)).

In March, 2020, they were informed of the pending trial and summoned to present their final defence.

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

May 28, 2020

More from Shiraz: Farzaan Ma`sumi and Farhaam Sabet sentenced


HRANA, May 26, 2020. –

Farzaan Ma`sumi (فرزان معصومی) and Farhaam Sabet (فرهام ثابت) are the latest Bahais in Shiraz to be sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), with an additional but concurrent one-year sentence. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of groups opposed to the regime.

They were arrested on the morning of February 12, 2017, when their homes were searched and religious and non-religous books, mobile phones and computers were seized, along with family photos and religious images. They were held at the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Detention Center (Detention Facility 100) in Shiraz, and were freed on bail on the morning of February 22. Bail was set at 200 million tumans each (59,000 euros ; $US 62,000). Farzaan Ma`sumi was again arrest on October 21, 2019, along with Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی) and Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی). It was later claimed that they were holding a religious ceremony that would eclipse the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Karbala.

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

Elaheh Sami`zaadeh sentenced to an additional year


HRANA (ENG), May 25, 2020. –

As previously reported, Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده), a Bahai from Shiraz, was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), on charges of “propaganda against the regime and membership in opposition groups” (plus a one-year concurrent sentence), for her work as an instructor at “mother-child innovation courses” using her valid college degree obtained from official institutions. Another charge of “forging a university degree” was brought up against her in July 2019 and caused her bail to be increased by 60 million tumans. This case was heard by Judge Fakhaarzaadeh (قاضی فخارزاده), the charge being “misuse of scientific titles,” which refers to her studies at the Bahai Institute of Higher Education. He has sentenced her to one year in prison and 2 years suspension from holding all governmental and public jobs. All Bahais in Iran are permanently barred from governmental and public jobs, and also from work in many economic sectors, and from tertiary education.

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

May 18, 2020

In Shiraz, two more Bahai women sentenced to six years


HRANA, May 17, 2020. –

Shahnaaz Saabet (شهناز ثابت) and Soheila Haqiqat (سهیلا حقیقت) have been sentenced to six years in prison. They were charged with “propaganda against the regime and membership in anti-regime groups.” The trial was held on May 10. The same judge, Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), has recently sentenced eight other Bahais. In two of these cases, Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) and Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت) were sentenced to six years, which was specified as five years on one charge plus an one-year concurrent sentence. It may be that the 6-year sentences in today’s report also include a one-year concurrent sentence.

Mrs Haqiqat was arrested in her home in Shiraz on August 10, 2019, and Mrs. Saabet was arrested in her home in Shiraz on September 1, 2019. They were freed on bail after their arrest.

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

May 15, 2020

Another six young Bahais sentenced in Shiraz


HRANA, May 14, 2020. –

Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), who sentenced Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) and Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت) to five years in prison (plus an one-year concurrent sentence) has announced sentences for Shahryaar `Ataareyaan (شهریار عطریان), six years, Navid Bazmaandegaan (نوید بازماندگان) and his wife Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری), both six years, Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی), eight years, Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان), six years, and Ehsanollah Mahbub-Rahwafa (احسان الله محبوب راه وفا = ) (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا), one year. They were tried on May 10, charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of groups opposed to the regime. All eight young Bahais were arrested in September, 2018. The common factor in their cases is that they were attending or teaching adult education classes, while Elaheh Sami`zaadeh and Nilufar Hakimi were also teaching music to children. Their arrests drew national attention because a Shiraz city Counselor, Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی) made efforts for the release of Navid Bazmaandegaan and Bahaareh Qaaderi, and was himself arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and accused of defending the “false Bahai Faith,” an offence for which he served a jail sentence.

This report does not mention any concurrency in the sentences, but given the examples of Elaheh Sami`zaadeh and Sudabeh Haqiqat, it is likely that the sentences of six and eight years will in fact be five and seven years. All sentences are from a Revolutionary Court, and must be reviewed by the Provincial Review Court, which very often cuts sentences that are obviously ideologically motivated, yet seldom acquits the accused.

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

May 14, 2020

Elaheh Sami`zaadeh and Sudabeh Haqiqat given 5-year sentences in Shiraz


HRANA,May 13, 2020. –

Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) and Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت) have been sentenced to five years in prison by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, on the charge of membership of anti-regime groups, as well as a one-year concurrent sentence on the charge of propaganda against the regime. They were tried on May 10. Their lawyer was present, but they were excluded from the court by the sentencing judge, Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی). They are also awaiting trial in another court – a criminal court. This presumably relates to the charge of “forging a document,” because they are graduates from the Bahai Institute of Higher Education.

They are both residents of Shiraz, and were arrested there on September 15 and 16. They were released on bail 25 days later.

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

January 3, 2020

2019 01 to 06

Filed under: — Sen @ 15:09

January to June, 2019

Sufeya Mobini sentenced to 10 years in prison

Iran Press Watch, June 29, 2019. –

Sufeya Mobini (سوفیا مبینی), a Bahai from Tehran, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by Branch 26 of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court. Ms. Mobini and Negin Tadrisi (نگین تدریسی) were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 2017, during the bicentenary celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet Founder of the Bahai Faith. She was later released on bail.

An informed source told a HRANA reporter: “During the proceedings, the charges against this Bahai citizen were issued as “formation and administration of an illegal Bahai group with the aim of disrupting national security.” A sentence of 10 years in prison has been decided based on this charge. However, in the sentencing there is reference to Article 499 of the Islamic Penal Code, though in reality, the original text of this article reads: “Anyone who joins, as a member, any of the groups, societies, or branches … shall be sentenced to three months to five years’ imprisonment, unless it is proven that they had been unaware of its aims.” So the maximum penalty for such a charge is five years in prison.” Negin Tadrisi has been sentenced to 5 years in prison under the same article. This sentence was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.
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Moves to close Bahai home for the elderly in Golshahr

Iran Press Watch, June 29, 2019. –

HRANA News Agency – Officials from the Karaj Office of Public Places, by appearing in one of the Elder Care Centers that belongs to Bahais, have been trying to remove seniors and residents of the area and to seal the location. Giti Charkhi Zarrin (Khollas), a Bahai and Director of the complex, was also summoned to the Alborz Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday.

According to HRANA, on June 27, 2019, Karaj Provincial Police Officers appeared at one of the Elder Care Centers in Golshahr, Karaj, owned by Bahais and tried to close the business.

It is said that the site, which has been working to care for the elderly and people with disabilities for the past twenty years, while receiving the official approval of the Office of Welfare, has been denied continuation of the service license in recent years because of its officers’ belief in the Bahai Faith.

An informed source told the HRANA Reporter, “For the past year, on several occasions, Office of Public Places administration officials has been trying to close this unit; their effort today to close the home is much more severe than in the past. They were trying to remove the elderly and disabled Bahais from the building and leave them in the street, so they could close the premises, according to the Karaj prosecutor’s office. Eventually, because the disabled elderly and the staff refused to leave, they were temporarily prevented from closing the center.”

Following this action, Giti Charkhi Zarrin (Khollas), a Bahai and Director of the complex, was summoned to the Alborz Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday.

According to this source, a person who has introduced himself as a parliamentary representative, by coming to this complex, as well as government agencies in Karaj, has been closely following the closure of this nursing home owned by Bahais in the past year.
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Raids on Baha’i businesses and homes in Shahin Shahr

Iran Wire, June 27, 2019. –

Security forces in Isfahan province have launched a fresh campaign of intimidation against the local Bahai community, carrying out raids on the homes and businesses of 11 Bahais in the city of Shahin Shahr between June 9 and June 15.

IranWire has received reports that the agents confiscated religious books and images, as well as personal possessions and business equipment.

According to the informed source who spoke to IranWire, the Bahais targeted in the crackdown have so far been unsuccessful in their efforts to reclaim their seized belongings. Responsible judicial and Intelligence Bureau officials have offered no reasons or explanations for the searches and seizures.

“From Sunday June 9 through Saturday June 15, agents of the Intelligence Bureau and Shahin Shahr police went to the homes of 11 Bahais in the city,” the source said, “and the only thing that they [authorities] showed was a handwritten and illegible piece of paper that they claimed was a warrant from the prosecutor. But the paper lacked a judiciary letterhead, there were no charges specified and only the name of the owner was legible. Two of them were absent from their homes so then the agents searched the other nine homes to find them. There were between five and eight agents at each location and, in searching the homes, they seized whatever they suspected had anything to do with the Bahai Faith.”

According to him, the agents also seized documents, including national ID cards, driver licenses and passports. They also seized personal computers, laptops, flash memory drives, printers, mobile phones, chargers and even packaging boxes for mobile phones.

“After searching one of the homes, they took the owner to his hairdressing shop and, without a warrant, confiscated all the beauty products from a lawful company that this citizen worked as a representative for in Shahin Shahr,” the source said. “They also confiscated work tools belonging to another Bahai who makes a living by bookbinding at home. In another case, they first searched the business of a Baha’i and then took him to his home and searched those premises as well.”

According to this source, when asked about searches and seizures, the agents said that they did not know about them, or replied that the reason would be explained in court. In one case, the agent frankly told the owner of one of the houses raided that the reason was because he was a Bahai.

Mahboubeh Hosseini, Bahram Safaei, Mesbah Karambakhsh, Naeim Haghiri, Peyman Imani, Derakhshandeh Shakibai, Azita Yazdani, Cyrus Golzar and the Afshar family are among the Shahin Shahr Baha’is whose homes were searched. The agents searched the living quarters of two members of the family, who live in the same building one floor apart.

According to latest reports received by IranWire, during the last week of June, Mesbah Karambakhsh was summoned to court to retrieve his ID papers but when he responded to the summons, he was interrogated and was unable to retrieve his papers. In addition, Naeim Haghiri, who worked for an air travel agency, has been suspended from his job under pressure from the Intelligence Ministry.

[On May 1, 2017, authorities closed down 18 Bahai-run businesses in Shahin Shahr, amounting to a majority of the Bahai businesses operating that time. ~ Sen]
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Six Bahais sentenced in Tabriz

HRANA, June 17, 2019. –

Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی), Farzaad Bahaardori ( فرزاد بهادری), Monika Alizaadeh-Aqdasi ( مونیکا علیزاده (اقدسی)), Mrs. Shabnam Issakhaani ( شبنم عیسی‌خانی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه) and Khayrullah Bakhsi (خیرالله بخشی) have each been sentenced to six months in prison, on the charge of “membership in the illegal Bahai organisation.” The organisations of the Bahai community in Iran were all disbanded after the 1979 Revolution – the Bahais in that country have no organisation. The trial took place on June 11 and the sentences were issued on June 15. The Judge in this case was Mr. Hamelbar (قاضی حمل بر). Mr. Khayrullah Bakhsi was also charged with “propaganda against the regime,” but was acquitted on that charge.

These six Bahais were arrested between November 16 and November 20, 2018, and held for one month before being released on bail.
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Kaaviz Nouzdahi acquitted in Mashhad

HRANA, June 5, 2019. –

The Review Court has acquitted Kaaviz Nouzdahi (کاویز نوزدهی), a Bahai from Mashhad, of all the charges against him. He is at present free on bail after being sentenced by a lower court for “membership in an anti-regime organization” (i.e., membership in the Baha’i administration). The Bahai Administration in Iran dissolved itself many years ago, following the 1979 Revolution. His trial in the lower court was quite irregular, with no defence and a court clerk, Mr. Farhikhteh (آقای “فرهیخته), taking the place of the supervising judge, Judge Mansouri ( قاضی منصوری).

Mr. Nuzdehi has previously served a two-year prison sentence, from July 2010 to June 2012, 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.
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Councilor in Shiraz sentenced for defending Bahais

Radio Farda, June 2, 2019. –

A member of Shiraz city council in Iran was taken from his home to prison to serve a one-year sentence Sunday June 2, his wife said in a tweet.

Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی) was first arrested and detained for ten days last September for defending the rights of the Bahai minority, which is severely persecuted by the Islamic Republic, especially the conservative clerics and hardliner security force. He was free on bail.

His wife Zohreh Rastegari said in her tweet that a day earlier they received a text message that he has been sentenced to one year and they took action to enforce the verdict today.

His told the official government news agency IRNA that Mr. Hajati has been transferred to Abdel Abad prison.

His legal trouble started when last year he tweeted, “In the past ten days I have knocked on many doors to get two Bahai friends released from detention, without success. As long as we face foreign enemies, our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice”. He was charged with assisting the Bahais.
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Defence lawyer Amir Salar Davudi sentenced to 15 years

Radio Farda, June 1, 2019. –

Amir Salar-Davudi (امیرسالار داوودی), a lawyer who has defended prisoners of conscience including Bahais, has been sentenced to fifteen years on charges of establishing a Telegram channel called “No Retouch” («بدون روتوش»). He was also sentenced to 111 lashes, a fine of six million tumans ($US 1425) and deprivation of all civil rights for two years.

In an earlier report, his lawyer Vahid Farahani said that he faced four charges for running a Telegram app channel for lawyers in Iran, giving interviews to foreign news organizations, propaganda against the regime and insulting officials. This report also includes the charge “forming a group to overthrow the regime,” which may refer to the Telegram channel. Mr. Davudi was found guilty on multiple charges, but under section 134 of the prison code he will serve only the prison term for the most serious offence: establishing a Telegram channel. Telegram is very widely used in Iran, and is not illegal, but authorities blocked it in April, 2018. Users resort to circumvention tools.

Mr. Davudi was arrested on November 20, 2018, by intelligence officers. His arrest, as well as the search of both his office and home, was conducted without a warrant. Some of his work documents were confiscated.
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Injustice and extortion in Semnan’s prison

Iran Wire, June 1, 2019. –
A month has passed since three young Bahais 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. What little news is available is not good. It appears they are to be charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “undermining national security,” and they have not been allowed to have a lawyer. There are also reports that several other Bahais in Semnan have recently been threatened with arrest.

The family of Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), who is 30 years old, have had no news from him: he has not been allowed even a short telephone call. His mother died in an accident a few months ago, and his father is hospitalized due to kidney problems, so his sister and small child have travelled over 300 km, from Gonbad-Kavus, to follow up on his arrest. Thus far the Ministry of Intelligence and judiciary have not given her any information about her brother’s situation. Mr. Fenaa’eyan was previously arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and held for over 50 days before being freed on bail. A Revolutionary Court sentenced him to nine months in prison [other reports say, 8 months]. He began his sentence in January 2014. Immediately after his release, the Ministry of Intelligence sent him to the army to undertake his military service.

Behnaam Eskandaareyan (بهنام اسکندریان), previously reported as (اسکندریان)Eskandaraani (بهنام اسکندرانی), is 25 years old. Six days after his arrest, in a brief telephone conversation, he told his family that he had been beaten, and asked them to bring two million tumans ($US 475) to the prison. When his family went to the prison, they found that he had been transferred from solitary confinement to the quarantine section, where he was left alone with a hashish addict who beat him up to extort money. The guards, who could hear what was going on and had video surveillance as well, did nothing. When the beating and extortion had been confirmed by the authorities, his family asked for him to be referred to the prison’s medical officer, but the prison authorities said that Behnaam was an adult and could ask himself. However, except for the short telephone call for extortion that they had facilities, Behnaam has been held incommunicado and cannot ask for anything — not even a lawyer.

The third detainee, Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان), is 20 years old. She is reported to have been transferred about 10 days ago, from Ministry of Intelligence detention to the general prison for women, where she is held alone. In Semnan, and in some other prisons, Bahai prisoners are kept apart from others because of a widespread superstition in Iran that Bahais are ‘unclean.’ [And I would add: because Bahai prisoners who have been held together with other prisoners of conscience have sometimes demonstrated to their fellow-prisoners that the anti-Bahai propaganda in Iran’s official media is hogwash, to the extent that they have become friends with the Bahais ~ Sen.] After five days in the general prison, she was allowed a telephone call with her family. The family have asked to visit her, but were told that this is not allowed. Her sisters Golrokh and Shidrokh Firuzeyan (شیدرخ و گلرخ فیروزیان), were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on March 12, 2013 and February 12, respectively. Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan was arrested at the same time. The sisters were held by the Ministry for 40 days. They were charged with “propaganda against the regime” and initially sentenced to 9 months in prison, reduced to 6 months by the review court. They served their sentences and were released in May 2014. 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.
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Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestani receives treatment

HRANA, May 19, 2019. –

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestani (حسن ممتاز سروستانی), a Bahai prisoner from Shiraz who was transferred to Evin prison in Tehran on February 26 this year, has received an angiograph test at a hospital in Tehran. Although the doctor wanted him to be hospitalized for a stent, he was returned to prison after one day [one the same day?].

Mr. Sarvestani was a teacher of Persian literature for the Bahai Open University (BIHE). He was first arrested in 2011, and was one of ten Bahais associated with the BIHE who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013. His sentence was handed down by Judge Maqiseh (قاضی مقیسه) on February 25, 2014, and confirmed by the review court. He began his sentence in 2017, in Adel Abaad prison in Shiraz, and was transferred to Evin prison in Tehran on February 26, 2019.
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Farzaad Rouhaani released on bail in Yazd

HRANA, May 18, 2019. –

Farzaad Rouhaani Manshaadi (فرزاد روحانی منشادی), a Bahai from Yazd whose one-year prison sentence was commuted to a 3-year suspended sentence in July 2018, was re-arrested while taking his son to school on January 28. he was released on bail yesterday, May 17. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 164,000). A court sitting to establish the charges against him took place on May 15, but the charges are not known. He was one of those arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, 2017, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers.
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Home search and summons in Isfahan

HRANA, May 8, 2019. –

On May 8, the home of Neyousha Behin-A’in (نیوشا بهین آئین) in Isfahan was searched by members of the security forces, who seized laptops, cell phones and Baha’i books. She was summoned to appear at the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence next week.
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Three Bahais begin their sentences in Shiraz

HRANA, May 8, 2019. –

Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejmaan Shahryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Koroush Rouhaani (کوروش روحانی)reported to Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz on May 7. They were originally given one-year sentences by Judge Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی محمود ساداتی) in the Revolutionary Court. The Review Court reduced this: Mr. Habibi and Mr. Ruhaani have been sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” while Mr Shahyaari has been sentenced to three months and one day, on the same charge.
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Seven Bahais in Bushehr sentenced to 3 years in prison

HRANA, May 7, 2019. –

The Revolutionary Court in Bushehr has sentenced seven Bahais to three years in prison. 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).
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Bahai motorcross champions barred from the sport

HRANA, May 6, 2019. –

On November 18, 2018, security forces in Tehran arrested Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known sportswoman and trainer in women’s motorcross, was arrested on November 18, and released on bail 15 days later. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 164,000) and was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. Now, without a trial or a judge’s order, she and the other members of her family — who also participate in motorcross — have been banned from being present at motorcross tracks, participating in competitions, and practicing or teaching motorcross sport. Mrs. Nazifi and her husband Mehrshaad Naraqi (مهرشاد نراقی) and their two children Meraat (مرآت ) and Nora (نورا) have all been motorcross champions in Iran, and the mother and daughter are pioneers of women’s motor sports in Iran. Since her arrest, the premises used for storing the family’s motor bikes and other personal effects have been sealed by the authorities. Meraat Naraqi, who is 30 years old, was barred from national competitions and Olympic trials in December, 2018, and prior to that was barred from competing internationally, although he had championship titles to his credit. Their lawyer’s enquiries to the Sports Federation and government ministries have produced no response, no institution has taken responsibility for the banning order, and Mrs Nazifi has not been summoned for trial in relation to her arrest in November 2018, so all that the family know is that her arrest was initiated by the Minister of Intelligence in Tehran. At the time of her arrest, the agents seized all the family’s awards, titles and prizes, as well as documents related to motorcycle races.
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Afshin Seyyed-Ahmad released

HRANA, May 4, 2019. –

Afshin Seyyed-Ahmad (افشین سیداحمد) was released from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj at the end of his three-year sentence on May 4. He was arrested on November 7, 2012 and held for interrogation for 30 days, and then released on bail. He was tried and sentenced by Judge Moqiseh ( قاضی مقیسه) in the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the regime. The Review Court confirmed his 3-year sentence, which he began to serve in June, 2016. He was granted one 8-day furlough during his sentence.
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Three Bahai youth arrested in Semnan

HRANA, April 30, 2019. –

Behnaam Eskandaraani (بهنام اسکندرانی), Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان) and Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), three young Bahais from Semnan, were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on the morning of April 30. The agents also seized some of their personal effects. Mr. Fenaa’eyan was previously sentenced to 8 months in prison. During his time in prison he was obliged to promise that — contrary to a legal provision — he would present himself for military service when he was released from prison. The whereabouts of the three detainees is not known at present.
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Negin Qadameyan, serving a 5-year sentence, allowed furlough

HRANA, April 27, 2019. –

Negin Qedamiaan (نگین قدمیان), who began serving her 5-year sentence for educational crimes in relation to the Bahai Open University (BIHE) on December 16, 2017, was allowed a furlough from Evin Prison from April 22 to April 27. She had lodged several requests for a furlough for medical treatment for gum inflammation and pain in her jaw and teeth. 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. After the trial they were freed on bail or with a pledge, until summoned to begin their sentences.
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Hamid Nasseri bailed in Tehran

HRANA, April 26, 2019. –

Hamid Nasseri ( حمید ناصری), a Bahai from Tehran who was arrested on March 11, was released on bail on April 24. His brother Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری), arrested in Tehran on March 11, was released on bail on April 18. The bail for each of the brothers was set at 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ).
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Ruhiyyeh Narimaan absolved of charges

HRANA, April 21, 2019. –

On April 21, Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) was informed that the charges against her — for which she served five months of a 30-month sentence — have been dismissed by the Court of Review. She is already free, having been provisionally released from prison in Shiraz on March 9, pending a sitting of the Provincial Review Court. Mrs. Narimaan and her husband Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so she served five months of her sentence. Her husband was released in early February, benefiting from an amnesty for some prisoners of conscience marking the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. Mrs. Nariman’s release is not related to the amnesty, and no reason is given in this report. It is possible that it relates to a January ruling by the Alborz Province Review Court, in the case of Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی), that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime” and is not a crime.
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Mohsen Mehrgaani freed in Isfahan

HRANA, April 21, 2019. –

Mohsen Mehrgaani (محسن مهرگانی) was released from Isfahan prison on April 20. This is a conditional early release. He has served one third of his sentence, beginning on January 5, 2019. Alhough his sentence was 20 months, the three months he spent under interrogation and in prison between his arrest on January 24, 2017, and his release on bail in late April or early May, 2017, have been taken into account, giving a total of over six months served.
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Saeed Nasseri bailed in Tehran

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

Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری), who was arrested in Tehran on March 11, was released on bail on April 18. Bail was set at 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ). He was arrested after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother Hamid (حمید ناصری), arrested on the same day, and of his wife Afsaneh Emami-Nasseri ((افسانه امامی(ناصری), arrested 40 days earlier. She has since been released, also on bail of 500 million tumans, but Hamid Nasseri remains in prison.
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Dhabihullah Ra’ufi begins internal exile; Parvaneh Rahmani acquitted

HRANA, April 15, 2019. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 70-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, has set out from his home to serve his sentence of one year in internal exile in Minab, a town in Hormozgan Province which is 1700 kilometers from his home. He was also sentenced to one year in prison, but after serving just over four months of this sentence he was freed on March 12, under a prison amnesty marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran. Last week he received a summons to appear at a court in Minab.

He was charged with “propaganda against the regime,” which apparently related to follow-up actions he took following the destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. His wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی) was also sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, but (contrary to my previous report) this sentence was nullified by the Review Court on September 3, 2018.

Mr. Ra’ufi was previously arrested in 2009, and sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime, followed by 6 months in exile in Tuyserkan. He also served his six-month prison term in Tuyserkan. And in June, 2011, the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj conducted mass interrogations of the Bahais there, seeking information on how Sanandaj’s Bahai community is managed. One of those questioned was Dhabihullah Ra’ufi.
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Mo’in Muhammadi bailed in Yazd

HRANA, April 11, 2019. –

Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی), a Bahai living in Yazd, was released on bail on April 10. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9 this year. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and has apparently remained in detention since his trial — presumably because it has taken this long to arrange bail. Bahais sentenced to prison in Iran often wait some years before there is a place for them in prison. Mr. Muhammadi has been involved in environmental issues, but the charges against him have not been specified.
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Sentences reduced for three Bahai men in Shiraz

Voice of America (Persian), April 8, 2019. –

The Provincial Review Court has reduced the one-year sentences of Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejman Mehryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Kurush Ruhaani (کوروش روحانی). Mr. Habibi and Mr. Ruhaani have been sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” while Mr Merhyaari has been sentenced to three months and one day, on the same charge. They were informed of the reduced sentences on April 7.
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Six Bahai businesses reopen in Khorramshahr

HRANA, April 6, 2019. –

On November 15, 2018, the businesses of at least six Baha’i citizens of Khorramshahr were sealed by the order of the judicial authorities. In the five months since then, they have been allowed to reopen, one by one. On April 6, the sewing machine shop of Kaambiz Aazaadi (کامبیز آزادی) reopened. In late March and early April the optician’s shops of Hossein-Ali Habibi (حسینعلی حبیبی)and Behnaam Habibi (بهنام حبیبی)and the engine repair shop of Kouroush Jaaberi (کوروش جابری) reopened. The optician’s shops of Behrouz Habibi (بهروز حبیبی), and Bahaador Ahmadi (بهادر احمدی) were apparently allowed to reopen in early January, although this was not reported at the time.

The sealing of businesses was ordered in response to the owners having closed their businesses for a day in observance of a Bahai holy day. By law, as cited in Item B of Article 28 of the Commercial Union Law, citizens are allowed to close their business up to 15 days a year without providing authorities any reason or informing the Association for their industry. However, this legal provision is not extended to cover Bahais, and authorities routinely penalize Bahai business owners for observance of their Holy Days, by sealing their businesses.
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Mo’in Muhammadi sentenced to 6 years, in Yazd

HRANA, March 31, 2019. –

Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی), a Bahai living in Yazd, has been sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9 this year. The agents then searched his father’s home and seized a laptop, books and a mobile phone. He has been involved in environmental issues, but the charges against him have not been specified.
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Zhinous Sobhani arrested in Tehran

HRANA, March 31, 2019. –

Zhinous Sobhani ( ژینوس سبحانی ), a Bahai human rights activist who has been arrested and sentenced previously, was arrested at her home in Tehran on March 31. Security agents searched her home and seized a laptop and telephone. The reasons for her arrest and the place of detention is not known. Ms. Sobhani, a former secretary of the Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights, and a member of the Organisation for Mine Clearance, was arrested on January 15, 2000, and bailed on March 11 of that year. She was arrested again in January, 2010. On October 13, 2010 she was sentenced to two years in prison. It is possible that her arrest yesterday was to begin serving her sentence — but the usual procedure is to issue a summons, in person or via the bail agent.
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22 Baha’is began New Year in Prison

Iran Press Watch, March 28, 2019. –

The last month of the Persian year 1397 (corresponding to 2018-2019 in the Gregorian calendar) was an eventful month for Baha’i prisoners. On one hand, some of them were released; on the other hand, trials, indictments, arrests and searches of their homes continued for these citizens in various cities in Iran.

On February 11th, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, 17 prisoners who had less than a year remaining of their sentences were pardoned and released in Shiraz, Mashhad, Ghaemshahr, Isfahan, Sanandaj and Yazd.

Pouya Tebyaaniaan (پویا تبیانیان), one of the prisoners, was released from prison in Semnan, upon the completion of his seven-year sentence. Shayda Qodousi (شیدا قدوسی), a Baha’i prisoner in Gorgan, who had been sentenced to five years in prison, after serving one-third of her sentence was released on probation in the last days of the Persian year (which ended March 20). Maryam Ghaffaarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش) and Atosa Ahmaada’i (آتسا احمدائی) were also released from Evin prison, after serving respectively 6 months and 45 days of temporary detention.

As reported by Iranwire, on March 11 security agents in Tehran arrested two Baha’i brothers, Hamid Nasseri (حمید ناصری) and Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری). Hamid Nasseri was arrested on the street in front of his business, and Saeed after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother Hamid and of his wife Afsaneh Emami-Nasseri ((افسانه امامی(ناصری). At the time of Saeed’s arrest, 40 days had passed since the arrest of his wife, Afsaneh Emami. She was released on bail in the final days of the year, but Saeed and Hamid Nasseri still remain in detention.

The sentence against Ghazaaleh Baaqeri Taari (غزاله باقری طاری), a Baha’i from Tehran, who was tried in December 2018, was issued in February of this year. She has been sentenced to five years in prison for the crime of “activities against national security because of membership in the Baha’i administration”. She was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in September 2017, during a religious gathering at her home, and was released on bail three weeks later.

Kaaviz Nouzdahi (کاویز نوزدهی) is another Baha’i whose sentence was announced in February. A source with knowledge of the case told Iranwire: “The court hearing for Kaaviz Nouzdahi was held in late December 2018 in Branch 4 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, presided over by Judge Mansouri ( قاضی منصوری). However on the day of the hearing the judge was not present, and the hearing was conducted by the court counselor, Mr. Farhikhteh (آقای “فرهیخته). The charges against Mr. Nouzdahi were “cooperating with hostile foreign governments” and “membership in an anti-regime organization”. The judge did not permit the defendant’s attorney to be present in court or review the case file. Their excuse was that the attorney named by Mr. Nouzdahi was not on the judiciary’s list of approved attorneys, and the court hearing was conducted without the attorney present. Article 48 of the New Penal Code states that in crimes against domestic or international security as well as organized crime, in the preliminary investigation phase the parties in the case must select their attorney or attorneys from among those approved by the head of the judicial branch.

According to the verdict issued, Kaaviz Nouzdahi was acquitted of the charge of cooperation with foreign governments, and was convicted for the charge of membership in an anti-regime organization (i.e., membership in the Baha’i administration), and sentenced to four years in prison.

Another Baha’i citizen, Neda Mokhtaari (ندا مختاری), was also sentenced to four years in prison by the verdict of Branch 5 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad presided over by Judge Mazloumi ( قاضی مظلومی) for the crime of “teaching the Baha’i Faith”.

Twenty two Baha’i citizens began Naw-Ruz (the Persian New Year) 1398 on March 21, 2019, away from their homes and families in Iranian prisons. They were sentenced in Iranian courts to a total of 105 years of imprisonment. The verdicts against these Baha’is were issued based on articles 498, 499 and 500 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Article 498 of the code states: “Any person with any ideology who forms or leads a group, society or sub-group of more than two people, under any name or title, domestically or abroad, with the goal of disrupting national security, who is not considered a combatant, shall be sentenced to prison for two to ten years.”

According to article 499 of this law: “Any person holding a membership in one of the groups, societies or sub-groups mentioned in article 498 shall be sentenced to three months to five years in prison, unless it is proven that they were unaware of its goals.”

Article 500 also states: “Any person engaged in any way in propaganda activities against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or in favor of anti-regime groups and organizations, shall be sentenced to three months to one year in prison.”

The punishment for teaching the Baha’i Faith, membership and activity in this religious community is determined based on these articles of the law.

In Evin prison, four instructors of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) are currently serving sentences for the crime of teaching youth who were deprived of a university education; Hassan Momtaaz (حسن ممتاز), Peymaan Kooshkbaghi (پیمان کوشکباغی), and Negin Qedamiaan (نگین قدمیان), each with five year prison sentences, and Azita Rafizaadeh (آزیتا رفیع زاده) with a four year prison sentence, are currently in Evin prison. Peyman Kooshkbaghi and his wife Azita Rafizadeh are among the incarcerated married couples who spent the final days of the year away from each other and from their young child.

Adel Naimi (عادل نعیمی) with an 11-year sentence, Farhaad Fahandej (فرهاد فهندژ) with a 10 year sentence, Vaahed Kholousi (واحد خلوصی) with a 5 year sentence, and Afshin Seyyed Ahmad (افشین سید احمد) with a 3 year sentence, are the four Bahai prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. Shahnaam Jazbaani (شهنام جذبانی) is the only Baha’i prisoner in Gonbad-e-Kavoos in Golestan province. He has been sentenced to 5 years in prison.

Isfahan, with 13 Baha’i prisoners, has the highest number of Baha’i prisoners in Iran. Nine of these prisoners were transferred to the Isfahan prison from the town of Baharestan. Of the nine, Sepideh Rouhaani (سپیده روحانی), Bahaareh Zaini (بهاره زینی), Fouzjaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی), each with a 3 year sentence, are incarcerated in Dowlatabad prison in Isfahan. Anousheh Raeineh (انوش راینه), Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Milaad Daavardaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Ali Saani (علی ثانی), each with a six year sentence, and Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), with a 3 year sentence, are the other six prisoners from Baharestan who have been transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan to serve their sentences.

In addition, Sohraab Taqipour (سهراب نقی پور), with a 5 year sentence, and Manouchehr Rahmaani (منوچهر رحمانی), Mohsen Mehregani (محسن مهرگانی) and Farzaad Homaayouni (فرزاد همایونی), each with a 20 month sentence, are four Baha’is from Isfahan who began the Persian New Year in that city’s central prison.
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Publication: 175 Years of Persecution

Editorial, March 24, 2019. –

One World publisher has announced a well-documented and gripping account of the persecution of the Babi and Baha’i communities in Iran from its origin to the present time, by my dear friend Fereydun Vahman, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. From the genocidal pogroms of the Qajar era, to the improved, but precarious situation during the Pahlavi years, and the re-emergence of the severe persecutions since the 1979 revolution in Iran, the Bahai community has been consistently disparaged, as foreign spies, devil-worshippers and enemies of Iran and Islam. The book also shows the resilience of the Baha’i community in the face of hatred and violence. Available as a hard cover and e-book, see https://oneworld-publications.com/175-years-of-persecution-hb.html.

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Sheida Qoddusi granted conditional release in Gorgan

HRANA, March 18, 2019. –

Sheida Qoddusi (شیدا قدوسی), who began her 5-year sentence in Gorgan prison on June 13, 2017, has been granted conditional release after serving one third of that sentence. She was one of 14 Bahais arrested in Gorgan in mid-October, 2012. A number of other Bahais were arrested at the same time elsewhere in Golestan Province. They were tried in their absence by Judge Qanbari (قاضی قنبری). Mrs Qoddusi was initially sentenced to 11 years in prison, reduced to five years by the review court. She has two children. She was granted a ten-day furlough from June 27, 2018.
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Maryam Ghafarmanesh bailed from Evin Prison

HRANA, March 17, 2019. –

Maryam Ghafarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش) was released on bail from Evin Prison on March 17, after six months of detention without trial. She was one of five Bahais arrested at a meeting for environmental education in Karaj on September 16, 2018. About 20 hours after her arrest, Mrs. Ghafarmanesh reported in a telephone conversation that her bail had been set at 300 million tumans (61,000 euros; $US 71,000), but she was not released at that time. She was kept under interrogation and in solitary confinement for two months, in the section of the prison run by the Ministry of Information, and was transferred to the general women’s block on November 14, 2018.
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Afsaaneh Emaami bailed, her husband Sa`id Naaseri arrested, in Tehran

HRANA, March 14, 2018.

Sa`id Naaseri (سعید ناصری) was arrested in Tehran at about 11 a.m. on March 11, after reporting to the Public Prosecutor’s office at Evin Prison. He was allowed a telephone call to tell family that he had been arrested. He had gone to Evin Prison to inquire about his wife, Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی), who was arrested on February 2, and also about his brother, Hamid Naasseri (حمید ناصری), who had been arrested a few hours previously, on the morning of March 11.

A separate report indicates that Afsaaneh Emaami was released on bail on March 16. Bail was set at 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros ; $US 120,000 [or one tenth as much, if the bail was actually in Rials]). Curiously, she was not released from the prison gates, where her family had gone to meet her: rather the family were first sent away, and then she was dropped at a metro station. [The authorities presumably sought to prevent the family photograph in front of the prison gates which is almost customary when Bahai prisoners are released. ~Sen]
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Dhabihullah Ra’ufi released in Sanandaj

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, March 13, 2019. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 70-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, was released from prison on March 12. He has served just over four months of a one year sentence, but has been freed under a prison amnesty marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime,” and his one-year sentence was to be followed by one year in internal exile in Minab, 1700 kilometers from his home. The sentence apparently related to follow-up actions he took following the destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. His wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی) has also been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, but has not yet begun her sentence (according to my partial information).
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One arrest in Tehran

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, March 11, 2019. –

On the morning of March 11, security forces arrested Hamid Naasari (حمید ناصری), a Bahai living in Tehran at his work. It is assumed that he has been taken to Evin Prison.
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Ruhiyyeh Narimaan released in Shiraz: a reason for hope?

HRANA, March 10, 2019, with editorial commentary. –

Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) was provisionally released from prison in Shiraz on March 9. Her sentence has been put in abeyance pending a sitting of the Provincial Review Court. Mrs. Narimaan and her husband Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so she has served only five months of her 30-month sentence. Her husband was released in early February, benefiting from an amnesty for some prisoners of conscience marking the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution.

Mrs. Nariman’s release is not related to the amnesty, and the re-review of a sentence already determined by the Review Court is highly unusual. I speculate — optimistically — that her release relates to a January ruling by the Alborz Province Review Court, in the case of Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی), that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime.” Mrs. Enayati was acquitted and released. Part of the verdict issued by Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Review Court, headed by Judge Ali Badri (قاضی علی بدری), states: “The propagation of the Bahaism does not constitute propaganda against the regime. Basically, in the law, belief in Bahai Faith has not been criminalized so as to be able to prosecute or punish anyone under this charge…” Another part of the proceedings states: “Basically religious propagation, which is not considered to be against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its sovereignty, is not considered a crime; [considering it a crime] is contrary to the Constitutional rights of citizenship.”
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Atosa Ahmadaa’i bailed in Tehran

HRANA, March 6, 2019. –

Atosa Ahmadaa’i Rafsanjaani ( آتسا احمدآئی رفسنجانی) was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran on March 6. She was arrested in a raid on her home in Tehran on January 20, 2019, has held incommunicado in Evin prison for 38 days before being transferred to a general section of the prison. She was allowed contact with her family on March 2. She has been charged with “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against the security of the country.”
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Puya Tabayaniyan released early in Semnan

HRANA, March 2, 2019. –

Mr. Puya Tabayaniyan (پویا تبیانیان), a Bahai who began as sentence of seven years in the Central Prison of Semnan on December 22, 2012, has been released unexpectedly after six years and two months. While prisoners in Iran generally are granted early release for good behaviour, this provision does not usually apply to Bahais. He was granted prison furlough for a few days, and when he returned to prison on March 2, he was told that he was free to go.

Mr. Tabayaniyan was first arrested on March 8, 2009 and held in solitary confinement for two months, during which he was interrogated by Judge Dowlat-Khah (قاضی دولت خواه). He was sentenced to two years in prison, and was granted a conditional release on April 29, 2010, with a six-month suspended sentence.

Then he was one of four Bahais who were arrested in Semnan on March 12, 2011. He was released on bail on April 3, and re-arrested on June 11. This was apparently for further interrogation, as reports from that time indicate that he released ten days later, on June 21, 2011. He was charged with undermining national security and propaganda against the regime, and sentenced to six and a half years in prison by Judge `Eyn al-Kamaal (قاضی عین الکمال). The six month suspended sentence was added to this.

In January, 2016, another prisoner released from the Central Prison of Semnan reported that Mr. Tabayaniyan was in solitary confinement in the prison. The reason and duration of this are not reported.
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Hassan Momtaaz transferred, from Shiraz to Evin Prison

HRANA, March 1, 2019. –

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestani (حسن ممتاز سروستانی), serving a five-year sentence in Adel Abaad prison in Shiraz, was transferred to Evin prison in Tehran on February 26. It appears that this is so that he can receive medical treatment outside prison. Mr. Sarvestani was a teacher of Persian literature for the Bahai Open University (BIHE). He was first arrested in 2011, and was one of ten Bahais associated with the BIHE who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013. His sentence was handed down by Judge Maqiseh (قاضی مقیسه) on February 25, 2014, and confirmed by the review court. He was arrested to begin serving his sentence in Shiraz on November 15, 2017, although this HRANA report says he actually began his sentence on December 28, 2017.
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Bahai scholar and translator Faruq Izadinia describes his own trial

Iran Press Watch, February 28, 2019. –

The court hearing for the charges against Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), a scholar, translator and Bahai citizen of Tehran, was held last week in the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. The author, who is again free on bail, describes the process of his prosecution and last week’s court hearing in an open letter which Iran Press Watch has translated. He was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12, 2017. He has also been arrested previously for his religious beliefs, 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. The full report and his description of his trial is on Iran Press Watch.
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Bahai woman sentenced to five years for celebrating prophet’s birth

HRANA, February 27, 2019. –

Ghazaaleh Baaqeri-Taari (غزاله باقری طاری), a Bahai from Tehran whose 2017 arrest was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, was informed this week that she has been sentenced to five years in prison. She was arrested on October 21, 2017, during a devotional meeting in her home to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Bahai religion who was born in Tehran in 1817. The security agents who raided her home and seized Bahai books and other personal effects demanded that all her guests should sign a pledge that they would not participate in Bahai activities. Over three weeks later, she was released on bail of 200 million tumans (41,000 euros ; $US 47,000). Her trial was held in a Revolutionary Court in Tehran on December 18, 2018. She was charged with “acting against national security through membership and administration of Bahai activities.”
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Atosa Ahmadaa’i moved from solitary confinement

HRANA, February 28, 2019. –

Atosa Ahmadaa’i Rafsanjani ( آتسا احمدآئی رفسنجانی), who was arrested in a raid on her home in Tehran on January 20, 2019, has been held incommunicado in Evin prison for 38 days. Today her family had the first news of her: she has been transferred from solitary confinement in a section of Evin Prison run by the Judiciary’s intelligence agency to a general section of the same prison. She has been denied access to her family since the time of her arrest, and Evin prison authorities refused to accept any personal belongings, health, money or clothing for her. Her family have now been told that they will be able to visit her from March 2. Her first name was previously reported on this blog as Atusa (آتوسا). There are no indications yet of the charges or reason for her arrest.
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Four Bahai prisoners released in Mashhad (updated to four), no releases in Tehran

HRANA, February 19, 2019. –

Three Bahai women, Dori Amri (دری امری), Saaqi Fedaa’i (ساقی فدایی) and her mother Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) have been granted early release from prison in Mashhad. A few hours later, Mr. Shaayaan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی) was also released. The four were arrested in a raid on a Bahai religious meeting in Saqi Feda’i’s home on June 1, 2014. During the raid some religious books were seized. All four were charged with propaganda against the regime and sentenced to one year in prison by Judge Soltani ( قاضی سلطانی) in February 2018, and the sentenced were confirmed by the Review Court, but they did not begin their sentences until November 1 and (in the case of Shaayaan Tafazolli) November 28, 2018.

Thus far, the amnesty has brought freedom to 36 prisoners of conscience in Iran, but has not yet included any of the many prisoners of conscience held in and around Tehran.
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Fataaneh Nabilzaadeh released in Mashhad

HRANA, February 17, 2019. –

On February 16, Fataaneh Nabilzaadeh (فتانه نبیل‌زاده), who began her one-year sentence on July 16, 2018, was released from prison in Mashhad under an amnesty for prisoners of conscience with short sentences. She was sentenced for her association with the Bahai University (BIHE), a distance-learning institute that offers education to Bahais, who are excluded from both state and private tertiary institutions under Iran’s form of apartheid. On August 13, 2013, as part of a series of raids on the BIHE across Iran, security forces raided her home, searched it, and arrested her, along with two students who were taking an exam: her son Peyman Saraf (پیمان صراف) and Dayan Teymouri (دایان تیموری). The two students were bailed three weeks later, but Mrs. Nabilzadeh was held for two months before being released on bail. In January 2018 she was sentenced to one year in prison for her educational activities.
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Two Bahai prisoners in Yazd released in amnesty

HRANA, February 16, 2019. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی) and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), who began their one-year sentences February 2 this year, have been released in an amnesty for prisoners of conscience with confirmed sentences of less than one year. The amnesty marks the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah. It is said that some 50,000 prisoners of conscience in Iran meet the requirement, which indicates how many prisoners of conscience are being held. These two Bahais were initially sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile, but this was reduced to 12 months in prison by the Review Court for Yazd Province. They were among seven Bahais arrested in Yazd in January and February 2017.
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Five Bahais in Shiraz benefit from amnesty

HRANA, February 14, 2019. –

Five Bahais in Shiraz have benefited from amnesties for prisoners of conscience marking February 11, the anniversary of the fall of the Pahlavi Monarchy. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id `Aabadi ( سعید عابدی) and Adib Haqqpazhouh were initially sentenced to one year in prison and one year in internal exile, which the Review Court reduced to six months in prison on December 31, 2018. They had not yet begun their sentences (there is a waiting list for places in the sections of Iran’s jails reserved for prisoners of conscience). They have been advised, via their lawyer, that they will not be required to serve their sentences. As previously reported, Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام), who has served four and a half months of his one-year sentence in Shiraz, has been released under the same amnesty.
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Farzaad Delaaraam released in Shiraz

HRANA, February 14, 2019. –

Among a number of prisoners of conscience granted early release in Iran in recent days is Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام), serving a one-year sentence in Shiraz. Mr. Delaaraam and his wife Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so Mr. Delaaraam has served only four and a half months of his sentence. His early release will be especially welcome since the couple have two children, one being a child, the other a teenager. The early releases of prisoners of conscience in recent days presumably relates to the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
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One Arrest in Manjil, Gilan Province

HRANA, February 6, 2019. –

Ruya Hossein-zaadeh (رویا حسین زاده) was arrested at her home in Manjil, Gilan Province, on February 2, and taken to the Laakaan Prison in Rasht. She was released two days later, on bail of 50 million tumans ( 10,500 euros ; $US 12,000).
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Mehdi Haajati resumes his seat on Shiraz city council

HRANA, February 3, 2019.

Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی) a Shiraz city Councillor, who made efforts on behalf of unfairly arrested Bahais and was himself arrested and — once bailed ten days later — banned from his seat on the city council, has now been allowed to resume his seat. The Councillor made efforts for the release of Navid Bazmaandegaan and Bahaareh Qaaderi, and was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27, 2018, and accused of defending the “false Bahai Faith.” He had twittered that “our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice.” The Public Prosecutor’s office then issued an indefinite ban on his attending meetings of the Council. This ban has now been overturned. On resuming his seat, he said that the case against him would continue and would be decided by the judiciary (that is, not by the Ministry of Intelligence or the Public Prosecutor’s office). Abdel-Rezaaq Mousavi (عبدالرزاق موسوی), the Head of the Legal Commission and Supreme Supervisory Council of the Provinces [a body I have never heard of ~ Sen] has stated that the ban has been overturned. Curiously, the state-sponsored media in Iran have reported the return of Mr. Haajati to the Council, but without mentioning that he was banned for advocating civil rights for Bahais!
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Muhammad-Reza Teyfouri begins one-year sentence in Isfahan

HRANA, Febraury 4, 2019. –

Muhammad-Reza Teyfouri, known as Kasra Teyfouri (محمدرضا (کسری) طیفوری), began a one-year sentence in Isfahan prison on December 28, 2018. Sen’s Daily has not previously reported his arrest in February 2016, release on bail two weeks later, trial and sentencing. He was initially sentenced to five years in prison by the Revolutionary Court, on a charge of “propaganda against the regime by supporting the Bahai Faith” and copying CDs of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s 2012 film ‘The Gardener,’ which has information about the Bahai Faith. The Review Court reduced this to a one-year sentence. Mr. Teyfouri’s business is described as a shop for cultural products.
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New arrest in Tehran

HRANA, February 3, 2019. –

Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی), a Bahai from Tehran, was arrested at her home on the evening of February 2. A source close to Emami said that the agents searched her house thoroughly and confiscated her mobile phone, computer, books, and essays and took her to an undisclosed location.
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Sentenced reduced to 6 months for five Bahais in Shiraz

HRANA, February 2, 2019. –

The Review Court for Fars Province has reduced the sentences of five Bahais, previously sentenced to one year in prison and one year in internal exile, to six months in prison. x
Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id Ebadi ( سعید عابدی) and Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) were charged with propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. They were initially tried in a closed court, in September 2018, and sentenced by the notorious human rights abuser Judge Sayyid Mahmud Sadati (سید محمود ساداتی). Neither the defendants nor their lawyers were informed of that trial. The Review Court sat on December 31, 2018.

Mr. Dana, Mr. Haqqpazhouh, Mr. `Ebadi, and Mrs. Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (یهیه معنویپور) were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. Mr. Mansour and Mr. Sarafraz were arrested on September 1. Mrs. Ma`navipour was released on bail on September 18 and Mr. Dana on September 28, 2014. On October 21, Mr. Sarafraz, `Ebadi, Mansour and Haqqpazhouh were released on bail.
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Student expelled for Bahai beliefs in Kashan

HRANA, February 2, 2018. –

Sepehr Shahidi-Qamsari (سپهر شهیدی قمصری), who was in the fifth semester of a degree in civil engineering at the Sina Institute in Kashan, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. On December 18, 2018, he found that his page on the Institute’s site had been closed, and on following up on that, University officials told him that two weeks early inspectors from the Universities of Isfahan and Kashan had come to the Institute wanting to check the “religion” box in his student file, and had determined that he should be expelled because of his Bahai beliefs, without being given any certificate or statement of the grades he had achieved.
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Mehran Bandi Amirabadi summoned to begin sentence in Yazd

HRANA, February 1, 2019. –

On February 1, security agents went to the workplace of Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی) in Yazd, but did not find him there. He was later informed by telephone that he should present himself to prison to begin his 12-month sentence. Neither he nor his lawyer had been informed that he was due to serve his sentence. Mehran Bandi Amirabadi and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), who were initially sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile, recently had their sentences reduced to 12 months in prison by the Review Court for Yazd Province. They were among seven Bahais arrested in Yazd in January and February 2017.
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Soroush Agaahi released on bail pending trial

HRANA, January 31, 2019. –

Soroush Agaahi (سروش آگاهی) was released on bail from Tehran’s Evin Prison on January 31. Mr. Agaahi was arrested in Andisheh, near Tehran, on November 28. Neda Shabaani (ندا شبانی (بیوک آقایی)) was arrested at the same time, and was also bailed on November 28.
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Neda Shabaani bailed in Andisheh

HRANA, January 28, 2019. –

Neda Shabaani who was arrested in Andisheh, a “new city” development near Tehran and Karaj, on November 28, has been freed on bail of 300 million tumans (62,000 euros ; $US 71,000). Soroush Aagaahi (سروش آگاهی), who was arrested on the same day, is still being detained.
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Farzaad Rouhaani Manshaadi arrested in Yazd

HRANA, January 28, 2019. –

Farzaad Rouhaani Manshaadi (فرزاد روحانی منشادی), a Bahai from Yazd whose one-year sentence was commuted to a 3-year suspended sentence in July 2018, was arrested while taking his son to school on January 28. The arresting agents also searched his house, without a search warrant, and seized some personal effects. He was one of those arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, 2017, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers.
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Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani released on bail

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, January 24, 2019. –

Kimia Mostafavi ( کیمیا مصطفوی) and Kiaana Rezvaani ( کیانا رضوانی) who were arrested in Kerman on Saturday, January 19, have been released on bail.
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Qaemshahr: sentence of Sohayl Haqqdous reduced to 4 months

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, January 23, 2019. –

The Review Court has reduced the sentence of Sohayl Haqqdoust (سهیل حق دوست) to four months. Mr. Haqqdoust, a Bahai from Qaemshahr xx was originally sentenced to 12 months in prison. He was arrested on July 25, 2017, for “media reports about the closure of his business.” The agents were accompanied by officials known as the Ansar Hosseini (انصار حسینی), charged with religious affairs in the Province of Mazandaran. Mr Haqqdoust was released on bail on July 29, 2017. His lawyer, Amir Saalaar Daavudi ( امیر سالار داوودی) has been under interrogation in Evin Prison for the past two months.

In April, 2016, 15 Bahai-run businesses in Qaemshahr were shut down by the authorities because they were closed for the Bahai holy day of the first day of Ridvan. One of these businesses was an optician’s shop belonging to Mr. Haqqdoust. On the morning of November 8, 2016, he was one of five Bahais from Qaemshahr who were arrested at the Mazandaran Provincial Governor’s Office, where Bahais had gathered to seek interaction with public officials regarding the closure of Bahai businesses.
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New arrest in Tehran

HRANA, January 20, 2019. –

On January 20, a team of eight agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, including one woman, raided the home of Atusa Ahmadaa’i Khorrami (آتوسا احمدآئی (خرمی)) in Tehran, where they seized laptops, books and religious items before taking her away. The agents did not tell her family where they were taking her, but said “we will be in touch.” They said she was suspected of activities against national security. Mrs. Ahmadaa’i and her family are at present caring for her elderly father, who has suffered a stroke.
Update: she was taken to Evin Prison in Tehran.
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Three Bahai men in Shiraz sentenced

HRANA, January 21, 2019. –

The Revolutionary Court in Shiraz announced one-year sentences for Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejman Mehryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Kurush Ruhaani (کوروش روحانی), on charges of “propaganda against the regime.” They are at present free on bail. They were among six Bahais arrested at a meeting in a private garden (belonging to Kurush Ruhaani) on August 16, 2018. Another six Bahais were arrested in Shiraz three weeks earlier, on September 15.

The sentencing judge was Judge Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی محمود ساداتی), who in 2016 gave a five-year sentence to Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتا فهندژسعدی), and in October 2017 gave five year sentences to Ruhiyyeh Nariman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), and in September 2018 gave five Bahais sentences of one year in prison and one year in exile, on charges of propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. 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.
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Two arrests in Kerman

HRANA (Facebook), January 20, 2019. –

Two Bahai women, Kimia Mostafavi ( کیمیا مصطفوی) and Kiaana Rezvaani ( کیانا رضوانی) from Kerman, were arrested on Saturday, January 19, by security forces. No information is available on their fate and whereabouts. Kiaana Rezvaani had been excluded from tertiary education because of her religious beliefs. After participating in the National University Entrance Exam, her file was marked “file incomplete” on the National Organization for Educational Testing website. This tag is used to prevent Bahais enrolling in colleges and universities.
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Sentences reduced for two Bahais in Yazd

Iran Press Watch, January 17, 2018. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی) and Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), both sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile, have had their sentences reduced to 12 months in prison by the Review Court for Yazd Province. They had in fact begun their 18-month sentences, in August 2018, but were released when the legality of their sentences was questioned.

A source close to the accused said: “Considering the fact that the maximum sentence for the charge of “propaganda against the Regime” is one year, these citizens had previously been sentenced to one and a half times that, meaning eighteen months in prison, owing to the fact that the charge had been made more than once. In addition to this, one year of internal exile to the cities of Divandarreh and Saravan had been added to their sentences as supplementary punishment. Since the prior charge had been made in August of 2012 and it has been subjected to the statute of limitation, according to Article 137 of the Islamic Penal Code, the law of a repeated offence should not be applicable. Consequently, after an appeal to the Supreme Court and the transfer of the case to an equal branch, the verdict was reduced to one year of prison for each of these citizens. The supplementary punishment internal exile was also overturned.”

They were among seven Bahais arrested in Yazd in January and February 2017: one was exonerated and three were given suspended sentences, while Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی) was released on bail in March 2017, and I have no further information on her case.
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Mariya Kothari acquitted by Review Court

HRANA, January 13, 2019. –

The Review Court for Kurdistan Province has acquitted Dr. Mariya Kothari (ماریا کوثری), a Bahai from Qorveh, who had been sentenced to one year in prison, a fine of five million [tumans], and two years in internal exile in the town of Torbat Heydarieh. Mrs. Kothari was accused of teaching the Bahai Faith. The court said that there was no evidence to justify the accusation. Dr, Kothari was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 4, 2016. She has been free on bail since October 18, 2016. After her arrest in Qorveh she was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities first in Qorveh and then in Sanandaj. Mrs. Kothari’s husband and son do not have Iranian nationality and have been required to leave Iran. Her husband lives in Ecuador and her son in Australia.
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Bahai-run business closed down in Birjand

Iran Press Watch, January 15, 2019. –

On the morning of Saturday, January 5, 2019, the business of Farshid Dimi (فرشید دیمی), a Bahai from Birjand, was sealed by order of judiciary officials. A source close to Mr. Dimi told HRANA, “Farshid Dimi’s store, where he sells computer accessories, has been in business for 20 years. Mr. Dimi’s business license renewal was denied by by authorities, who provided no specific reason. Mr. Dimi has paid his union dues [i.e., to the government-mandated industrial sector organisation] and his taxes throughout his years of operation. His business has been sealed by order of the judicial officials, and so far the only response from that body has been that the order has been issued by the high officials and nothing can be done by us.”
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Three Bahai students expelled at end of semester

HRANA, January 10, 2019. –

On January 9, Badi Safaajou (بدیع صفاجو), a Bahai from Karaj who was in his seventh semester of a degree in chemical engineering at the Azad University, was expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He was called out while sitting one of the term examinations and told of his expulsion. The head of his department told him this was because he was a Bahai. He had achieved an average grade of 19.7.

In a separate report, HRANA notes the expulsion of Shirin Beninezhaad (شیرین بنی نژاد), who was in the fifth semester of a course in applied computer science at the Sama College branch of the Azad University, in Andisheh New Town (between Karaj and Tehran). On January 9, she was summoned to the University and told that she had been expelled one month earlier. At that point she had completed the classes for the course and one of the examinations. She had another three examinations to sit in order to complete her degree. The head of the College told her and her family that they (the University authorities) had no role in her expulsion, and she should take any questions to the Ministry of Intelligence.

Shaayaan Ma`navi (شایان معنوی), a Bahai student in the third semester of a degree in civil engineering at the Qods City campus of the Azad University was also expelled recently. On December 17, 2018, he found his access to the University web site was blocked, and on January 10, after numerous enquiries, he was told he had been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs.
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Interrogation of 32 Baha’is by Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj

Iran Press Watch, January 12, 2019. –

During last two weeks, at least 32 Bahais have been were summoned and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj. They were attending a lecture by another Bahai, Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی) who was visiting from Tehran. His presentation was interrupted when he was interrogated in class by security forces. An earlier report said that this gathering, on May 11, 2018, was at Baghestan or Fardis, both smaller towns near Karaj. He was released on August 11, 2018.

HRANA obtained the names of these people: Saied Vojdani, Tahereh Pashaie, Radm’an Forughi, Sheida Motlaq, Traneh Badie, Sepeher Furuhari, Masood Zakerian, Badiullah Tashakor, Farinaz Khoshfetrat, Tarannom Hashemi, Kambiz Safaie, Sarmad Sadeghian, Nahid Farhangi, Hasti Mandegari, Nasim Zabihi, Ruhhiyeh Anvari, Shoeleh Emamverdi, Shirin Khollas, Furutan Bayai, Armin Rowhani, Aydin Rowhani, Nazanin Sharifi, Nima Sharifi, Ramtin Monzavi, Parnian Badie, Mahsan Mokhtari, Arman Poormoradian, Mahmood Feshami, Samieh Ehsani, Pooya Eslami, Delkash Bebahani.
[سعید وجدانی، طاهره پاشائی، رادمان فروغی، شیدا مطلق، ترانه بدیعی، سپهر فروهری، مسعود ذاکریان، بدیع الله تشکر، پروین تشکر، فریناز خوش فطرت، ترنم هاشمی، کامبیز صفائی، سرمد صادقیان، ناهید فرهنگی، هستی ماندگاری، نسیم ذبیحی، روحیه انوری، شعله اماموردی، شیرین خلص، فروتن بیانی، آرمین روحانی، آیدین روحانی، نازنین شریفی، نیما شریفی، رامتین منزوی، پرنیان بدیعی ، مهسان مختاری، آرمان پورمرادیان، محمود فشامی، سمیعه احسانی، پویا اسلامی، دلکش بهبهانی]

A close source to these Bahais confirmed the above news and informed the HRANA reporter: “ When the security forces came to arrest Mehrdad Heyrani, all these citizens were attending his class. In addition, they were subsequently interrogated, and their mobile phones were confiscated.”

Since December 23, 2018, every week on Monday and Tuesday these individuals have been summoned and interrogated in the Office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Karaj.”

The same source continued: “Security agents, after completing their interrogation, returned the mobile phones and informed them that the finalised report of their individual cases would be sent to the judiciary.

Mehrdad Heyrani now resides in Tehran; on 11 May 2018 he was arrested by security forces and imprisoned in Evin Prison. After spending three months of incarceration, on 11 August 2018, he was freed on bail of approximately US $15,000.00.
~~~~~~~~~

Provincial review court rules “teaching the Bahai Faith” is not a crime

Iran Press Watch, January 13, 2019. –

Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Review Court has dismissed the charges brought against Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی). The court found that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime.” [Some hundreds of Iran’s Bahai population have served many years in prison on the suppositions that having a Bahai book or image in one’s home is equivalent to propaganda against the regime. ~ Sen] Ms. Tebyanian,
a Bahai resident of Karaj in Alborz Province, was arrested by security officers on March 16, 2017. Six security officers entered her home with a warrant, and after searching it and confiscating her personal property, including religious and non-religious books; laptops and so forth, arrested her. In August 2018, a lower court sentenced her to 7 months imprisonment for propaganda against the regime. Her sentencing was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

Part of the verdict issued by Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Review Court, headed by Judge Ali Badri (قاضی علی بدری), states: “The propagation of the Bahaism does not constitute propaganda against the regime. Basically, in the law, belief in Bahai Faith has not been criminalized so as to be able to prosecute or punish anyone under this charge…”

Another part of the proceedings states: “Basically religious propagation, which is not considered to be against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its sovereignty, is not considered a crime; [considering it a crime] is contrary to the Constitutional rights of citizenship.”
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Bahai student expelled in Shahryar

HRANA, January 7, 2019. –

On January 5, Sama Nazifi (سما نظیفی), a student of architecture at the Shahryar campus of the Azad University, was expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. In the previous year, she had earned a commendation from the University.
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22 Bahai-run businesses to reopen in Urmia, after 18-month struggle

HRANA, January 5, 2019. –

The West Azerbaijan Provincial authorities have given permission for the re-opening to 22 Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), closed by the local authorities 18 months ago. The businesses were closed by local authorities because they closed for business on Bahai Holy Days. There are nine days each year that Bahais take free from work (with logical exceptions). The law in Iran allows any business to shut for up to 15 days each year, without special permission from the authorities, but the Bahais are apparently being denied this normal right, as they are denied many other civil rights. The owners of these businesses pursued numerous channels with various government bodies, but only the local government’s Office of Public Places has responded, saying that they would not be allowed to reopen unless they signed a pledge not to close on the Bahai Holy Days. The owners rejected this as legally invalid and discriminatory. They took a case to the Supreme Administrative Court, which rejected the case without a hearing. The court’s decision was announced on August 16, 2018, one year after the closures. The businesses are largely retail and repair shops
~~~~~~~~~

Four arrests in Isfahan

HRANA, January 5, 2019. –

On January five, security forces arrested four Bahai men in Isfahan. Manuchehr Rahmaani (منوچهر رحمانی), Farzaad Hamaayuni ( فرزاد همایونی) and Sohraab Naqipur (سهراب نقی پور) were arrested early in the morning, and Mohsen Mehrgaani (محسن مهرگانی) some hours later. Their place of detention and the reasons for the arrests are not known.

It is likely that all four were free on bail, due to arrests in 2017. Mr. Mehrgaani and Mr. Rahmaani were previously arrested on January 24, 2017, and I have reported that Mr. Mehrgaani was freed on bail on May 16 that year. Mr. Hamaayuni and Sohraab Naqipur were among five Bahais arrested in Isfahan on March 28, 2017: their release on bail and that of Mr. Rahmaani has not been reported here, but if they had not been bailed their long detention would have been reported.
~~~~~~~~~

`Ali Ahmadi bailed in Qaemshahr

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, January 2, 2019. –

Mr. `Ali Ahmadi (علی احمدی), a Bahai from Qaemshahr, was freed on bail on January 2, after posting bail of 150 million tumans (31,000 euros ; $US 35,000). He was arrested on November 20, 2018, by agents who insulting his religious beliefs and calling him “unclean” and “Bahai dog.” They also seized some religious books mobile phone and computer. He is charged with “propaganda against the regime.” This is the fifth time he has been arrested in the past ten years: On the first occasion he was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and on the second occasion he was acquitted. In 2011 he was arrested with two others and charged with participation in Bahai activities.
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Sentences confirmed for eight Bahais from Baharestan

Iran International, January 2, 2019. –

The Review Court for Isfahan Province has confirmed six-year sentences of Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), Milaad Daavardaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhaang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Anush Raayneh (انوش راینه) and four-year sentences for Bahaareh Dhini-Sobhaaniaan (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی) and Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) have been given four-year sentences. A ninth Bahai sentenced in the same case, `Ali Thani (علی ثانی), received a five year sentence (plus one year concurrently on another charge), but he is not mentioned in this announcement from the Review Court. The nine Bahais were arrested Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence.
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Six Bahais in Sistan and Baluchistan sentenced to 6 months, not 3 years

Radio Farhang, January 1, 2019. –

The court of review for the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan has reduced the 3-year prison sentences for six Bahais to six months each. They were initially charged with acting against national security through membership of an illegal organisation, but this has been changed to “propaganda against the regime.” They are (right to left in the photo): Bahaadar Kaamju (بهادر کامجو) from Chabahar (whose optician’s shop was closed in January 2018, Manouchihr Barqi (منوچهر بارقی) from Chabahar, Fahimeyyeh As-haq Nurabadi (فهیمه اسحاق نور آبادی) from Chabahar, whose name is reported as Fahemiyyeh As-haqi (فهمیه اسحاقی), Bijan Eslami-Mahdiabadi (بیژن اسلامی مهدی آبادی) of Khash, Ali Anvari (علی انوری) from Iranshahr and Houshang Mokhtari (هوشنگ مختاری) from Saravan.

July 15, 2019

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi acquitted again in Shiraz


HRANA, July 14, 2019. –

The Review Court for Fars Province has again acquitted Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, who had been sentenced last December to 11 years in prison by a Revolutionary Court, in a closed session.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. She was expelled from the Shiraz Payam Noor University in 2012, for her religious beliefs. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz, and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence. The Ministry of Intelligence was not satisfied, and renewed the charges, obtaining an eleven-year sentence from another revolutionary court 2 in Shiraz. This has now been overturned.

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

May 10, 2019

2018 07 to 12

Filed under: — Sen @ 19:32

Graduate denied his diploma

HRANA, December 23, 2018. –

Three months ago, Behrouz Farzandi (بهروز فرزندی), a Bahai from Shiraz, completed a graduate degree in business studies at the Payam-e Nour university, but has not been issued his diploma because of his religious beliefs. Mr. Farzandi is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and spent two years in a prisoner of war camp. He has a 25% disability because of his war injuries. The University has claimed that it has lost his file, but it the “security office” (an on-campus branch of the Ministry of Intelligence) that is handling the case. He has had contact with the security office and the head of security has told him “we will call you,” but after three months he is still in limbo. He has completed all the degree requirements: he needs only a single signature from a university official. During his studies he was harassed several times, with diverse excuses, summoned to the security office and threatened with expulsion. His Bahai identity must have been known to the security office when he enrolled, since in August 2014 his family was in the national news when the administration at the government-run Martyr Khonsari secondary school in Shiraz refused to enrol his children, because the family are Bahais. This was in contravention of explicit legislation regarding civil rights, the right to education and the ban on investigating people’s religious beliefs. Moreover, Mr. Ardekani provided a copy of an official letter stating that Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa stating the Bahai ex-prisoners of war and disabled veterans are entitled to the rights of other veterans and ex-POWs.
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Afif Na`imi is finally free

Editorial, December 21, 2018.

Numerous reports and photographs from the Bahais in the Tehran region attest that Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj at the end of a ten-year sentence. He is the last of the Yaran to be released, because during his sentence he was granted two medical furloughs of several months, and had several periods of hospitalisation. He suffers serious heart problems, blood clots, lymph node problems and acute swelling of the throat. On several occasions in recent years, he has been taken from prison for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. His health problems are described as “severe,” and the prison’s Medical Examiner determined that he was not fit for prison. His sentence was due to be fully served (i.e., without the usual early release provisions) on February 27, 2018, but the authorities decided he should serve another 10 months, apparently because his sentence was suspended on two occasions.

Background
The seven ‘Yaran’ served as national facilitators assisting the Bahais of Iran in their dealings with government organs until their arrest and imprisonment. They were appointed following the disappearance and execution of the elected leadership of the Bahais in Iran in 1980, and again in 1981. The elected leaders in many cities were also executed at that time, notably in Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd and Hamadan, where a total of 33 members of the local Bahai “Assemblies” were executed, in addition to the 18 members of two successive national “Assemblies” and two appointed “assistants.” In August 1983, the government declared the elected assemblies illegal. In accordance with the principle of obedience to government, the Bahais then dissolved all elected bodies. Nevertheless, seven former members of the national Assembly were arrested and executed. (see this Wikipedia article).

National and local facilitators were later appointed, principally because government bodies needed to have a Bahai representative to discuss necessary matters and to transmit government instructions to the Bahais, which were not publicised in the media. One of the most important tasks of the facilitators was to arrange for Bahai burials, as Bahais are often barred from burial in public cemeteries, and Bahai practice requires a coffin, which is not allowed in many public cemeteries.

On 5 March 2008, one of the Yaran, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت) – a schoolteacher and mother of two – was arrested having been summoned to the Iranian city of Mashhad to discuss some matters regarding a Bahai burial. Two months later, on 14 May, the other six Yaran were arrested in raids of their homes. Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi was one of these, the others being Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), Behrouz Tavakkoli (بهروز توکلی), and Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم).

After twenty months in prison without charge, a trial began on January 12, 2010, under Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای). Throughout their long wait for justice, the seven had received barely one hour’s access to their legal counsel, and suffered appalling treatment and deprivations, including psychological and physical hardship. They were charged with spying for Israel, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and the establishment of an illegal administration – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants. According to the defence lawyer, the charge of spying for Israel was based only on the fact that the Bahai properties in Israel are tax exempt. However Bahai properties are tax exempt in almost every country, and Islamic holy sites in Israel are also tax exempt! The trial of the seven accused ended on 14 June 2010 after six brief sessions, characterized by their lack of due legal process.

The initial sentence of 20 years imprisonment for each of the defendants, met with outrage and condemnation throughout the world. One month later, the appeal court revoked three of the charges, including that of spying for Israel, and reduced their sentence to 10-year jail terms. In March 2011, the prisoners were informed that their original 20-year sentences were reinstated. In November, 2015, the 20-year sentences were again reduced to ten years. Despite repeated requests, neither the prisoners nor their attorneys have ever received official copies of the original verdict or the ruling on appeal.
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Seven detainees bailed, in Karaj and Tabriz

Radio Farda, December 18, 2018. –

Mr. Parvan Ma`navi (پروان معنوی) and Mrs. Ilham Salmanzadeh (الهام سلمانزاده) have been released on bail on i Karaj, after two months in detention. Monika Alizaadeh (مونیکا علیزاده), Mrs. Shabnam Issakhaani ( شبنم عیسی‌خانی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه), Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی) and Khayrullah Bakhsi (خیرالله بخشی) have been bailed in Tabriz, after one month in detention.
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Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi sentenced to 11 years

Iran Human Rights Monitor, December 16, 2018.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, has sentenced to 11 years prison. The verdict was issued by the Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. She was expelled from the Shiraz Payam Noor University in 2012, for her religious beliefs. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz, and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence. The Ministry of Intelligence was not satisfied, and has now obtained an eleven-year sentence from another revolutionary court in Shiraz.
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Sepideh Keshaavarz bailed in Tehran

HRANA, December 5, 2018. –

As previously reported, on November 20, the home of Mrs. Sepideh Keshaavarz (سپیده کشاورز) was searched, some books and electronic devices were seized, and she was arrested. She was detained in Evin Prison for interrogation, and was released on bail on December 4. Bail was set at 500 million tumans (105,000 euros ; $US 119,000).
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Ten Bahai-run businesses closed in Omidiyeh

HRANA, December 4, 2018. –

Ten Bahai-run business in Omidiyeh have had their doors sealed under a judicial order because they had closed for a Bahai religious observance. They are:
– an electric motor winding workshop belonging to Sa`id Afshaar (سعید افشار) and Behman Afshaar (بهمن افشار), an electronics business run by Farhad Afshaar (فرهاد افشار), an aluminium workshop run by Mohammad Afshaar (محمد افشار), a washing machine repair shop run by Kamaal Afshaar (کمال افشاری), a motor tuning shop run by `Ali-Reza Afshaar (علیرضا افشار), a waterproofing service run by Shokrollah Azizi (شکرالله عزیزی), a refrigeration parts shop run by Mostafa Ebaadi (مصطفی عبادی), an MDF workshop run by Arsalaan Farzaaneh (ارسلان فرزانه), and a refrigeration service business run by Jahaan Behbehaani (جهان بهبهانی). These closures mean that the total of recent closures in Khuzestan Province has reached 23. As previously reported, on November 15 the businesses of at least six Bahais in Khorramshahr were also sealed by order of the judicial authorities. Two were closed in Abadan, and five (not 10) were closed in Ahvaz, but allowed to reopen two weeks later.
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Shahrzaad Nazifi free on bail

HRANA, December 4, 2018. –

Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known champion and trainer in women’s motocross who was arrested by security forces on November 18, was freed on bail on December 3. She had been detained at Evin Prison in Tehran. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 167,000 ). She was arrested on a motocross track, and taken to her home which was searched for about five hours. The agents seized books, mobile phones and laptops. They had already searched the house once, in a previous raid lasting several hours on November 10. Mrs. Nazifi, her husband Mehrshaad Naraaqi (مهرشاد نراقی) and their daughter Noura Naraaqi (نورا نراقی) are prominent in motocross sport in Iran, and women’s participation in particular.
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Amir Saalaar-Daavudi, human rights lawyer, arrested

Radio Zamaneh, November 29, 2018. –

Amir Saalaar-Daavudi (امیرسالار داوودی), a lawyer who has acted for many prisoners of conscience, was arrested on November 20, and there is still no information about him. Security agents searched his home and workplace and seized both personal effects and his files about legal cases. It is thought that he is being held in a section of Evin Prison that is directly controlled by the judiciary’s Intelligence Arm, which supervises the work of judges and court staff. Many lawyers who act in human rights cases in Iran have themselves been punished for their work.
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Mahvash `Adaalati free bailed in Tehran

HRANA, November 29, 2018. –

Mrs Mahvash `Adaalati-Za’iri (مهوش عدالتی (زائری)) was released on bail in Tehran on November 29. Her home was searched for three hours on November 20, 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.
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Two arrests in Andisheh

HRANA, November 28, 2018. –

On November 28, security forces arrested two Bahais in Andisheh, a “new city” development near Tehran and Karaj. Their names are given as Neda Shabaani (ندا شبانی (بیوک آقایی)) and Soroush Aagaahi (سروش آگاهی). It is not known where they are being detained.
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Five businesses reopen in Ahwaz

HRANA, November 27, 2018. –

On the morning of November 27, officials in Ahwaz allowed the reopening of five Bahai-run businesses that they closed down on November 12. It was previously reported that ten Bahai-run businesses in Ahwaz were closed on November 12, but the current report implies that all the businesses closed that day have now been allowed to reopen, and identifies five by name.
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Shaayaan Tafazoli begins a one-year sentence

HRANA, November 26, 2018. –

Shaayaan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی) began his one-year sentence in Mashhad prison on November 26. He is one of four Bahais from Mashhad who were sentenced to one year in prison by Judge Soltani ( قاضی سلطانی) in February this year. They were arrested in were arrested on July 8, 2014, following a raid on a Bahai religious meeting. The other three detainees in that case are Dori Amri (دری امری), Saaqi Fedaa’i (ساقی فدایی) and her mother Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی). They were charged with propaganda against the regime.
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Ninth Bahai sentenced in Baharestan

HRANA, November 22, 2018. –

Readers may have noticed that a November 23 summary of events in Iran, from the Bahai International Community, refers to nine Bahais being sentenced in Baharestan, while the post on Sen’s Daily mentioned only eight names. HRANA has identified the ninth Bahai as `Ali Thani (علی ثانی), whose arrest and trial were not previously noted on Sen’s Daily. He was sentenced to five years in prison for “participating in illegal Bahai activities” and one year in prison for propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith.
the court documents list him as “a Muslim who has been attracted to the Bahai Faith.” In addition to the six year sentence, he was sentenced to five years [concurrently] on a charge of selling cultural products. He was a seller of cultural products before being arrested. [Presumably, the Court considers that Bahais are banned from selling cultural products, so he should have abandoned his business when he became a Bahai ~ Sen].
~~~~~~~~~

Home raid and summons in Tehran

HRANA, November 22, 2018. –

On November 20, security agents raided the home of Farid Ismaa`ili (فرید اسماعیلی), seizing mobile telephone, laptops and books and images relating to the Bahai Faith. They left a summons requiring him to report to Evin Prison in Tehran.
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One arrest in Qaemshahr

HRANA, November 22, 2018. –

On November 20, Mr. `Ali Ahmadi (علی احمدی) was arrested by seven agents from the security forces and taken to the solitary confinement section of Kashui prison in Sari. It is reported that he will be charged with “propaganda against the regime,” but at the time of the report he had not had any contact with his family. This is the fifth time he has been arrested in the past ten years: On the first occasion he was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and on the second occasion he was acquitted. In 2011 he was arrested with two others and charged with participation in Bahai activities. One report says that he is also known as Cheragh-`Ali (چراغعلی) Ahmadi.
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Two arrests and a summons in Tehran

HRANA, November 21, 2018. –

HRANA is reporting three apparently unrelated cases relating to Bahais in Tehran. The first concerns Mrs Mahvash `Adaalati-Za’iri (مهوش عدالتی (زائری)), whose home was searched for three hours on November 20. The security agents seized some Bahai books and other personal effects, and issued a summons to attend for interrogation, on an unspecified date. Also on November 20, the home of Sepideh Keshaavarz (سپیده کشاورز) was searched, some books and electronic devices were seized, and he was arrested: his whereabouts are unknown. On November 18, security forces arrested Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known sportswoman and trainer in women’s motorcross.
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Three Bahais arrested, bailed in Isfahan

HRANA, November 19, 2018. –

Three Bahais from Isfahan, Farid Amini (فرید امینی), Nasrin Khwaajeh (“نسرین خواجه) and Mozhgaan Khoushhaal (مژگان خوشحال), were arrested along with 15 other persons attending a health class on November 15. They were released on bail on November 19. The other 15 persons arrested were apparently not Bahais. The report does not say anything about them, but they would presumably have been released when the authorities discovered they were not Bahais.
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Eight Bahais sentenced in Baharestan, near Isfahan

HRANA, November 21, 2018. –

Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), Milaad Daavadaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhaang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Anush Raayneh (انوش راینه) have been sentenced to six years in prison for their Bahai beliefs, while Bahaareh Dhini-Sobhaaniaan (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی) and Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) have been given four-year sentences. They were arrested Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. The specific charges against them are not known, and this report does not say which court handed down the sentence (probably the Revolutionary Court in Isfahan ~~Sen).
~~~~~~~~~

Business reclosed in Abadan

Iran Press Watch, November 18, 2018. –

On November 5th, the business of two Bahais in Abadan, Aaraam Aazaadi ( آرام آزادی) and Aarmaan Aazaadi (آرمان آزادی), was shut down and sealed by order of Judiciary Authorities, for the second time this year. This action coincides with important Bahai religious holidays, on which, based on their religious beliefs, Bahais close their place of business. Earlier this year, the business of these two Bahais was sealed for 15 days. A source close to the brothers told HRANA: “These citizens have been running this store for the last 38 years. Intelligence and Security officers seized their place of business and revoked their business license using unsubstantiated excuses.”
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Three more arrests in Tabriz

HRANA, November 20, 2018. –

As previously reported, on November 16, Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه) and Farzaad Bahaardori ( فرزاد بهادری), Bahais living in Tabriz, were arrested by security forces. On November 18, Khayrullah Bakhsi (خیرالله بخشی) and Monika Alizaadeh (مونیکا علیزاده) were likewise arrested. Today, November 20, security agents went to the home of Mrs. Shabnam Issakhaani ( شبنم عیسی‌خانی). Finding her not at home, they searched the house and told her family she should report to the Ministry of Intelligence in the morning. Mrs Issakhaani was one of six Bahais arrested following a raid on the Bahadori home in Tabriz on July 12, 2014, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who seized all the Bahai books and other materials they could find. They were all sentenced to one year in prison, but the Court of Final Review later acquitted all six. Farzaad Bahaardori was another of these six.
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Mitra Zahdi and Farajollah Bengaaleh sentenced to 5 years in prison

HRANA, November 20, 2018. –

The Revolutoionary Court in Ahwaz has sentenced Mrs. Mitra Badrnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی) and Mr. Farajollah Bengaaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله) to five years in jail. Mitra Zahdi was arrested in Ahwaz on March 3 this year, and Farajollah Bengaaleh was arrested on March 28 in Shiraz and later transferred by the Ministry of Intelligence to Ahwaz. On May 14 they were both released on bail of 200 million tumans each (40,000 euros ; $US 47,500). In both cases, their houses were searched at the time of their arrests, and religious items were seized. The sentences are still subject to review.
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Six Bahai-run businesses closed in Khorramshahr

Iran Press Watch, November 19. 2018. –

By the close of business on Thursday, November 15, 2018, the businesses of at least six Baha’i citizens of Khorramshahr were also sealed by the order of the judicial authorities. The business owners are identified by HRANA as the optician’s shops of Behrouz Habibi (بهروز حبیبی), Hossein-Ali Habibi (حسینعلی حبیبی), Behnaam Habibi (بهنام حبیبی) and Bahaador Ahmadi (بهادر احمدی); the sewing machine shop of Kaambiz Aazaadi (کامبیز آزادی), and the engine repair shop of Kouroush Jaaberi (کوروش جابری). This is in addition to the ten closures in Ahwaz that were previously reported. The sealing of businesses was ordered in response to the owners having closed their businesses for a day in observance of a Bahai holy day. By law, as cited in Item B of Article 28 of the Commercial Union Law, citizens are allowed to close their business up to 15 days a year without providing authorities any reason or informing the Union. However, this law is not extended to Bahai citizens and authorities routinely penalize Bahai business owners for observance of their Holy Days by sealing their businesses.
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Three arrests in Tabriz; three sentenced announced in Yazd

VOA News, November 18, 2018.

On November 16, Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه) and Farzaad Bahaardori ( فرزاد بهادری), Bahais living in Tabriz, were arrested by security forces. In June 2016, the Court of Final Review acquitted Mr. Farzaad Bahadori and five other Bahais from Tabriz who were arrested following a raid on the Bahadori home in Tabriz on July 12, 2014. Businesses run by Kaambiz Mithaaqi and Shahryaar Khodaapenaah were among about 90 Bahai-run businesses in East Azerbaijan Province that were closed by the authorities in December 2017.

Three Bahais from Yazd have also been informed of their sentences. Naaaser Baaqeri ( ناصر باقری) and his son Faa`iz Baaqeri (فائز باقری) were sentenced to nine months and three years in prison, respectively. Mrs. Rouhaa Emaani (روحا ایمانی), from Kerman, was sentenced to nine months in prison. Mrs. Emaani was arrested in Yazd during a raid on her home on May 12, 2015. Faa’iz Baaqeri and his father were arrested in their home on February 28, 2015. All three were released on bail in July, 2015.
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Ten Bahai businesses closed in Ahwaz

Keyhan Novin, November 12, 2018. –

On November 12, officials acting on a court order closed ten businesses in Ahwaz that were run by Bahais. Some of them were also closed down by officials last year, and later allowed to reopen.
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Music schools shut down for allowing Bahais to teach

Ettelaat, November 10, 2018. –

Two childrens’ music schools in Shiraz have been shut down by the judicial authorities for allowing (employing?) Bahais to teach. The schools were not owned or run by Bahais, but Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده), two Bahai women who were arrested in Shiraz in mid-September and freed on bail in mid-October, taught music to children there.
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Body exhumed and dumped in Damavand

Iran Press Watch, November 10, 2018. –

Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian (شمسی اقدسی اعظمیان), a Bahai from Gilavand, a suburb of Damavand (in Tehran Province), was buried in Gilavand Bahai Cemetery on October 24. Four days later her body was exhumed by unknown individuals and abandoned in the deserts of Jaban in the suburbs of that city. No individual or institution has accepted responsibility for this action, although security forces had told the Gilavand Bahais earlier that they had no right to bury their deceased member in Damavand and that they should perform burials only in Tehran. Gilavand Bahai Cemetery has been the Bahai burial place for many years.

Four days after the burial, in a phone call, police told Mrs. Azamian’s son that the body of his mother, had been found in deserts near Jaban in the Damavand district. A source close to the family said, “After the body of Mrs. Azamian was found, her son was told by security forces to transfer his mother’s body to Tehran. They then faced the son’s objection, since the distance between Gilavand and Tehran is more than an hour … according to Bahai law, the distance between the location of the death and the place of burial should not exceed one hour. As a result, two hours later, the agents carried away the body of Mrs. Azamian without the consent of the family to Tehran.”

A group of Iranian progressive intellectuals has issued a statement condemning this action.

This is not the first time Bahais in Iran have faced the demolition of Bahai cemeteries in various cities. HRANA earlier has reported on the destruction of graves and the closure of Bahai cemeteries by judicial and security authorities in the past several years.

Among Bahai cemeteries, one in the city of Kerman has been sealed since noon on March 15, 2018, by order of the Kerman judicial authorities, and the burial of deceased Bahais has been prevented.

Also, on July 14, 2016, Ghorveh Bahai cemetery, in the province of Kurdistan, was destroyed by government agents.

On December 12, 2013, after confirmation of a court order in Sanandaj and confiscation of the land belonging to the Bahais which had been used as a cemetery, the site was demolished by a bulldozer.

In March 2014, the Bahai cemetery in Ahwaz was closed, and the alley leading to it was blocked by heavy cement blocks. No organization has accepted responsibility for this action.

Also, in the middle of December 2012, Sangesar’s old Bahai cemetery was thoroughly covered in soil and rubble by bulldozers and trucks, and all the graves were covered by dirt and rocks, so that no more graves could be seen.

Since August 2011, the Bahai community of Tabriz has not been allowed to bury their dead in this city, and their bodies are being transferred by intelligence officers to the city of Miyandoab, in West Azerbaijan province.
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Pejman Shahryari and Mahbub Habibi bailed in Shiraz, City Counselor still detained

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, November 5, 2018. –

Pejman Shahryari (پژمان شهریاری) and Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), two of the six Bahais who were arrested in Shiraz on August 16, were released on bail on November 5. Two of those detainees, Dorna Esmaili (درنا اسماعیل)and Houman Esmaili (هومن اسماعیلی) were ‘temporarily’ released (i.e., without bail) after a few hours interrogation at the Ministry of Intelligence “Facility 100.” Negar Mithaqian (نگار میثاقیان) was also released, although her name is missing in the “Campaign” report. Mr. Koroush Rouhani (کوروش روحانی), who owns the garden where the six were arrested, was released on bail on September 24.

Another six Bahais were arrested in Shiraz three weeks earlier. On September 15, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz: Navid Bazmaandegaan (نوید بازماندگان), his wife Bahaareh Qaaderi (بهاره قادری), and Elaheh Sami`zadeh. On the following day, Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) and Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت) were arrested. Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) was also arrested, on either the 15th or 16th of September.

The case of the September six drew national attention because a Shiraz city Counselor, Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی) made efforts for the release of Navid Bazmaandegaan and Bahaareh Qaaderi, and was himself arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27 and accused of defending the “false Bahai Faith.” He had twittered that “our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice.” According to this report, he remains in detention although bail has been set at 50 million tumans. An earlier report that he was released on bail of 200 million tomans ($47,500 USD) appears to have been incorrect. He has since been put under judicial supervision for six months and banned from his seat on the Council. Some Council members who came to Haajati’s defense have also received warnings, according to Nozar Emami, one of the 10 members (of the 13-member Council) who called for Haajati’s release.
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Saqi Feda’i and Mey Khalusi begin sentences in Mashhad

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, November 1, 2018.

Saqi Feda’i (ساقی فدایی) and her mother Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) began one-year prison sentences in Mashhad on October 31. They were charged with “propaganda against the regime.” They were arrested, along with two other Bahais, in a raid on a Bahai religious meeting in Saqi Feda’i’s home on June 1, 2014. During the raid some religious books were seized.
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Dhabihullah Ra’ufi begins jail sentence in Sanandaj

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, October 31, 2018. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 70-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, has begun his sentence of one year in prison and one year in internal exile in Minab, 1700 kilometers from his home. He was arrested on September 8, 2015, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who searched the home he shares with his wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی). Four agents seized CD’s, books, pictures and other items relating to the Bahai Faith. They also arrested some non-Bahais who were present during the raid. His wife was arrested later, when their home was searched a second time on December 19, 2015. She has also been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile.

Mr. Ra’ufi was freed on bail six days after his arrest, but after his release some of his non-Bahai contacts were detained and lodged personal complaints against him.
One of these contacts, Mr. Muhammad Salahaddin Rashidiyan (محمدصلاح الدین رشیدیان) said that while he was detained at the Ministry of Intelligence office he was threatened with charges of apostasy, which carries the death sentence, but promised freedom if he lodged a complaint against the Bahais. He said that he knew of at least three others who were forced to lodge complaints against the Ra’ufi family in the same way. Mr. Ra’ufi was eventually charged with “propaganda against the regime.”

Mr. Ra’ufi was previously arrested in 2009, and sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime, followed by 6 months in exile in Tuyserkan. He also served his six-month prison term in Tuyserkan. And in June, 2011, the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj conducted mass interrogations of the Bahais there, seeking information on how Sanandaj’s Bahai community is managed. One of those questioned was Dhabihullah Ra’ufi.
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Five detainees bailed in Karaj

Sarkhat, October 30, 2018. –

Jamileh Paakrou (جمیله پاکرو), Paymaan Ma’navi (پیمان معنوی), Payaam Sha’baani (پیام شعبانی )and Keyaarash Salmaanzaadeh (کیارش سلمانزاده) (here reported as Keyaanush Salmaanzaadeh (کیانوش سلمانزاده)), who were arrested in Karaj on September 16, have been released on bail. Another report states that Houman Khoushnam (هومن خوشنام ), arrested on September 25, has also been bailed, for 300 million tumans (63,000 euros ; $US 71,000). At the time of his arrest, his business in Karaj was also closed. During his time in detention, he was interrogated without the opportunity for family visits or telephone calls.
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Navid Bazmandegan bailed in Shiraz

HRANA (facebook), October 23, 2018. –

Navid Bazmandegan (نوید بازماندگان), who was arrested in Shiraz on September 15, has been released on bail.
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Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa and Nilufar Hakimi bailed in Shiraz

Gozar Net, October 18, 2018. –

Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) and Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی) were released on bail on October 18. Mr. Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) was arrested in Shiraz on September 16, while Ms. Hakimi was arrested on October. On October 12, Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت), Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) were also released on bail in Shiraz.
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Under pressure from security forces, Samsung subsidiary fires a Baha’i

Iran Press Watch (from HRANA), October 18, 2018. –

Yazd security officials put pressure on the administrator of a Samsung subsidiary to fire marketing representative Sahar Rouhani on the grounds of her faith.

An informed source told HRANA that Rouhani was already being commended by Samsung executives as one of the best employees in the company after working there for little more than a year.

Rouhani’s university photography studies were cut short for the same reason in 2009, the source added. “She was expelled from the university in the middle of the fourth semester, after paying full tuition fees, because of being Baha’i.”

In August of this year, HRANA reported on the sudden and permanent dismissal of Baha’i Shiraz residents Sabah Haghbin, Samira Behinayeen, and Payam Goshtasbi from their private companies. Their company’s executives, like those at Samsung, had been harried by security agents to fire them.
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Sixth arrest in Karaj

Campaign to defend prisoners of conscience, October 17, 2018. –

On October 16, security forces in Karaj raided the home of Parvan Ma`navi (پروان معنوی), seizing various personal effects, and arrested Mr. Ma`navi. It is not known where he is being held. He is the sixth Bahai to be arrested in Karaj in the past month.
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Baha’i spokesperson arrested in Yemen

BIC News, October 12, 2018. –

The spokesperson for the Bahai community in Yemen has been arrested and taken to an undisclosed location. Abdullah Al-Olofi (عبدهللا العلف) was on his way to the market in Sana’a on 11 October when he was surrounded by armed soldiers in two pick-up trucks, blindfolded and taken away.

“This latest arrest is extremely worrying considering the recent intensification of persecutions against the Bahai community in Yemen,” said Diane Alai, Representative of the Bahai International Community to the United Nations.

Full report.
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Three Bahai detainees bailed

Campaign to defend prisoners of conscience, October 12, 2018. –

Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت), Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) have been released on bail in Shiraz. Bail was set at 150 million tumans each (31,000 euros ; $US 36,000). They were arrested in mid-September, along with a number of other Bahais in the city. Bail amounts are said to have been set for other Bahai detainees in Shiraz, but their release has not been implemented.
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Ruhiyyeh Nariman and Farzad Delaram detained in Shiraz

Iranians Global, October 8, 2018. –

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nariman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, and their house has been searched. On July 30 I reported here that they had been summoned to begin their prison sentences within one month, but that was delayed as the couple appealed that they should not serve their sentences simultaneously, since they have two children. That appeal was denied, and it is likely that yesterday’s arrest is to begin serving their sentences, although the new search of their home and the recent arrests of other Bahais in Shiraz make other explanations possible. Books and computers were seized. It is reported that they were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility, rather than to the city prison.

As previously reported, they were originally sentenced to five years in prison, but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Farzad Delaram.

They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.
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New arrest in Shiraz

Hamid Rezataghipour, October 7, 2018. –

Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz on October 6, the latest in a series of arrests of Bahais in Shiraz.
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Eighth arrest reported in Baharestan

HRANA (English), September 26, 2018. –

On Sunday, September 23rd, Saham Armin became the eighth Bahai to be detained by Ministry of Intelligence forces in Baharestan, near Isfahan. The agents searched his home before arresting him. I previously reported seven arrests on that day: Afshin Bolbolan (افشین بلبلان), Anush Rayneh (انوش راینه), Milad Davadan (میلاد داوردان), Farhan Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا), Bahareh Dhini-Sobhanian (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) and Fuzhan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی).
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Koroush Rouhani bailed in Shiraz

HRANA (English), September 26, 2018. –

Koroush Rouhani (کوروش روحانی), who was arrested in Shiraz on August 16, was on Monday, September 24th on 1 billion rials (approximately $6000 USD) bail, and now awaits trial. As of the date of this report, no further information is available on his charges or the reasons behind his arrest.
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Nora Pourmoradian’s home raided

HRANA, September 27, 2018. –

On September 27, security forces raided the home of Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان), one of the six Bahais arrested in Shiraz in the past two weeks. They seized personal effects such as books and documents, and briefly arrested her father and mother.
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Sixth arrest and a business closure in Karaj

HRANA, September 26, 2018. –

On September 25, Houman Khoushnam (هومن خوشنام ) became the sixth Bahai to be arrested in Karaj in the past 10 days. His business was also closed down by the authorities. The arrests of five Bahais in Karaj are reported here.
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Bahai student expelled in Isfahan

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), September 26, 2018. –

Shaqayeq Shouqi (شقایق شوقی), a student of applied chemistry in her sixth semester of study at the Isfahan University of Technology, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She discovered she had been expelled on the last day of the term exams, when she found that her access to her student profile on the University’s web site was blocked, and there was no way to re-enroll for the coming semester. When she enquired with university officials she was told that she would have to pursue the matter with the national office of educational assessment. When she did so, officials said that they were sorry, and that she had done nothing wrong, but the system is based on regulations that bar Bahais from entering universities. She was not given any documentary evidence that she had been expelled, and officials have refused to return the high school certificates she submitted when she first enrolled unless she provides a form saying she has withdrawn from university voluntarily.
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Two more arrests in Karaj: environment a common factor in 19 arrests

Following the previous report of the arrest of three Bahais at a meeting for environmental education in Karaj on September 16, it has emerged that two other Bahais there have all been arrested. The report does not say whether this was also on September 16. The additional detainees are Payaam Sha’baani (پیام شعبانی ) and Paymaan Ma’navi (پیمان معنوی). Those originally reported are Maryam Ghafarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش), Jamileh Parkrou (جمیله پاکرو) and Keyarash Salmanzadeh (کیارش سلمانزاده).

Although no charges have been laid, it appears that environmental activities are a common factor in the arrest of the five Bahais in Karaj, seven (or eight, but the eighth is unnamed) in Baharestan, Isfahan province, and six in Shiraz.
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Seven arrests in Baharestan, near Isfahan

HRANA, September 23, 2018. –

Early on September 23, security forces arrested seven Bahais at their homes in Baharestan, a newly built planned city about 30 km south of Isfahan. Those arrested are Afshin Bolbolan (افشین بلبلان), Anush Rayneh (انوش راینه), Milad Davadan (میلاد داوردان), Farhan Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا), Bahareh Dhini-Sobhanian (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان), Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی) and Fuzhan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی). There is no word yet of where they are being held. One report suggested there were eight arrests, but this is not confirmed.
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Student denied his diploma in Urmia

Hamid Rezataghpour (citing HRANA), Semptember 19, 2018. –

Mithaq Aghsani (میثاق اغصانی), an undergraduate student at the Payam-e Nour University in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), has been denied his Bachelor’s diploma and barred from further education because of his Bahai beliefs. His father is a veteran and war prisoner from the Iran-Iraq war, which, if he were not a Bahai, would give his son privileged access to university in Iran. The business of his father and grandfather have both been closed by the authorities for the past 14 months, because they are Bahais. They are continuing to work, on the footpath in front of their workplaces, in the heat of summer and cold of winter.
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Bahai student expelled in Karaj, 58 excluded from enrolling

Adian Bashariyat (relaying HRANA), September 20, 2018. –

Anahita Horr (آناهیتا حر), a Bachelor’s student of architectural drawing at the non-profit Rasam University in Karaj has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She was able to enroll in 2016 (around August), and has completed two years of study.

HRANA continues to monitor the number of Bahai students who have completed the University Entrance examination successfully, but are barred from enrollment because their Bahai beliefs are known to the Ministry of Intelligence. Thus far, this year’s total is 58. At about this time last year, 115 Bahai students were known to have been excluded at the gate, and in October 2016 the figure for that year was 129.
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Three arrests in Karaj

Iranians Global, September 19, 2018. –

On the evening of September 16, security forces arrested three Bahais in Karaj, about an hour West of Tehran, and took them to Evin Prison in Tehran. They are Maryam Ghafarmanesh (مریم غفارمنش), Jamileh Parkrou (جمیله پاکرو) and Keyarash Salmanzadeh (کیارش سلمانزاده). Security forces raided a meeting for environmental education, held at the home of Ramin Sadeqi (رامین صدقی) and led by Maryam Ghafarmanesh. The officers seized all the cell phones, took the personal details of all those attending, and then searched the house, seizing a desktop computer and Bahai books and the ownership documents for the house. Then they went to Mrs. Parkrou’s house and seized mobile phones and computers and the ownership documents for the house. About 20 hours later Mrs. Ghafarmanesh reported in a telephone conversation that her bail had been set at 300 million tumans (61,000 euros; $US 71,000).
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Mehran Bandi Amirabadi released unexpectedly

Iranians Global, September 19. 2018. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی), a 60-year-old Bahai from Yazd who began his 18-month sentence on August 7 this year, has been released without warning, after serving just six weeks, as well as (presumably) recognition of time he spent under interrogation before his trial. Earlier sources said that his sentence was 12 months, but in either case his release is unexpected and early.
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Bahai student expelled from Tehran technical college

Hamid Rezataghipour, September 19, 2018. –

Nikan Sheydan-Shaydi, a Bahai student in the third semester of an Intermediate study in moulding technology at the Technical College of Tehran, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He began his studies in February 2017. He was summoned to the Institute’s security office [a branch of the Ministry of Intelligence] and asked why he had enrolled, since he was a Bahai? “There is no place for Bahais here, just like the universities.” However he was told that he could change the religion field in his student records, and continue with his studies.

In recent days the number of Bahai students who have just passed the University Entrance examination, and find they are excluded from tertiary education on the excuse of “incomplete file,” has risen beyond 50. In previous years the total has been above 100 each year.
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Two more arrests in Shiraz

Iranians Global, September 17, 2019. –

Late in the evening of September 16, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت) and too her to the Ministry’s offices in Shiraz. She was arrested at a family gathering to prepare for her grandmother’s funeral. Earlier [on the same day?], Nora Pourmoradian (نورا پورمرادیان) was arrested. These two arrests bring the number of Bahais arrested in Shiraz in the past week to six. On September 15, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz: Navid Bazmandegan (نوید بازماندگان), his wife Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری), and Elaheh Sami`zadeh. There present whereabouts is unknown. A fourth Bahai, Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) was arrested on September 16, and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility 100 in Shiraz.
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Trial of 24 Bahais begins in Yemen

Fuad Rajah, September 16, 2018. –

Houthi activists started the trial of several Baha’i families on Saturday. Fifteen men and 9 women are charged with spying for Israel, the U.S. and Britain. The report comes from Fuad Raja, a reporter in Sanaa, quoting Abdullah Al-Olofi, spokesperson for the Bahai community in Yemen.
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Four arrests in Shiraz

Radio Zamineh, September 16, 2018. –

On September 15, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz: Navid Bazmandegan (نوید بازماندگان), his wife Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری), and Elaheh Sami`zadeh. There present whereabouts is unknown. A fourth Bahai, Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) was arrested on September 16, and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility 100 in Shiraz.
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More students excluded for their Bahai beliefs

Mahvash Zaeri, September 15, 2018. –

More Bahai students who passed the University Entrance examination with good marks have learned that they are excluded from tertiary education because the authorities — who according to the Constitution are not permitted to inquire into religious beliefs — know they are Bahais. The new names (in addition to those I listed yesterday) are Sahand Qa’emi (سهند قائمی), Faran Abbas-Pouli (فاران عباس پولی), Basiz Zayn-`Ali (?) Baghini (بصیز زینلی باغینی), Sadaf Mithaqi-Sisan (صدف میثاقی سیسان), Yahya Mousavi Tang-rizi (یحیی موسوی تنگ ریزی) from Karaj, Anita Rastegar (آنیتا رستگار), Nabil Bashi-Ardestani (نبیل باشی ارد ستانی), Tara Bahamin (تارا بهامین), Bita Chorkhzarin (بیتا چرخ زرین), Arman Golzar (آرمان گلزار), Pegar Sirusian (پگاه سیروسیان), Nariman Movafeq-Evali (نریمان موفقی ایولی), Nuna Qadiri-Nafarest (نونا قدیری نُفرست), Sayeh Aqa’i (سایه آقائی), Farhud Bashi (فرهود باشی) from Tehran, Parsa Shaykhzadeh (پارسا شیخ زاده), Foruzan Nuredel (فروزان نوردل) from Tabriz, Hadi Hedayat (هدي هدايتي) from Semnan, Sina Tala`i (سینا طالعی), Aryan Baqa’i (آرین بقایی) from Sari, Wafa Nobakht (وفا نوبخت) from Sari and Adib Rahmani (ادیب رحمانی) from Sari. This brings the total of the new cohort of Bahai students who have been excluded this year to 33.
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Bahai student deprived of her Intermediate diploma

Tavaana (twitter), September 15, 2018. –

Sheqayey Dhabihi (شقایق ذبیحی), a Bahai from Karaj who has completed her Intermediate year in Architecture at the non-profit University of Karaj, applied to receive the Diploma. However she was summoned to the offices of the national Educational Assessments Bureau, and told that, because of her Bahai beliefs, she could not be awarded the Diploma and would not be allowed to continue her studies.
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Ten Bahai students excluded from education

Hamid Rezataghpour, September 13, 2108. –

As the academic year begins in Iran, reports show at least ten Bahai students who gained passing grades in the nation-wide University Entrance Examinations have been excluded from enrolling in a university or technical institute, with the excuse “incomplete file.” The names of the excluded students known thus far are Shamim Eydelkhani (شمیم ایدلخانی) from the Moghan [sic, مغان] in Ardabil Province, Farniya Ilyazadeh (فرنیا ایلیازاده) from Tehran, Parmida Hoseynpuli-Mamqani (پارمیدا حسینپولی ممقانی), Servin Adhar-Shab (سروین آذر شب) from Tehran, Parand Mithaqi (پرند میثاقی), Shahrzad Tirgar (شهرزاد تیرگر), Melina Qumi-Nik (ملینا قوامی نیک) from Tehran, Tarannom Mo`tamedi-Borujeni (ترنم معتمدی بروجنی) from Shahenshahr in Isfahan, Wahid Sadeqi-Sisan (وحید صادقی سیسان) and Shaqayeq Qasemi (شقایق قاسمی).
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Five Bahais sentenced in Shiraz

Shahrevandyar (Facebook), September 11, 2018. –

Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id Ebadi ( سعید عابدی) and Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) have been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. They were tried in a closed court, and sentenced by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Sadati (سید محمود ساداتی). Their places of exile are, respectively, Jahrom, Eqlid, Arsanjan, Darab and Larestan.

Mr. Dana, Mr. Haqqpazhouh, Mr. `Ebadi, and Mrs. Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (یهیه معنویپور) were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. Mr. Mansour and Mr. Sarafraz were arrested on September 1. Mrs. Ma`navipour was released on bail on September 18 and Mr. Dana on September 28, 2014. On October 21 Mr. Sarafraz, `Ebadi, Mansour and Haqqpazhouh were released on bail.
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Sima Kiani released from Evin Prison

Payam-e Haqq, September 2, 2018. –

Ms. Sima Kiani (سیما کیانی), a Bahai resident of Shahr-e Rey (on the outskirts of Tehran), was released from Evin Prison in Tehran on September 1, after serving a one-year sentence on charges of “propaganda against the regime.” She was arrested by Security Forces for the first time on March 8, 2017 and was freed on bail of 200 million Tomans (equal to $US45,000) in early April 2017. At the time of her arrest. all of Ms. Kiani’s Bahai books and images, articles, CDs, and her personal computer, were confiscated. On January 27 she was tried and convicted on the charge of propaganda against the regime, and sentenced to one year in prison by the Shahr-e Rey Revolutionary Court. She began her sentence immediately after the trial.
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Bahai business closed by authorities in Kashan

HRANA, August 19, 2018. –

An optician’s workshop run by Javad Dhabihiyan (جواد ذبیحیان) in Kashan was closed by the local authorities on July 28, by the expedient of not granting it an operating licence, because the owner is a Bahai. The business was also closed for two weeks in April 2016, following instructions from the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Kashan, and was allowed to re-open when Mr. Dhabihiyan promised to obtain a licence.

In recent years the local departments of public places in Iran have closed down many of the small workshops and shops on which Bahais must rely for their income, since they are barred from employment in the civil service and in many economic sectors. Bahais are also barred from running businesses in sectors that involve contact with food or personal services, in line with a commonly held superstition in Iran, that Bahais are “unclean.” A peculiarity of Iran’s apartheid system is that the rules saying what kinds of businesses Bahais may not operate are kept secret, since such discrimination is contrary to various international treaties to which Iran is a signatory. It is not clear — to the Bahais and also to the local authorities in many cases — whether Bahais are permitted to work as opticians.

On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned, but by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete. It does not mention optometry, but says that Bahais may not work in cultural, educational or financial institutions, and are not to be allowed to work in the sectors of periodicals, jewelry, watchmaking, print-making, tourist agencies, car rentals, publishing and bookshops, photography, film-making, internet gaming, computers, or internet cafes. They may not own printing works or hotels and other accommodation for travellers, or teach tailoring skills. The order then refers to the belief that Bahais are unclean, and requires the police bureaus to block them from restaurants, cafeterias and catering, food ingredients and foodstuff sales, takeaways (Iranian-style), cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee.
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Another Bahai student expelled in Tehran

Hamid Rezataghpour, August 19, 2018. –

Roumina `Asgari (رومینا عسگری ), an undergraduate student at the Tehran Central campus of Iran’s Free University, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She has completed four semesters of her degree. Unusually, she was informed of her expulsion in writing, the reason given was “abnormal social behaviour, efforts to undermine the order, peace and security of the nation.” Yet she has not actually been attending classes in the last 6 months, having taken a one-semester suspension of her studies.
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Six Bahais arrested in Shiraz, three released

HRANA, August 17, 2018. –

On August 16, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested six Bahais in Shiraz and took them to Detention Facility 100. Those arrested are Pejman Shahryari (پژمان شهریاری) and his wife Dorna Esmaili (درنا اسماعیل), Houman Esmaili (هومن اسماعیلی) and Koroush Rouhani (کوروش روحانی), Negar Mithaqian (نگار میثاقیان) and her husband Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی). Negar Mithaqian and Dorna Esmaili were released a few hours later. Update: Houman Esmaili was also released on August 16, leaving three detainees in detention.

Dorna Esmaili is a Bahai student who was in the 7th semester of a degree in Graphic Design at the Eram non-profit private university in Shiraz when she was expelled in January, 2017. Negar Mithaqian was a student of computer engineering who was barredby the university during her enrollment, in 2009.

The other detainees have not previously been mentioned on Sen’s Daily.

Some reports have spoken of the arrests of 40 or more Bahais in Shiraz in recent days, but these reports have not been confirmed.
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Appeal of 22 sealed businesses in Urmia rejected

HRANA via Iran Press Watch (Persian), August 17, 2018. –

The appeal of 22 Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), which were closed down by the authorities one year ago, because they closed for business on Bahai Holy Days, has been rejected by the Supreme Administrative Court without a hearing. The court’s decision was announced on August 16.

There are nine days each year that Bahais take free from work (with logical exceptions). The law in Iran allows any business to shut for up to 15 days each year, without special permission from the authorities, but the Bahais are apparently being denied this normal right, as they are denied many other civil rights.

In the past year, the owners of these businesses have pursued numerous channels with various government bodies, but only the local government’s office of public places has responded, saying that they would not be allowed to reopen unless they signed a pledge not to close on the Bahai Holy Days.
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New Methods to Prevent Baha’is from Studying

Iran Press Watch, August 16, 2018.

Source: iranwire.comBy Kian Sabeti (shortened)

In recent days, according to reports received by IranWire, the Intelligence Bureau of Karaj has been pressuring a number of Bahai university applicants to promise that if their applications for the university are accepted, they will stop following the tenets of their faith.

Over the last several recent years, many Bahais who have successfully passed the entrance exams are turned away from universities under the pretext of having an “incomplete portfolio.” Pegah (پگاه), who lives in Karaj near Tehran, was previously given the same excuse when he was told he would not be able to attend college, but the story did not end there.

“On Sunday morning, someone — who did not identify himself —phoned and said he wanted to have a short interview with me about the 2018 entrance exams,” Pegah told IranWire. “He gave me the address of the Intelligence Bureau of Gohardasht, where I was to go. At 10am on the following day I went to that address and spent about 20 minutes in a room answering their questions. They told me that the results of the entrance exams were likely to be published soon and since I might have passed the tests they had to get some information about me. They asked me questions about Bahai religious organizations and religious classes, but I did not answer these questions because they had nothing to do with the entrance exams. I only wrote down my own bio.”

“Essentially, they wanted two things,” Pegah said. “The first was that if I were accepted to the university, I would not proselytize for the Baha’i Faith. I asked them to show me a law that makes proselytizing illegal. Then I told them that I would not proselytize but that if somebody asks me about my faith I cannot lie. [Baha’i tenets do not allow a Baha’i to lie about his faith.] The second was that if I was enrolled I would follow the laws of the Islamic Republic instead of the instructions issued by the House of Justice [the international governing council of the Baha’i faith]. I replied that I would obey the laws of the Islamic Republic but that I cannot ignore the instructions of the House of Justice because as a Bahai I must obey them.”

For 18-year-old Nina (نینا), this year’s entrance exam was her first. Three days ago, the Intelligence Bureau of Karaj called her and asked her to go to their office to answer questions related to the exams and, like Pegah, she followed their instructions. “They gave me two forms,” she told IranWire. “The first form was about detailed personal information, even strange questions like “known as” and “nickname.” I filled it out and signed it. Then they verbally asked me questions about Baha’i gatherings and my religious activities but since the questions had nothing to do with the exams I refused to answer them.”

The second form, besides asking for a full name, was a series of statements to be ticked off. “For instance,” she said, “whether I had passed the exam or I had selected my field of study. But at the bottom of the form it said: ‘I obey the laws of my country, not those of the House of Justice in Occupied Palestine and I do not recognize the House of Justice.’”

Nina did not fill out the second form and told officials it did not apply to her because the first question was about selecting a field of study and she had not done so. But they insisted she fill it out, saying: “If you pass the exam next year, you must sign this form before you go to the university, so it would be better if you would fill it out today.” Nina answered that if that happened, she would return. “We will talk about the form,” she told them.

Bahais in Iran were barred from participating in university entrance exams until 2005, when the Education Evaluation Organization, which oversees all aspects of nationwide university entrance exams and admissions, announced a change in the meaning of the “religion” question on application forms, saying that it did not meant to ask the actual religion of the applicants but instead about applicants’ knowledge about a specific religion. So, after 25 years, Bahai applicants could participate in the entrance exams. The Bahais chose “Islam” and were granted permission to compete in the exams. But if they did pass the exam, they were turned away with the excuse of “incomplete portfolio.” The very few who somehow slip through are expelled the moment the security office of the university finds out they are Bahais [in practice — when the Ministry of Intelligence order the University to expel them ~ Sen].

This religious discrimination extends even to private and non-profit institutes of higher education. In the last 40 years no Bahai has graduated from any university in Iran although Bahais are the biggest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran.

Since the 1979 Revolution, Bahais have been denied the most basic of citizen civil rights. They are even banned from working for the government. At international forums, officials of the Islamic Republic consistently deny this discrimination against the Bahais but, story after story, as with the two above, belie their claims.
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Pictures from a funeral

Editorial, August 12, 2018.

As previously reported, the ‘Golestan Javid’ (Bahai cemetery) in Kerman was closed by the judicial authorities on March 16 this year, preventing both visits to the graves and new burials. When an elderly Bahai man, Abbas Khalousi (عباس خلوصی), died on August 16, the authorities refused to allow him to be buried anywhere in Kerman, and held the body for four days before giving permission for him to be buried in a desert area near Rafsanjan, the capital of Kerman Province. The two cities are about 90 minutes apart. They summoned his son and told him to bury his father there, or they would take the body and bury him themselves.

The result was that, on the day of the funeral, a large motorcade of cars sped from Kerman to the place of burial, with other cars coming from Rafsanjan and other places, and a well-attended funeral was held. The authorities’ obduracy resulted in a highly visible event proclaiming the presence of the Bahais in the two cities, and making their oppression by the authorities visible to all. But it remains the case that the Bahais of Kerman are banned from visiting and caring for their cemetery, which will inevitably become overgrown before being seized by the authorities for profitable development by a regime insider.

The closure, destruction and vandalization of Bahai cemeteries has become common in Iran: many recent examples can be found on this blog by typing “cemetery” in the search box, or clicking on the category link “Burials and social matters.” For a discussion of the long history of symbolic violence directed at graves and bodies of Bahais and other in Iran, see Mehrdad Amanat, Set in Stone: Homeless Corpses and Desecrated Graves in Modern Iran (2012).
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Mehrdad Heyrani free after 3 month’s interrogation

Kalameh TV, August 11, 2018. –

Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی), a Bahai from Tehran, was released from Evin Prison today (Saturday) after three months’ interrogation. Bail is reported at 1.2 billion tumans, but should I think read 1.2 billion rials (the official currency unit), which is 25,000 euros or $US 29,000 at the current official rate. Mr. Heyrani was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 11, while he was at a friend’s house in Fardis, 45 km West of Tehran. The agents returned with them to his own home. They searched it and seized a computer, some religious books and other personal effects.
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Two Bahais begin their sentences in Yazd

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, August 9, 2018. –

Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی), a 60-year-old Bahai from Yazd, was arrested at his workplace on August 7, to begin serving his sentence (this report says it is 18 months, but my information is that it is 12 months), to be followed by one year in exile in Divandarreh, was recently reduced from the original three-year sentence by the Court of Review, but he had not been summoned to present himself to prison.

Other reports indicate that Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی), who was sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of internal exile in Saravan, presented himself to prison on August 8.
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Nika Khalusi ends her prison term

HRANA, August 5, 2018. –

Nika Khalusi (نیکا خلوصی) has been released from prison in Mashhad at the end of her 5-year term. She began her sentence on April 30, 2014. She and her sister Nava (نوا خلوصی) were sentenced for “membership of the Bahai organisation, participation in illegal Bahai activities, and propaganda in favour of the Bahais and against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” Nava Khalusi, sentenced to four and a half years, was released on September 4, 2017. Their father, Manuchher Khalusi (منوچهر خلوصی) was released on July 31, 2017, at the end of a one-year sentence.

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


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Three Bahais lose employment in Shiraz

Hamid Rezataghpour, July 31, 2018. –

In recent days, three Bahais in Shiraz have been dismissed from their employment because of their Bahai beliefs. Mr. Sahba Haqqbin (صهباء حق‌بین), a civil and structural engineer, his wife Samira Behinayin (سمیرا بهین‌آیین), a civil engineer, and Mr. Payam Gashtasbi (پیام گشتاسبی ), an accountant, had been employed by private companies in Shiraz. The were dismissed following instructions and pressure exerted by the security forces in Shiraz on the Directors of the companies employing them. Under Iran’s apartheid system, Bahais are not only barred from the civil service, they are not permitted to work in many sectors relating to personal services, because of a wide-spread superstition that Bahais are “unclean.” However engineering and accounting are not among the jobs barred to Bahais.
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Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and Farzad Delaram begin prison sentences

Shahrvandyar, July 28, 2018. –

In the last few days, Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) have been summoned to begin serving their prison sentences in Shiraz. The summons, sent via their bail agent, allows them one month to present themselves to prison. As previously reported, they were originally sentenced to five years in prison, but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and one year for Farzad Delaram.

They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.
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Bahai student expelled from University in Isfahan

Shahrvanyar (Facebook), July 27, 2018. –

Sarir Mauqen (سریر موقن) has been expelled from the Azad University in Isfahan because of her Bahai beliefs. The learned of her expulsion on May 23, 2018, just before the final exams, when she was told by telephone that her file was incomplete and she should go to the Office of Education. She later found that she was barred from the University’s web site. When she went to the Office, she was told “you are a Bahai and should not have entered the University.” She was also denied a certificate showing the grades she had achieved.

Ms. Mauqen began her studies in 2014, and listed her religion as “Bahai” in the registration form. When she was expelled she in the last semester of a Master’s degree in Architecture, having already gained 135 of the 145 study point required for the degree. She had not promoted her Bahai beliefs during her time as a student (a policy issued by the secretariat at the Bahai World Centre in 2015 states that there is no objection to Bahai students signing a pledge not to teach their Faith at university).
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Dhabihullah Ra’ufi sentenced to one year in prison, one year in exile

Iran Press Watch (Persian), July 25, 2018. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 69-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, has been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in internal exile in Minab, 1700 kilometers from his home. he was charged with “propaganda against the regime.” The sentence was announced by the Review Court for Kurdistan province. He was arrested on September 8, 2015, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who searched the home he shares with his wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی). Four agents seized CD’s, books, pictures and other items relating to the Bahai Faith. They also arrested some non-Bahais who were present during the raid. His wife was arrested later, when their home was searched a second time on December 19, 2015. She has been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, but the Review Court has not yet confirmed this sentence.

Mr. Ra’ufi was freed on bail six days after his arrest, but after his release some of his non-Bahai contacts were detained and lodged personal complaints against him.
One of these contacts, Mr. Muhammad Salahaddin Rashidiyan (محمدصلاح الدین رشیدیان) said that while he was detained at the Ministry of Intelligence office he was threatened with charges of apostasy, which carries the death sentence, but promised freedom if he lodged a complaint against the Bahais. He said that he knew of at least three others who were forced to lodge complaints against the Ra’ufi family in the same way. Their names are given as Entezar Rahimi (انتظار رحیمی), Mrs. Zhila Negahdar (ژیلا نگهدار) and Shahu Mohammadi (شاهو محمدی).

The arrests and subsequent efforts to fabricate a civil complaint against Mr. Ra’ufi appear to relate to the appeals of the Bahais in Sanandaj for officials to allow the burial of Mrs. Baji Muhammadifard in the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. Officials insisting that Mrs. Muhammadifar’s body should be taken to the Baha’i cemetery in Qorveh, approximately an hour and a half from Sanandaj. It emerged that this was part of a nation-wide policy under which Bahais would be buried in only one cemetery in each province of Iran.

Mr. Ra’ufi was previously arrested in 2009, and sentenced to 6 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime, followed by 6 months in exile in Tuyserkan. He also served his six-month prison term in Tuyserkan. And in June, 2011, the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj conducted mass interrogations of the Bahais there, seeking information on how Sanandaj’s Bahai community is managed. One of those questioned was Dhabihullah Ra’ufi.
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Two Bahais sentenced in Yazd, five others have suspended sentences

HRANA, July 26, 2018. –

The Review Court in Yazd has revised the sentences of seven Bahais. Five of them have been given 3-year suspended sentences:

Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی), a 69-year old resident of Yazd who was arrested in Tehran on February 21, 2017, and released on bail in Yazd at the end of March.

Farzad Rouhani Manshadi (فرزاد روحانی منشادی), Ramin Hosuri Sharaf-Abadi (رامین حصوری شرف آبادی) and Ahmad Ja`fari Na’imi (احمد جعفری نعیمی) three Bahais who were arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, 2017, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers. They were released on bail on February 21, 2017. Muhammad-Ali Tadrisi (محمدعلی تدریسی), who was arrested in his home in Yazd on January 24, 2017, and released on bail on February 1, has also been given a 3-year suspended sentence.

Mr. Uzzatallah Kharram (عزت الله خرم), also arrested on january 18, 2017, was exonerated of the unspecified charges and has been released.

However two Bahai men were sentenced to 18-month prison terms followed by 12 months in exile: Mehran Eslami Amirabadi (مهران اسلامی امیرآبادی) and Mehran Bandi Amirabadi (مهران بندی امیرآبادی). They will serve their exiles respectively in Saravan and Divandarreh. Mehran Eslami will probably serve two years and a half years in prison, because of a previous case. He was one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012, and was sentenced on charges such as “propaganda against the regime,” to one year in prison, which he has since served, and a one-year suspended sentence. This suspended sentence may be added to his new 18-month sentence.
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Bahai student expelled in Kerman

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), July 18, 2018. –

Houman Emani (هومن ایمانی), a student of graphic arts at the Free University in Kerman, has been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. His expulsion occurred almost a year ago, but was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.
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Fataneh Nabilzadeh begins her sentence

Shahrvandyar, July 18, 2018. –

Fataneh Nabilzadeh (فتانه نبیل‌زاده), who has been sentenced to one year in prison for her association with the Bahai University (BIHE), was taken to prison in Mashhad on July 16. The BIHE is a distance-learning institute that offers education to Bahais, who are excluded from both state and private tertiary institutions under Iran’s form of apartheid. Educating Bahais is against state policies, although technically it is not against the law, since the policies are not published. On August 13, 2013, as part of a series of raids on the BIHE across Iran, security forces raided her home, searched it, and arrested her, along with two students who were taking an exam: her son Peyman Saraf (پیمان صراف) and Dayan Teymouri (دایان تیموری). The two students were bailed on September 5, but Mrs. Nabilzadeh was held for two months before being released on bail. In January 2018 she was sentenced to one year in prison for her educational activities.
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Bahai student expelled in Karaj

Melliun Iran (citing HRANA), July 15, 2018. –

In May, 2018, Sogol Dhabihi Sissan (سوگل ذبیحی سیسان), a student of Graphics at Rasam University in Karaj, was expelled and denied certificates for the courses she has already passed, because of her Bahai beliefs. She was in the fourth semester of an undergraduate degree. She discovered that she had been expelled when the university’s site blocked her access, needed to obtain the entry card for term exams. When she followed up, she was referred to the national “Educational Appraisals Agency.” The Agency branch in Karaj refused to allow her to enter the building, but told her by telephone that she had no right to higher education because she was a Bahai, so she had been expelled. She was told to submit a request in writing, which she did. She returned to the office for further information four times over the following two months, without even obtaining a copy of her course results, and received no response to her letter.
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Business closed and one arrest in Abadan

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), July 14, 2018. =

A sewing machine shop run by two Bahai brothers, Arman and Aram Azadi (آرمان آزادی و آرام آزادی) has been closed by the local authorities because of their Bahai identity and because they closed their business to observe a Bahai Holy Day. Aram Azadi’s wife, Nushin Afshar (نوشین افشار), has been arrested, and the operating licence of the business has been revoked. The brothers have run the shop for the past 38 years. Over the past 5 years, over 500 Bahai-run businesses have been shut down in Iran, in a policy of economic apartheid that also bars Bahais from the civil service and from private employment in many sectors of the economy.
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Sheida Qoddusi granted prison furlough

Iran Press Watch, June 29, 2018. –

Sheida Qoddusi (شیدا قدوسی), who has served over a year of her 5-year sentence in Gorgan prison, began a 10-day furlough on June 27. She was one of about 20 Bahais who were arrested in Golestan Province in October, 2012, and later released on bail. They were tried by Judge Qanbari (قاضی قنبری). Sheida Qoddusi was initially sentenced to 11 years in prison, reduced to five years by the review court. She has two children.
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Plot to seize property from a Bahai in Mahabad

Iran Press Watch (Persian), July 6, 2018. –

Saman Mithaqi (سامان میثاقی) is a 31-year-old Bahai living in Tehran, whose detention in Mahabad has not previously been reported here. He travelled to Mahabad over six months ago to sell his father’s apartment there, which had been used by a tenant. However the tenant, a Mr. Bakhtiar (بختیار ), had become a member of the Revolutionary Guards in the city, and refused to hand over the property because of Saman Mithaqi’s Bahai beliefs. Mr. Bakhtiar used his position to file a charge against Mr. Mithaqi and have him detained by the Ministry of Intelligence, leaving Mr. Bakhtiar in possession of the apartment. Mr. Mithaqi remains in detention, but has been offered bail if he will leave Iran and never return.
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May 9, 2019

Three Bahais begin their sentences in Shiraz


HRANA, May 8, 2019. –

Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejmaan Shahryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Koroush Rouhaani (کوروش روحانی)reported to Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz on May 7. They were originally given one-year sentences by Judge Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی محمود ساداتی) in the Revolutionary Court. The Review Court reduced this: Mr. Habibi and Mr. Ruhaani have been sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” while Mr Shahyaari has been sentenced to three months and one day, on the same charge.

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

April 22, 2019

Ruhiyyeh Narimaan absolved of charges


HRANA, April 21, 2019. –

On April 21, Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) was informed that the charges against her — for which she served five months of a 30-month sentence — have been dismissed by the Court of Review. She is already free, having been provisionally released from prison in Shiraz on March 9, pending a sitting of the Provincial Review Court. Mrs. Narimaan and her husband Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so she served five months of her sentence. Her husband was released in early February, benefiting from an amnesty for some prisoners of conscience marking the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. Mrs. Nariman’s release is not related to the amnesty, and no reason is given in this report. It is possible that it relates to a January ruling by the Alborz Province Review Court, in the case of Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی), that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime” and is not a crime.

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

March 11, 2019

Ruhiyyeh Narimaan released in Shiraz: a reason for hope?


HRANA, March 10, 2019, with editorial commentary. –

Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) was provisionally released from prison in Shiraz on March 9. Her sentence has been put in abeyance pending a sitting of the Provincial Review Court. Mrs. Narimaan and her husband Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so she has served only five months of her 30-month sentence. Her husband was released in early February, benefiting from an amnesty for some prisoners of conscience marking the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution.

Mrs. Nariman’s release is not related to the amnesty, and the re-review of a sentence already determined by the Review Court is highly unusual. I speculate — optimistically — that her release relates to a January ruling by the Alborz Province Review Court, in the case of Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی), that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime.” Mrs. Enayati was acquitted and released. Part of the verdict issued by Branch 12 of the Alborz Province Review Court, headed by Judge Ali Badri (قاضی علی بدری), states: “The propagation of the Bahaism does not constitute propaganda against the regime. Basically, in the law, belief in Bahai Faith has not been criminalized so as to be able to prosecute or punish anyone under this charge…” Another part of the proceedings states: “Basically religious propagation, which is not considered to be against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its sovereignty, is not considered a crime; [considering it a crime] is contrary to the Constitutional rights of citizenship.”

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

February 14, 2019

Farzaad Delaaraam released in Shiraz


HRANA, February 14, 2019. –

Among a number of prisoners of conscience granted early release in Iran in recent days is Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام), serving a one-year sentence in Shiraz. Mr. Delaaraam and his wife Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so Mr. Delaaraam has served only four and a half months of his sentence. His early release will be especially welcome since the couple have two children, one being a child, the other a young teenager. The early releases of some prisoners of conscience in recent days presumably relates to the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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

February 3, 2019

Sentenced reduced to 6 months for five Bahais in Shiraz


HRANA, February 2, 2019. –

The Review Court for Fars Province has reduced the sentences of five Bahais, previously sentenced to one year in prison and one year in internal exile, to six months in prison. Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id Ebadi ( سعید عابدی) and Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) were charged with propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. They were initially tried in a closed court, in September 2018, and sentenced by the notorious human rights abuser Judge Sayyid Mahmud Sadati (سید محمود ساداتی). Neither the defendants nor their lawyers were informed of that trial. The Review Court sat on December 31, 2018.

Mr. Dana, Mr. Haqqpazhouh, Mr. `Ebadi, and Mrs. Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (یهیه معنویپور) were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. Mr. Mansour and Mr. Sarafraz were arrested on September 1. Mrs. Ma`navipour was released on bail on September 18 and Mr. Dana on September 28, 2014. On October 21, Mr. Sarafraz, `Ebadi, Mansour and Haqqpazhouh were released on bail.

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

January 23, 2019

Three Bahai men in Shiraz sentenced by Judge Saadaati


HRANA, January 21, 2019. –

The Revolutionary Court in Shiraz has announced one-year sentences for Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejman Mehryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Kurush Ruhaani (کوروش روحانی), on charges of “propaganda against the regime.” They are at present free on bail. They were among six Bahais arrested at a meeting in a private garden (belonging to Kurush Ruhaani) on August 16, 2018. Another six Bahais were arrested in Shiraz three weeks earlier, on September 15.

The sentencing judge was Judge Doctor Sayyed Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی محمود ساداتی), who in 2016 gave a five-year sentence to Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتا فهندژسعدی), and in October 2017 gave five year sentences to Ruhiyyeh Nariman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), and in September 2018 gave five Bahais sentences of one year in prison and one year in exile, on charges of propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies.

Judge Saadaati

The Revolutionary Courts in Iran are responsible for charges such as blasphemy, espionage, terrorism and seeking to overthrow the government, and for illicit drug matters. The trials are not public, there is no jury, and — for charges with a sentence of less than ten years — a single judge decides the case. Sentences are however reviewed by the Provincial Review Court.

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

December 18, 2018

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi sentenced to 10 years and seizure of assets


Iran Human Rights Monitor, December 16, 2018.

[Updated (2)] Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتا فهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, has sentenced to ten years in prison on a charge of forming an illegal group and one year (concurrently) on a charge of propaganda against the regime. The verdict was issued in absentia by Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. The judge has been named elsewhere as Judge Mohammad Mojtaba Rudijaani (قاضی محمد مجتبی رودیجانی). This is unlikely to be the same person as the prominent author on legal matters with the same name. Another report states that the judgement also orders the seizure of all her personal assets by the government. She has 20 days to appeal the sentence.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. She was expelled from the Shiraz Payam Noor University in 2012, for her religious beliefs. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz, and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Saadaati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence. The Ministry of Intelligence was not satisfied, and has now obtained an eleven-year sentence from another revolutionary court in Shiraz.

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

October 9, 2018

Ruhiyyeh Nariman and Farzad Delaram detained in Shiraz


Iranians Global, October 8, 2018. –

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nariman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, and their house has been searched. On July 30 I reported here that they had been summoned to begin their prison sentences within one month, but that was delayed as the couple appealed that they should not serve their sentences simultaneously, since they have two children. That appeal was denied, and it is likely that yesterday’s arrest is to begin serving their sentences, although the new search of their home and the recent arrests of other Bahais in Shiraz make other explanations possible. Books and computers were seized. It is reported that they were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility, rather than to the city prison.

As previously reported, they were originally sentenced to five years in prison, but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Farzad Delaram.

They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

September 12, 2018

Five Bahais sentenced in Shiraz


Shahrevandyar (Facebook), September 11, 2018. –

Mr. Farhad Sarafraz (فرهاد سرافراز), Shahram Mansour ( شهرام منصور), Wahid Dana ( وحید دانا), Sa`id Ebadi ( سعید عابدی) and Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) have been sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and in favour of its enemies. They were tried in a closed court, and sentenced by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Sadati (سید محمود ساداتی). Their places of exile are, respectively, Jahrom, Eqlid, Arsanjan, Darab and Larestan.

Mr. Dana, Mr. Haqqpazhouh, Mr. `Ebadi, and Mrs. Bahiyyeh Ma`navipour (یهیه معنویپور) were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. Mr. Mansour and Mr. Sarafraz were arrested on September 1. Mrs. Ma`navipour was released on bail on September 18 and Mr. Dana on September 28, 2014. On October 21, Mr. Sarafraz, `Ebadi, Mansour and Haqqpazhouh were released on bail.

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

August 13, 2018

2018 01 to 06

Filed under: — Sen @ 00:54

Sentences reduced for Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and Farzad Delaram

Shahrvand-yar, June 19, 2018. –

The Review Court has reduced the sentences of Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), Bahais from Shiraz, who were initially sentenced to five years in prison for their Bahai beliefs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman is now sentenced to two years and six month in prison and her husband to one year in prison. They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.
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Khodadaad Miri free on bail

Bazdasht, June 14, 2018. –

Mr. Khodadaad Miri (خداداد میری), who was arrested in Kermanshah by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 6, was freed on bail on June 13. He has been charged with making propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith. During his five-week interrogation period he was not allowed access to a lawyer and had only one brief telephone contact with his family, to inform them he was being detained. Mr. Miri is from Mazandaran, where he owned a bookstore, but he was forced by the authorities to sell it a few years ago, and then took his family to Kermanshah.
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Town Mayor bans Bahais from buying land

Shahrvandyar, June 12, 2018. –

The Mayor of Sorkhrud, a town on the Caspian Coast, has issued a decree banning Bahais from buying or selling land of any sort. The instruction was contained in a letter addressed to all the town’s real estate agents. The Mayor’s name is Seyyid-Muhammad Mehdi Musavinezhad (سیدمحمد مهدی موسوی نژاد). He has recently been part of a campaign to ban pictures and quotes of ex-President Khatami from the Iranian media.
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Bahai student expelled in Zanjan

Centre for Human Rights in Iran, June 12 (?), 2018. –

Soha Izadi (سها ایزدی), a student of Information Technology Engineering at the University of Zanjan, was expelled from the University on March 14, 2018 due to “being Bahai.” She had completed almost one year of studies, and was in the midst of the end-of-semester examinations when university officials contacted her to say they had received a letter from the “moral standards” section of the national “Educational Appraisals Agency” which meant that she could not continue education. She was removed from the student register and her access to the university web site was blocked. When she pursued the matter, the university officials told her the only way she could be re-admitted was to renounce her Bahai religion. An indication of how long this educational apartheid policy has endured in Iran is that both her mother and her father were also excluded from enrolling in tertiary education, using the “incomplete file” excuse (that is, the religion section did not say “Muslim” so the file was “incomplete”).
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Soheil Keshavarz begins his sentence in Qazvin

HRANA, June 12, 2018. –

On June 9, Soheil Keshavarz (سهیل کشاورز), a Bahai living in Qazvin, was arrested and taken to Qazvin prison to begin serving his six-month sentence. He was initially arrested on December 20, 2016, when four security agents raided his home. On December 24, agents raided the home of his father, Sohrab Keshavarz (سهراب کشاور), and seized Bahai books and personal effects. Then they took him with them to the home of Soheil Keshavarz (who was still being detained — he was held for interrogation for 25 days), and searched it again. His bail, trial and sentencing was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. This report does not specify the charges.
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Bahai student expelled in Gorgan

Hamid Rezataghipour, May 29, 2018. –

Shakib Teymouri (شکیب تیموری), a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Gorgan University, was expelled on May 27. University officials excluded him from the university web site and from registration. The university refused also to document the Bachelor’s degree he had already achieved. He began his studies late in the autumn of 2014, and entered the Master’s course in 2016.
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Neda Sabeti, Nooshin Afshar and Foroogh Farzaneh released

Kampaign, May 30, 2019. –

Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار) and Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), Bahais living in Ahvaz who were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in raids on their homes on May 6, have been released on bail from Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz. They were previously released on May 12, only to be summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office on May 13 and arrested again.
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Iran’s Court of Administrative Justice confirms apartheid in education and employment

HRANA, May 29, 2018. –

Iran’s Court of Administrative Justice has formally confirmed that Bahais in Iran have no right to public service employment or tertiary education. This policy was set out in the 1991 “Golpaygani Memorandum,” drawn up by the Iranian Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council (ISRCC). The memorandum calls for Iran’s Bahais to be treated in such a way “that their progress and development shall be blocked.” It specifies that all Bahais should be expelled from universities; that they shall be denied positions of influence, and that “employment shall be refused to persons identifying themselves as Bahais.” The exclusion of Bahais from universities was reiterated by Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in 2006. The latest court decision confirms that the 1991 policy remains in place: it cites the 1991 memorandum in confirming that Hanan Har (حنان حر), a Bahai student who scored well in the university entrance examination in 2016, and was accepted at a university in Babol, but was excluded because of his Bahai beliefs. In 2017 he appealed to the Court of Administrative Justice, which investigated and ruled that the appeal could not be processed because “Bahais are not only excluded from government employment, they are also deprived of the right to study.” The decision was communicated to Hanan Har in the past few days.
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Shahnam Jadhbani begins his prison sentence

Mahvash Zaeri (Facebook), May 27, 2018.

Shahnam Jadhbani ( شهنام جذبانی ) is reported to have been arrested in his home in Minudasht and taken to Gonbad to begin serving a sentence that may be as long as eleven years. He and his wife Shohreh Samimi ( شهره صمیمی ) were arrested in Minudasht in October 2012. Around the same time, 20 other Bahais were arrested in Golestan Province by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, acting without warrants. Many Bahai homes homes were searched, with the seizure of computers, books and family photo albums. They were initially given very long sentences, but these were all reduced by the review court to less than two years, except that review court did not at that time announce its decision on the cases of Shahnam Jadhbani ( شهنام جذبانی ) from Minudasht and Shayda Qodousi (شيدا قدوسي) from Gorgan, who were sentenced to 11 years in prison. Mr. Jadhbani’s sentence may also have been reduced, in which case that will be reported within the next few days.
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Kaviz Nuzdehi free in Mashhad

Mahvash Zaeri, citing Shahrvandyar, May 27, 2018.

Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), a Mashhad Bahai, was released on bail on May 27. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 2, and has has previously served a two-year prison sentence, from July 2010 to June 2012. That time, the charges against him were propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, membership and activity in the Bahai Faith, etc. He has been the subject of speculation by Damavand News, which identified him as — probably — the unidentified Bahai whom the Deputy Prosecutor of Mashhad claimed was held for links to the Mujahedin (MKO, and organisation that has practiced and preached revolution and violence). Given that he has been released on bail after one month in detention, that identification now looks very unlikely.
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Bahai in Mashhad said to be linked to Mujahedin

Damavand News, May 22, 2018.

Hasan Heidari (حسن حیدری), Deputy Prosecutor of Khorasan Razavi Province has claimed in an interview with the local website of Mashhad (capital of the Province) that an unnamed Bahai has been arrested in Mashhad by the Ministry of Intelligence, under a special judicial order referring to the “arrest of the leadership of the hypocrite terrorist organisation.” The term is usually Iranian code for the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MKO), which has advocated revolution and violence. Mr. Heidari said that the Bahai had been accused of collaborating with a political organization, and that “this individual had sought to provide broader grounds for activities to undermine security, by promulgating and misusing the demands of the industry guilds that are part of the Iranian system.” In other words, he was a worker’s rights activist. Iran has seen widespread worker protests, strikes and market shut-downs in recent weeks, and the tactic of connecting these to an external terrorist organisation and/or the Bahais may be a device to divert attention from the grievances of workers and small shop-keepers (who close their shops as a form of protest).

Damavand News, which reports this interview, expresses reservations that it has the whole picture, and the story as reported raises a number of questions. In the first place, did the Deputy Prosecutor intend to refer to the Mujahedin or to the Green Movement? The accusation of links to a political group seems unusually mild if the Mujahedin was intended. In the second place, the only Bahai known to have been arrested in Mashhad recently is Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), arrested on May 2. Damavand News cites a source saying that, given the timing, the reference can only be to Mr. Nuzdehi. But another possibility is that the Deputy Prosecutor did not have any specific Bahai in mind. Claims that a group of Bahais have been arrested for this an that – without names or specifics – are sometimes made by officials seeking to assure the public that they are doing their jobs by keeping the Bahais under pressure. Generally speaking, no specifics or trials follow from such claims. News of the actual persecution of Bahais always comes from family members and associates, not from official reports, and contain names, dates and other specifics that can be checked.
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Ministry of Intelligence bars Baku Bahai from keeping bees

HRANA, May 21, 2018. –

The Ministry of Intelligence in Baku has told Shahin Dehqan ( شاهین دهقان), a Bahai who has been working as a beekeeper for the past 17 years, that he must sell his hives within ten days, or he will be jailed and his hives will be confiscated. Bahais are barred from working in many sectors of Iran’s economy, but the rules are not published and new sectors are barred to Bahais periodically, giving the economic apartheid system in Iran the appearance of arbitrary oppression.
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Pakistan announces a welfare grant and scholarships for Bahais

The News, May 19, 2018.

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, has announced a grant of Rs500,000 (3600 euros ; $US 4300) for the welfare of the Bahai community, as well as offering scholarships to its students. He was speaking at a celebration of the Bahai festival of Ridvan, and expressed joy at the presence there of prominent personalities from other communities, including Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Parsi (Indian Zoroastrians).

While Bahai teachings do not allow the Bahai communities to apply external donations to their own religious activities, such funds can be used by the Bahai community for charitable purposes. The report does not explain whether scholarships are being offered specifically to Bahai students, or the Bahai community is being included among the eligible religious minorities. The state (not federal) minorities scholarships I researched are all income-tested as well as being targeted for minorities.
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Three Bahai women in Ahvaz re-arrested

Hamid Rezataghipour, May 14, 2018. –

Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار) and Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), who were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in raids on their homes on May 6, and released on May 12, were summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office on May 13 and arrested again.
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Mitra Zahdi and Farajollah Bengaleh bailed in Ahvaz

Shahrevandyar, May 14, 2018. –

Mrs. Mitra Barnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی), who was arrested in Ahvaz on March 3, and Mr. Farajollah Bengaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله), who was arrested on March 28 in Shiraz and later transferred by the Ministry of Intelligence to Ahvaz, have both been released on bail of 200 million tumans each (40,000 euros ; $US 47,500). It appears that no charges have been laid. In both cases, their houses were searched at the time of their arrests, and religious items were seized.
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Three Bahai detainees released in Ahvaz

HRANA, May 13, 2018. –

Three young Bahai women who were arrested in Ahvaz on May 6 were released from Ahvaz prison on May 12. They are Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار), Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ). During the week that they were detained, their families went to the prison and were told that their children were not there [probably because they were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence ~ Sen]. The families went to the cities of Abadan and Khoramshahr to look for their children, and while they were there, Ahvaz Prison contacted them to say their children had been released.
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One new arrest in Tehran

HRANA, May 12, 2018. –

Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی), a Bahai living in Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 11, and taken to an unknown place. The agents came to his home, but he was at a friend’s house in Fardis, 45 km West of Tehran. The agents went there and arrested him and took him with them to his own home. They searched it and seized a computer, some religious books and other personal effects.
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One arrest in Kermanshah

Hengaw News, May 12, 2018. –

Mr. Khodadaad Miri (خداداد میری), a Bahai living in Kermanshah, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 6. As of May 12, there is still no news of his whereabouts, despite efforts by his family. Mr. Miri is from Mazandaran, where he owned a bookstore, but he was forced by the authorities to sell it a few years ago, and then took his family to Kermanshah.
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Anti-Bahaism on show at Tehran international book fair

Hamid Rezatghipour, May 7, 2018.

A few days after the start of the Tehran international book fair, the showing of anti-Bahai books with titles such as “the deviant sect of Bahais” has increased dramatically. The Centre for the Documentation of the Islamic Revolution has a series of books on “identifying the various aspects of the Bahai sect,” while the Centre for Bahai Studies has taken two booths at the exhibition to display almost all the anti-Bahai literature it has published. The anti-Bahai literature appears to be more visible than in previous years. The publishers receive subsidies or are funded by Iran’s government or religious institutions. The publication of Bahai literature, or responses to the accusations, is not permitted.
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Mahsa Mahdavi released from prison

Radio Zamaneh (web site), May 11, 2018.

Mahsa Mahdavi (مهسا مهدوی) was released from Vakil Abad Prison in Mashhad on May 10, after serving an 8-month sentence for her Bahai beliefs. She was one of four Bahais arrested in Mashhad in September, 2012, who were sentenced in May, 2013: her sentence was the shortest. They were accused of teaching the Bahai Faith, propaganda against the regime and membership of Bahai organisations.
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Four homes searched, 3 arrested in Abadan (update)

Iran Press Watch, May 10, 2018.

According to Ostanwire (of iranwire.com), on Sunday morning of May 6, 2018, agents of the Ministry of Information of Abadan City in southwest Iran performed an orchestrated raid of the residences of four Bahais, during which three Bahais were arrested and taken to an unknown location.

Security forces in the border town of Abadan went to the homes of four Bahais; Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار), Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), and Ms. Mah-Monir Ehsani, and after thorough search of their homes confiscated all their mobiles, laptops, computers and religious books and arrested Ms. Sabeti, Ms. Afshar, and Ms. Farzaneh. In each case, the raids were conducted by six agents in possession of search warrants, while a few security forces remained on guard outside. Some reports specify that the agents came mainly from the Ministry of Intelligence in the provincial capital, Ahvaz, with one local agent from Abadan in each team, and that they briefly questioned all the family members present during the raids.

The arrest of Ms. Neda Sabeti was previously reported on Sen’s Daily, the widespread raids and two additional arrests were not. It is not known where the detainees are being held.
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Navid Khanjani released after 6 years in prison

VOA, May 7, 2018.

Navid Khanjani (نوید خانجانی) has been released from Rajai Shahr prison, near Tehran.

Mr. Khanjani’s original 12-year sentence was due to his peaceful activities in defending human rights and the right to education. With the implementation of Article 134 of the Penal Code, the diverse charges against him were integrated, and he was sentenced to five years in prison with a release date on June 6, 2017. At the last moment he was informed that his one-year sentence from a different case was being implemented immediately and he would remain in prison.

Mr. Khanjani was arrested the first time on March 1, 2010, by the Ministry of Intelligence and was released on bail after about two months of interrogation and solitary confinement. On December 20, 2010, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Yahya PirAbassi (قاضی یحیی پیرعباسی), sentenced him on the following charges:

+ Spreading false news,
+ Disturbing public opinion,
+ Propaganda against the Islamic Republic through disseminating news reports,
+ Appearing in interviews with foreign TV and radio stations,
+ Membership of the Central Council of the Human rights Reporters Committee,
+ Establishing the “Deprived of Education” group

An informed source at the time of sentencing (February 2011) said that “During the trial, the lawyer’s defense was basically not considered.” Mr. Khanjani, has not been allowed any furlough since his detention in August 2012.

Mr. Khanjani’s one-year sentence, now completed, is due to the “Sarand Camp Case.” He was one of 35 civil society activists who had gone to Varzaghan in East Azarbaijan on August 11, 2012 to help the earthquake victims. They were arrested by the police and their camp was shut down. Most of the activists were released, but due to his existing sentence of 12 years, Mr. Khanjani remained in custody.

Mr. Khanjani, now aged 31, is a former member of the “Human Rights Activists,” “Human Rights Reporters Committee,” and founder of ” The Association Opposing Educational Discrimination.”
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New arrest in Abadan: Neda Sana’i

Sky Farsi News, May 6, 2018.

Early in the morning of May 6, seven security agents — one of them a woman — arrested Mrs. Neda Sana’i-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی) at her home in Abadan. The agents searched the family’s home and car thoroughly, and seized all the religious books, a laptop, computer and some story books (the couple have children). As they left, they told her husband, Kambiz Azadi (کامبیز آزادی) to do nothing and have patience. Mrs. Sana’i was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence offices.
~~~~~~~~

Bahai home searched in Isfahan

HRANA, May 6, 2018.

On April 30, 2018, six security agents with a search warrant came to the apartment of the father of Mrs. Anisa Motahar (انیسا مطهر) in Isfahan. The warrant was dated April 3, 2018. They gained access to the building using force and threats against another resident there, and entered the home without permission. Mrs. Motahar was in the shower at the time, and her father was also in the apartment. Mrs. Motahar repeatedly objected to the seizure of books, images and CDs relating to the Bahai Faith, and non-religious items relating to her parents, but her objections were ignored by the agents, who were abusive. After seizing everything that could be evidence of the family’s Bahai beliefs, and other items of value such as mobile phones and laptops, the agents showed a summons to appear in court on May 8, the precise address being communicated to Mrs. Motahar’s father later, by telephone. They did not leave a copy of this summons or a receipt for the goods they had seized, as required by law.

Mrs. Motahar now lives in Tehran, and was visiting her parents in Isfahan. In 2010 she was one of the Bahais arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Isfahan, when she was detained for 73 days before being freed by the Review Court.
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Bahai-run business in Tabriz to be sealed

Iran Press Watch, May 4, 2018. –

According to a report in Persian by the campaign of “No to Imprisonment and Persecution of Bahais”, a shop belonging to Ms. Shiva Isa-Khani (شیوا عیسی خانی), a Bahai in Tabriz, will be shut down and her business license is denied due to her belief in the Bahai Faith.

An informed source close to Ms. SIsa-Khani reported that she had applied for a business license after many years of hard work but at the end she received a final notice from judicial officials forcing her to close her shop. The same shop has been sealed twice in past 5 years, and on each occasion the authorities made it very difficult for her to re-open her shop.
~~~~~~~~

Kaviz Nuzdehi arrested in Mashhad

Hamid Rezatipour, May 2, 2018.

Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), a Mashhad Bahai, was arrested on May 2. He has previously served a two-year prison sentence, from July 2010 to June 2012. That time, the charges against him were 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.
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Saba Golshan released in Isfahan

Hamid Rezataghipour, May 2, 2018.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ) has been granted contitional released from prison in Isfahan, after two and a half years in detention. As I reported yesterday, he was released with Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی) on April 30, and recalled to prison a few hours later. After spending one more night in prison, he has been granted conditional release.
~~~~~~~~

Shahram Eshraqi released in Isfahan; Saba Golshan released and re-arrested

HRANA, May 1, 2018.

Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی) was released from Isfahan Prison on April 30, after two and half years’ detention. He began his on October 11, 2015, and was granted a one-month furlough for medical treatment in February-March 2017. He suffers from a respiratory ailment, and is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, when he served in the front lines. This is the fourth time he has gone to prison for his Bahai beliefs. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on July 31, 2012, along with four other Bahais. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a one-year suspended sentence, in a mass trial of Bahais held in a court in Yazd. His mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-law were among the Bahais executed in Shiraz in 1983.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ), a Bahai who was arrested and tried in the same process as Mr. Eshraqi, was released along with Mr. Eshraqi, but an hour later was summoned to return to prison. There has been no further explanation. He is serving a three-year prison term, plus one year suspended. he suffers from severe cardio-pulmonary disease, and has been granted medical furloughs of at least two months, for surgery and other treatment, during his time in prison.
~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled in Gorgan

Bahai Campaign, April 29, 2018.

Kiana Sana’i (کیانا ثنایی), who has completed two semesters of undergraduate study in architecture at the private non-profit Mir-Damand Institute of Higher Education in Gorgan, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. The expulsion was initiated by the national “Educational Appraisals Agency.”
~~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled in Rasht

Didgaheno, April 27, 2018.

Seyyed Arash-Razavian-e Rudbardeh (سید آرش‌رضویان رودبرده), who was in his fourth semester of studies in Physics, has been expelled from Gilan University in Rasht because of his Bahai beliefs. On March 18, before the New Year break, he was told to got the University, where he was informed that he had been expelled, and if he wanted more information he should go to the National Examinations organisation. After the holidays he did so, and was told that he had been expelled because he was not a follower of one of the four recognized religions. He asked that the reason should be put in writing, which he received, but it said only that his general qualifications were not accepted and he did not qualify for university education. This is remarkable, since Bahai students are usually given no document at all to indicate that they have been students, or have been expelled. When he asked for clarification, he received a prompt reply saying that, in accordance with a decree from the Cultural Council, he has no right to tertiary education. This is a reference to a confidential memorandum from the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council, dated February 1991, which states that Bahais must be expelled from Universities, and the progress and development of Bahais should in general be blocked. This reply also said that the “Police 10+” organization had been informed of his expulsion, in relation to his compulsory military service. This letter was signed by the Director of Educational Services at the University of Gilan.
~~~~~~~~~

Father and daughter in Shiraz sentenced to 5 years

HRANA, April 25, 2018.

On April 24, Nazanin Bangaleh (نازنین بنگاله) and her father Na`imatullah Bangaleh (نعمت الله بنگاله) were sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz to five years in prison. They were arrested following a destructive raid on their home in Shiraz on August 27, 2016. A table was smashed and seats were pulled apart. A few months earlier, goods belonging to Mr. Bagaleh were seized at customs.

Ms. Bangaleh was released on September 11, after posting bail of 175 million tumans ($US 56,000; 50,000 euros). On November 1, 2016, Mr. Bangaleh was also released on bail, which was set at 550 million tumans ($US 176,000; 157,000 euros).
~~~~~~~~~

Afif Na`imi returns to prison

HRANA, April 23, 2018.

Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran) returned to Raja’i Shahr prison on April 23, at the end of his furlough for medical treatment. He suffers serious heart problems, blood clots, lymph node problems and acute swelling of the throat. On several occasions in recent years, he has been taken from prison for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. His health problems are described as “severe,” and the prison’s Medical Examiner has determined that he is not fit for prison because of his failing health. In 2016 he was granted a furlough for medical treatment which eventually extended to five months, returning to Rajai Shahr prison on January 28 this year. His sentence was due to be fully served (i.e., without the usual early release provisions) on February 27, 2018, but the authorities have said he must serve another 10 months, apparently because his sentence was suspended on two occasions.
~~~

Business sealed in Minushahr, family expelled

Iran Press Watch, April 16, 2018.

On March 20, 2018, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence closed down the sewing machine repair business of Na`im Ha’i (نعیم هائی), a Bahai living in Minushahr. Mr. Ha’i and his family were also told to leave the city as soon as possible.

Full translation at Iran Press Watch
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Shahab Dehqani released after four years

Iran Press Watch, March 26, 2018.

Shahab Dehqani ( شهاب دهقانی), a Bahai from Tehran was released from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, upon the completion his four-year sentence. He was arrested in July 2012 during a massive security operation against Bahais. Nearly 20 Baha’is, in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz, were arrested in this operation. Mr. Dehqani was charged with propaganda against the regime and forming illegal assemblies, and sentenced to four years by the notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), who was also responsible for sentencing the seven “Yaran” on trumped-up charges of espionage. He reported to Evin Prison to serve his four-year on May 24, 2014. The next day, he was transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. He was granted a 3-day prison furlough in June, 2015.

Mr. Dehghani’s wife, Shomais Mohajer (شمیس مهاجر) was arrested at the same time and sentenced to one year in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and illegal gathering. She was released on May 26, 2015.
~~~~~~~~

Nasim Baqeri released after 4 years

HRANA, March 29, 2018.

Nasim Baqeri (نسیم باقری), one of 10 Bahais associated with the Bahai Open University (BIHE) who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013, has been released from Tehran’s Evin Prison at the end of her 4-year sentence. The Judge who sentenced her is the notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), who was also responsible for sentencing the seven “Yaran” on trumped-up charges of espionage.
~~~~~~~~~

Social media campaign in Yemen calls for extermination of Bahais

Iran Press Watch, April 1, 2018.

Dangerous Development Signaling a Sectarian Disaster

The Yemeni community has been shocked over the past two days [prior to March 26, when the Arabic report was published] by a fierce media campaign launched by the Ansarullah group (Houthis). The campaign incites hatred and sectarian hostility, opposes freedom of thought, and calls for acts of violence and murder against members of the Bahai Faith, as well as other against peaceful religious minorities.

“This is a devilish religion and we will exterminate every Bahai,” proclaimed Houthi activist Ahmad Ayed Ahmed in a public Tweet. This tweet was widely circulated by supporters of Ansarullah. Similar provocative Tweets by other activists and leaders have also been circulating.

The campaign coincided with the threats made by the leader of Ansaruallah, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, against the Bahais, Ahmadis, Christians and a number of Islamic sects during his Friday speech on the occasion of Rajab Friday. Al-Houthi used an explicit sectarian hostile language against several religions, sects, and ideologies in Yemen and intensively against the Bahais. He appealed to his followers, especially intellectuals, people in media, clergy and activists to launch a cultural, social, and intellectual war against these minorities.

This marks a clear call for a sectarian war against minorities and specifically Bahais, and parallels the already ongoing systematic attack against Bahais including arbitrary arrests, persecution, and torture.

Although the persecution of the Bahais is not new, Houthis had until now exercised a degree of “political dissimulation” to conceal their direct involvement. However, since al-Houthi’s public speech, Houthis are now openly spearheading as well as escalating the systematic persecution of Bahais.

A number of human rights organizations have expressed concern about this situation, it being a clear and disturbing indication of a transition to a more aggressive stage of persecution, targeting pluralism and freedoms, as well as the very foundation of coexistence in Yemen.

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


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Two homes searched and one arrest in Shiraz

Iran Press Watch (Persian), March 28, 2018.

On March 28, security forces arrested Mr. Farajollah Bengaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله) in his home in Shiraz. They arrived about 2pm and searched his home thoroughly and seized personal and religious items including books, a laptop and a mobile telephone. He was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100. They then went to the apartment of Mr. Payam Partovi (پیام پرتوی ), on the second floor of Mr. Bangaleh’s home, and searched it although they had no search warrant. They seized two laptops, some flash drives and religious books and other items.
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Vahid Tizfahm released after 10 years in prison

HRANA, March 19, 2018.

Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison, located about an hour west of Tehran. He has served a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran. Six of the seven Yaran have now been released after completing their sentences, while Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی) has been free on medical furlough since late October, 2017.
~~~~~~~~~

Bahai cemetery in Kerman closed by authorities

HRANA, March 16, 2018.

The ‘Golestan Javid’ (Bahai cemetery) in Kerman has been closed by the judicial authorities, preventing both visits to the graves and new burials. This goes against a national policy announced in September 2015, that Bahais may only be buried in one designated cemetery in each province. On the morning of March 16, a number of Bahais from Kerman arriving at the cemetery found the gates shut and a large banner from the Municipal authorities spread across the gateway, saying “In accordance with the order of the honorable judiciary, based on Article 688 of the Islamic Penal Code. and due to sanitation issues and problems, and in accordance with Paragraph 6, Article 96 of the city and municipality laws, the burial of of the deceased in this place is prohibited from March 16, 2018.”

The closure, destruction and vandalization of Bahai cemeteries has become common in Iran: many recent examples can be found on this blog by typing “cemetery” in the search box. For a discussion of the long history of symbolic violence directed at graves and bodies of Bahais and other in Iran, see Mehrdad Amanat, Set in Stone: Homeless Corpses and Desecrated Graves in Modern Iran (2012).
~~~~~~~~~

Jamaloddin Khanjani released after 10 years in prison

Morteza Esmailpour (Facebook), March 17, 2018.

Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison, located about an hour west of Tehran. He is 84 years old, and has served a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran.
~~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled in Rasht

HRANA, March 15, 2018.

Wasal Heravi (وصال هروی) has been barred from beginning the fourth semester of his studies in psychology at the Sima-ye Danesh University in Rashht because of his Bahai beliefs. The University President told him verbally that the Qualifications Agency has not accepted his qualifications. His enquiries to the Qualifications Agency and other educational authorities were fruitless, except that he was told verbally that his expulsion was ordered by the Ministry of Intelligence. He began his studies in 2016/17, and became aware of his expulsion when the code for a unit he had enrolled in was disabled [on his university web page].
~~~~~~~~~

Five detainees bailed in Bushehr

HRANA, March 14, 2018.

Five of the seven Bahais arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Bushehr on February 13 were released on bail on March 13. Bail was set at 250 million tumans (53,000 euros ; $US 66,000). Those released on March 13 are Minou Reyazati (مینو ریاضتی), Asadollah Jaberi (اسدالله جابری) and his wife Ehteram Shakhi(احترام شخی), Leqa Faramarzi (لقا فرامرزی). Emad Jaberi (عماد جابری) and Puneh Nashari (پونه ناشری) were bailed a week earlier.
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Bahai couple in Shiraz sentenced to 5 years in prison

Morteza Esmailpour (Facebook), March 9, 2018.

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) have been sentenced to five years in prison for their Bahai beliefs. They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but have only now been told of their sentences. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.
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Puneh Nashari and Emad Jaberi bailed in Bushehr

HRANA, March 7, 2018.

Emad Jaberi (عماد جابری) and Puneh Nashari (پونه ناشری), two of the seven Bahais arrested in coordinated raids on Bahai homes in Bushehr on February 13, have been released on bail. Bail was set at 50 million tumans (10,700 euros; $US 13,300). Mrs. Nasheri has two children, aged 2 and 7, who have been affected by the absence of their mother. A source close to the arrestees said that, since their arrest, all seven have moved back and forth between the prison and the interrogation facilities of the Ministry of Intelligence. It appears that the judiciary have no information on the reasons for their detention.
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One new arrest in Ahvaz

HRANA, March 5, 2018.

Mitra Barnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی)was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in her home in the city of Ahvaz on March 3. The agents searched her house thoroughly and seized books and a laptop. The agents said they had an arrest warrant from the Revolutionary Court, and the arrest is presumed to relate to her Bahai beliefs.
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Five Bahais sentenced in Mashhad: one year in prison

HRANA, February 28, 2018.

One-year sentences have been announced in four cases dating back to late 2014, involving Bahais in Mashhad. Dari Amri (دری امری), Shayan Tafazoli (شایان تفضلی), Saqi Feda’i (ساقی فدایی) and her mother Mey Khalusi (می خلوصی) were sentenced by Judge Soltani ( قاضی سلطانی). They were charged with propaganda against the regime. A month ago, Fataneh Nabilzadeh (فتانه نبیل‌زاده) was also sentenced to one year in prison in Mashhad: her arrest and sentencing was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

The four who are most recently sentenced were arrested on July 8, 2014, following a raid on a Bahai religious meeting in the home of Saqi Feda’i on June 1. They were held by the Ministry of Intelligence until early August, before being taken to prison and eventually released on bail. They were tried on December 17, 2014, but the sentences have only now been announced.
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Jamaloddin Khanjani returned to prison

Human Rights in Iran, February 23, 2018.

On February 22, Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), was returned to Raja’i Shahr prison, located about an hour west of Tehran. He is 84 years old (not 86 as previously reported) and was taken to a hospital cardiac care unit following a recent heart attack in prison. He is reported to have undergone surgery in hospital. Doctors have warned that he should be under constant care and that prison conditions are not suitable for him. However he has not even been granted the normal right to prison furlough during his time in prison. He is nearing the end of a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran. The sentencing judge was the notorious human rights abuser, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه). Mr. Khanjani had had heart surgery before entering prison, and suffered a previous heart attack in prison, in January 2014, when he was taken to Pars Hospital in Tehran for treatment.
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Sa`id Reza’i released after 10 years in prison

Fariba Kamalabadi (Facebook), February 17, 2018.

Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی) one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison at the end of a ten year sentence for his activities in service of the Bahais of Iran.

Mr. Reza’i (link opens in PDF format), now aged 60, is an agricultural engineer who ran a successful farming equipment business in Fars Province. He is also known for his extensive scholarship on Bahai topics, and is the author of several books and has served as an academic adviser to Bahai students. He taught Bahai children’s classes for many years, and served the Baha’i Education and Baha’i Life Institutes. He was also a member of the National Education Institute.

During the early 1980s, when persecution of Bahais was particularly intense and widespread, Mr. Rezaie moved to northern Iran and worked as a farming manager for a time. Later he moved to Kerman and worked as a carpenter and at other odd jobs in part because of the difficulties Bahais faced in finding formal employment or operating businesses. In 1985, he opened an agricultural equipment company with a Baha’i friend in Fars Province. That company prospered and won wide respect among farmers in the region.

He has experienced various forms of persecution for his Baha’i belief, including an arrest and detention in 2006 that led to 40 days in solitary confinement.
His two daughters were among 54 Baha’i youth who were arrested in Shiraz in May 2006 while engaged in a humanitarian project aimed at helping underprivileged young people. They were later released but three of their colleagues were sentenced to four years in prison on false charges and are currently incarcerated in Shiraz.

In August 2013 he was hospitalized due to a gastrointestinal disorder, and was transferred back to Rajai Shahr prison on August 7. During his treatment, tests revealed that he also has a 70% blockage in his coronary artery. He underwent emergency heart surgery. Doctors ordered one month of after care in a quiet and suitable location. Ignoring the doctor’s orders for post-op care, officials returned him to Raja’i Shahr prison.
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Jamaloddin Khanjani transferred to hospital; Sa`id Reza’i due for release

Bazdasht, February 16, 2018.

Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been taken from Rajai Shahr prison to a cardiac care unit in hospital. It appears he suffered a heart attack in prison. He is now aged 86. He is nearing the end of a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran. He had had heart surgery before entering prison, and suffered a heart attack in prison, in January 2014, when he was taken to Pars Hospital in Tehran for treatment.

Another of the Yaran, Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), is expected to be released on February 17.
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Seven new arrests in Bushehr

HRANA, February 13, 2018.

At 7.30 in the morning of February 13, security forces staged coordinated raids on the homes of Bahais in the Province of Bushehr and arrested at least seven Bahais. Those arrested are named as Minou Reyazati (مینو ریاضتی), Asadollah Jaberi (اسدالله جابری) and his wife Ehteram Shakhi(احترام شخی), Emad Jaberi (عماد جابری), Leqa Faramarzi (لقا فرامرزی) and Puneh Nashari (پونه ناشری). Their homes were thoroughly searched, and personal effects such as laptops, books, flash drives, external hard drives, and family photograph albums were seized. Mr. Jaberi and his wife were detained at their workplace. No information on the reasons for the raids or where the Bahais are being detained is available thus far.
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Elham Faramani released after 4 years in prison

Human Rights in Iran, February 12, 2018.

Mrs. Elham Faramani (الهام فراهانی) was released from Evin prison on February 11, at the end of a four-year sentence. Her son Shamim Na’imi ( شمیم نعیمی) was released in March 2017, at the end of a three-year sentence, while her husband `Adel Na`imi (عادل نعیمی), is still in Raja’i Shahr prison, serving a 10-year sentence for his Bahai beliefs.

Mrs. Farahani was arrested by security agents on July 10, 2012, along with her husband. Their son Shamim was arrested a few days after his parents. After two months of interrogation in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, she was released on bail of 100 million tumans (equivalent then to 66,500 euro; 81,600 US dollars). She was sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court. She and her son began their sentences on May 11, 2014.

In December, 2015, Mrs. Farahani was allowed a 7 day prison furlough and was able to meet her husband and son in Rajai Shahr Prison. In December 2016, Mrs. Farahani was transferred to hospital and operated upon, after she lost her balance, fell and broke her right elbow. She suffers from severe arthritis in the arms and neck.
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Hana Kushkabaghi granted conditional release

HRANA, February 6, 2018.

Hana Kushkabaghi ( هنا کوشکباغی ) from Gonbad-e Kabus, was released from the “integrated prison’ there On February 5, after serving one third of her sentence of one year and nine months. Her release is conditional. She began her sentence on October 11, 2017, but the time she was detained before her trial would also be counted.

She was one of 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were arrested on October 17, 2012. They were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism) in Golestan Province. She was originally sentenced to 9 years, but this was reduced by the Review Court.
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Eyman Rashidi released after his three-year imprisonment in Yazd

Human Rights in Iran, February 2, 2018.

Mr. Eyman Rashidi (ایمان رشیدی) was released from prison in Yazd on February 2. He and his wife Shabnam Motahed (شبنم متحد) 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.
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Sima Kiani begins her one-year sentence in Shahr-e Rey

Iran Press Watch, February 1, 2018.

On January 27, 2018, Sima Kiani (سیما کیانی), a Bahai resident of Shahr-e Rey, was tried and convicted on the charge of propaganda against the regime, and sentenced to one year in prison by the Shahr-e Rey Revolutionary Court. A source close to Ms. Kiani’s family reported, “At noon yesterday, Sima was sentenced to one year in prison at the Shahr-e Rey revolutionary court. After the end of the session, Sima was arrested and transferred to jail.”

Ms. Kiani was arrested by Security Forces for the first time on March 8, 2017 and had been out on bail of 200 million Tomans (equal to $45,000) since early April 2017. It is said that at the time of her arrest. all of Ms. Kiani’s books, articles, CDs, as well as her personal computer, were confiscated by Security Forces.
~~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled in Kashan

Human Rights in Iran, undated (circa January 18, 2018).

Neda Eshraqi Borujeni (ندا اشراقی بروجنی), a student of computer science at the University of Kashan, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. On December 18, 2017, she was contacted by the University security office [a branch of the Ministry of Intelligence], and she went to the office on December 23. There, she was asked to write, on a form they provided, that she was a Bahai, and to sign it. Her student card was then confiscated and she was barred from the student dormitory and the University’s web site for students. She was not given a written statement that she had been expelled, but was told that she had been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs and should pursue the matter with the National Organization of Educational Testing.
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Arrest in Karaj for an unpaid fine

Iran Press Watch, January 18, 2018.

According to HRANA, on January 15, 2018, Faramarz (Hooshang) Sabet-Rasekhi {فرامرز (هوشنگ) ثابت راسخ}, a Bahai living in Karaj, was arrested and sent to prison by the Law Enforcement Office of the Governmental Sanctions Court of Alborz Province. The arrest occurred when Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi appeared at the court, with his business associates and attorney, to inquire about payment of a 50 million tuman fine ($15,000) which resulted following the unjustified forced closure and sealing of his place of business, in November 2016, by government officials. Upon his appearance, Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi was subjected to mistreatment by employees of the court and arrested.

Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi’s business has remained closed since November 2016; he and his business associates have not had the means to raise the funds to pay the fine.

A source informed of Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi’s situation, told the HRANA the following:

“In November 2016 ‘Negah Glasses’, the place of business of partners Iraj Sabet-Rasekhi (ایرج ثابت راسخی), Houshang Sabet-Rasekhi and Ashkan Yousefi (اشکان یوسفی
بعنوان شریک ), located on the Second Fardis Circle in Karaj, along with more than thirty other businesses belonging to other Bahais, was shut down by various governmental oversight officers with various excuses.”

“The business unit of Mr. Sabetrasekhi, with about 31 years of experience and a stellar reputation and no wrongdoing, was shut down and sealed in November of 2016, by the Office of Governmental Sanctions of Alborz Province. This, while Article 62, Paragraph A, B, and C of the Sanctions Law on smuggling of contraband states that the shutting down of the trade unit is illegal for the first offense and even for the second offense within a period of one year, even if the crime has been proven by the appropriate court, it is still illegal (to shut down the business). Considering that the (above) business unit was not a wholesale store, but was instead a retail business, and all of the goods at the place of business had a distinct price tag, and associated invoice from domestic suppliers, the incident of business closures are indicative of the existence of a setup.”

“Over the past year, invoices, which all were issued by domestic companies, were provided to the court. However, after about a year and a half of forced closure of the business with an inventory of 850 glasses frames, where all accompanying domestic purchasing receipts had already been provided (to the court), and although the owners were not even the importers of the goods, and contrary to Article 62, Paragraph C which states: ‘if the owner of the business unit has committed three violations within a year, only upon committing the third violation and after being proven guilty in the court, the place of business can be shut down for only 6 months’, the court unjustly ordered them to pay a fine of 50 million tumans. This verdict was confirmed in the Appeals Branch of the Sanctions Court of the Province of Alborz.”

Regarding the arrest of Mr. Sabetrasekhi, this source told HRANA, “Over the past year, Mr. Iraj Sabet-Rasekhi and Mr. Ashkan Yousefi, as business partners, have been in difficult economic situation along with their families, due to the closure of their business. The illegal nature of the court proceedings has been brought to the attention of the authorities of the Province and the country, but unfortunately no response has been issued. January 15, 2018, with only five more days until the due date of the imposed fine, Mr. Houshang Sabet-Rasekhi as the business manager, and Mr. Ashkan Yousefi as his business partner, along with their attorney went to the office of Implementation of governmental sanctions to inquire about the method of payments of the fine, where they encountered harsh behavior of the authorities, and Mr. Faramrz Sabet-Rasekhi was detained due to his inability to pay the heavy fine imposed by the court.”

It should be noted that Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi’s brother, uncle and brother-in-law were executed by the Iranian government during the early years of the 1979 revolution, due to their religious beliefs as Bahais. The family was then living in the village of Fereydoun in the vicinity of Isfahan. Because of their Bahai beliefs, all the family’s properties were confiscated by the government and Mr. Sabet-Rasekhi was ultimately forced to leave the area due to the threat to his life.
~~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled from Razi University of Kermanshah

HRANA, January 11, 2018.

Sadaf Vajdani (صدف وجدانی), a student of architectural engineering, was expelled from Razi University of Kermanshah because of her Bahai beliefs. She was notified of her expulsion just before the beginning of the first term examinations.
~~~~~~~~~

Behzad Dhabihi leaves prison in Sari

HRANA, January 12, 2018.

Behzad Dhabihi Mahforujaki (بهزاد ذبیحی ماهفروجکی ), a Bahai from Sari, has been released from prison at the end of his six-month sentence. He was originally sentenced to one year in prison and two years in internal exile, but this sentence was reduced by the Court of Review to six months in prison. It is not clear whether the internal exile was also annulled. He was convicted in the Islamic Court (that is, not in a criminal court) in Sari on a charge of propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith, although at the court sitting the charges were presented as “propaganda against Islam and the Quran.” He begin serving his sentence on September 4, 2017.

Mr. Dhabihi has been arrested four times in the last six years, and shops he ran have been shut down three times in the same period. On February 22, 2016, his shop in Sari was closed by the authorities, and remains closed despite efforts by his family to reopen it.
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18 Bahai-run businesses in Tabriz allowed to reopen

HRANA, January 10, 2018.

Eighteen Bahai-run businesses in Tabriz that had been closed down by the authorities were allowed to re-open on January 10, following a court order. It would appear that they are among the Bahai businesses in East Azerbaijan province that were closed by the authorities in late December. Of these, three were allowed to reopen soon after, and the new move appears to mean that all Bahai-run businesses are now operating normally.
~~~~~~~~~

Eight Bahai businesses in Chabahar reopen

HRANA, January 7, 2018.

Eight Bahai-run businesses in the southern city of Chabahar were allowed to reopen on January 7, 68 days after they were closed by the authorities there, but Bahai-run businesses elsewhere in the Sistan and Baluchistan Province remain closed. The businesses are named as optician’s shops of Habib Tauhidi (حبیب توحیدی), Ahmad Ali Shaukati (احمد علی شوکتی) and Bahadar Kamju (بهادر کامجو), the glass-cutting workshop of Roushan Barqi (روشن بارقی), a stationary shop run by Adharakhsh Barqi (آذرخش بارقی ), a building supplies shop belonging to Behrouz Gholamreza’i (هروز غلامرضایی) and the electrician’s business of Bijan Gholamreza’i (بیژن غلامرضایی) and a computer supplies shop run by Andalib Taudi`i (عندلیب تودیعی). They were sealed by the authorities on October 31, 2017. At that time, 18 Bahai-run businesses in Zahedan, four in Iranshahr and three in Saravan were also closed.

Bahadar Kamju and Roushan Barqi (along with four others) were recently sentenced to three years in prison for “membership of the deviant sect.”
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Wafa Rasti free on bail in Isfahan

HRANA, January 4, 2018.

Wafa Rasti (وفا راستی), a young Bahai living in Isfahan, was released on bail on January 2. He was arrested on December 27, at the same time as his friend Mo`in Namjuyan (معین نامجویان) was released on bail.
~~~~~~~~~

Imprisoned Bahai teacher told to repent in exchange for furlough

Center for Human Rights in Iran, January 5, 2018.

The authorities At Tehran’s Evin Prison have told imprisoned Bahai educator Azita Rafizadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده), that she will only be considered for furlough if she apologizes for teaching online classes in computer engineering to members of her faith.

“The prison authorities said she must sign a statement to repent for her work and promise that she will not work there again,” a family source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 3, 2018. “But Azita said she has done nothing to repent for. She said she is proud of her work and if she went back in time she would do it again.”

Since October 2015, Rafizadeh and her husband Peyman Koushk-Baghi have been behind bars for teaching at the Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), an online learning service that is banned in Iran. Relatives are raising their eight-year-old son.

“For the Iranian New Year [March 21, 2017], Azita was granted furlough for six days but she returned to prison three days later. They told her she had committed a violation and never granted her furlough again,” said the source, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“The prison authorities said they had made a mistake granting her furlough the last time,” said the source, adding that they claimed Bahais are not eligible for temporary leave.

Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.

Iran’s Constitution does not recognize the Bahai faith as an official religion. Although Article 23 states that “no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief,” followers of the faith are denied many basic rights as one of the most severely persecuted religious minorities in the country.

Bahais are also denied access to higher education in Iran, either by being banned from entering university or being expelled without a proper explanation once enrolled.

Rafizadeh, 35, is a former BIHE graduate 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 Moghisseh 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 source told CHRI that the imprisoned couple’s son, Bashir Koushk-Baghi, is being raised by another Bahai family. “He knows his parents are in prison for a noble cause,” added the source. “He sees his father and mother as heroes.”
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Hammid bin Haidarah sentenced to death in Yemen

Al-Arabiyya, January 2, 2018.

Houthi militia in Yemen have sentenced Bahai detainee Hammed Kamal Mohammed bin Haidarah (حامد كمال محمد بن حيدرة) to death on charges of disseminating the beliefs of his faith and spying for Israel. The judgment issued by the Houthi-controlled Criminal Court in Sanaa also confiscated his funds and ordered the closure of all Bahai centres in the country. He has been detained since December, 2013.

Amnesty International responded with a statement that, “Hamid Haydara … is a prisoner of conscience who has been tried on account of his conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities as a member of the Baha’i community. This sentence is the result of a fundamentally flawed process, including trumped up charges, an unfair trial and credible allegations that Hamid Haydara was tortured and ill-treated in custody. It is also part of a wider crackdown on critics, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Bahai community that is causing entire families to live in fear for their safety and the safety of their loved ones.”

In late September, the United Nations Human Rights Council, following a unanimous vote, called for the release of all Bahai detainees in Yemen. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion said earlier that the persecution of Bahais in Iran had been reflected in the pattern of persecution that this group is facing in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which is controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia. Militias have abducted dozens of Bahais. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (ONCHR) has estimated that there are about 2000 Bahais in Yemen, in several Yemeni provinces.

Mr. bin Haidarah is also referred to as Hamid Mirza Kamali Sarvestani (حامد ميرزا كمالي سروستاني), indicating that his ancestors came from Sarvestan, in Iran. In an earlier report, the Bahai World News Service stated that Mr. bin Haydara was born on Socotra Island in Yemen. His father, a physician, moved to Yemen from Iran in the 1940s and was granted Yemeni citizenship by the Mahra Sultan of Qishn and Socotra, in recognition of his service to the poor. Yemeni citizenship was passed down to his son. The Sultan gave Mr. bin Haydara’s father his Yemeni name as an honor and in recognition of his respect for his adopted country.
~~~~~~~~

July 30, 2018

Ruhiyyeh Nariman and Farzad Delaram begin prison sentences


Shahrvandyar, July 28, 2018. –

In the last few days, Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nariman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) have been summoned to begin serving their prison sentences in Shiraz. The summons, sent via their bail agent, allows them one month to present themselves to prison. As previously reported, they were originally sentenced to five years in prison, but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Farzad Delaram.

They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

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

 

June 20, 2018

Sentences reduced for Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and Farzad Delaram


Shahrvand-yar, June 19, 2018. –

The Review Court has reduced the sentences of Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), Bahais from Shiraz, who were initially sentenced to five years in prison for their Bahai beliefs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman is now sentenced to two years and six month in prison and her husband to one year in prison. They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

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

March 20, 2018

2017 7 to 12

Filed under: — Sen @ 11:00

July to December 2017

Numerous Bahai businesses closed in East Azerbaijan Province, three allowed to reopen

HRANA, December 30 and December 27, 2017.

On December 25 and 26, two more Bahai-run businesses in Tabriz were closed down by the authorities, and many others were issued warnings of impending closure. These two businesses were run by Behnam Aqabala’i (بهنام آقابالایی), who sold household necessities, and `Ali-Reza Aqabala’i (علیرضا آقابالایی), who provided wire windings for electric motors. On December 28, three more Bahai business premises in Tabriz were sealed, bringing the total of recent closures in Tabriz to 18. These three businesses were a reading-glasses repair workshop run by Siamak Rouhani ( سیامک روحانى), an optician’s assembly shop run by Behnam Shukohi (بهمن شکوهى), and the unused business premises of Aziz Nourdel (زیز نوردل).

On the same day, three of the 18 recently closed businesses were allowed to reopen. They were the optical dispensary of Shahryar Khodapenah (شهریار خداپناه), and optical retail shop run by Nader Nourmuhammadi (نادر نور محمدى) and a women’s clothing shop run by Parham Sabari ( پرهام صابرى).

At present about 90 Bahai businesses in East Azerbaijan Province are sealed by the authorities, who have used arbitrary economic discrimination as a means of pressuring the Bahais to convert to Islam, especially during the term of President Rouhani. In addition to those mentioned above, these include (for those who can read Persian) the businesses of:

تورج میثاقی، کامبیز میثاقی (عینک فروشی)، شیوا عیسی خانی (آرایشگاه)، پیام ظفریاب (عینک فروشی)، محمد حکمران (فروش پلاسکو)، انیس حکمران (تعمیر عینک)، فرهاد نباتی (عینک فروشی)، عنایت ملایی (عکاسی)، بهنام شفیعی (فروش لوازم آرایشی)، نوید ایقانی (عینک فروشی)،و بهروز عیسی خانی (لوازم خانگی)
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New arrest in Isfahan, while Mo`in Namjuyan is released

HRANA, December 27, 2017.

Mo`in Namjuyan (معین نامجویان), who was arrested in his home in Isfahan on December 13, was released on bail on December 27, while one of his friends, Wafa Rasti (وفا راستی), aged 21, was arrested.
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Bahai student expelled from Azad University in Kashan

Iran Press Watch, December 25, 2017.

According to the reports by Baha’i Campaign, Paria Foroughi (پریا فروغی) was expelled from the Azad University of Kashan due to her belief in the Bahai Faith.

Ms. Foroughi was expelled by the President of Azad University of Kashan, after having studied Psychology for three semesters.

Ms. Foroughi shared the following:

“I was sitting for an exam when I was summoned to the University President’s office, and there I became aware of this, and an extraordinary sorrow overcame me.”

“The head of the university objected to the incompleteness of my registration form, and then I saw the form, he said ‘you have completed everything but the religion field, why did you not write your religion?’ I said I might have forgotten. He said, ‘no, it was not accidental that you forgot your religion. What is your religion?’ I said, ‘Bahai.’ He said, ‘write it down’, and I did. He said, ‘You know that according to the Islamic Republic’s law, you do not have a right to education?’ I said ‘yes’, he said, ‘Then wrap-up what you need to do and resign.’ I said ‘no you are expelling me from the university, I did not resign. You are expelling me due to my belief.’”

“He then said, ‘This law is for everyone.’ I answered, ‘Excuse me, but students from all the other countries have the right to study at the universities in our country, and I have no right to study in my own country? Is this correct and fair in your opinion?’ He answered, ‘it is certainly correct’, and asked, ‘Why did you say you are a Baha’i, to cause your expulsion?’ I answered, ‘Truthfulness is the foundation of the Baha’i Faith’, he said, ‘You have no right to study at this university, nor any other universities in Iran’, and laughed. I answered, ‘I’m proud that I was expelled due to my pure belief, there is no problem.”
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One arrest in Isfahan

Campaign “No”, December 17, 2017.

Mo`in Namjuyan (معین نامجویان) was arrested in his home in Isfahan on December 13. Agents of the security forces searched his home and seized some personal items, and took him away. It is not known where he is being detained.
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Yashar Rezvani sentenced to 2 years in prison in Tehran

HRANA, December 20, 2017.

Yashar Rezvani (یاشار رضوانی), a Bahai from Kerman who has been living in Tehran, has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for “membership of the Bahai organisation.” At his trial,
Mr. Rezvani pointed out that no such organisation exists [in Iran, where it was banned and dissolved after the 1979 Revolution ~Sen], so he could not be a member. He was represented by a lawyer.

Mr. Rezvani was arrested in a raid on his home on August 3. After 33 days of solitary confinement and interrogation in Evin Prison, he was transferred to a general wing of the same prison. He was released on bail of 200 million tumans (56,000 euros; 64,000 $US), on September 28, pending his trial. He has 20 days to appeal, and his sentence has to be confirmed by the provincial Review Court.
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Negin Qadameyan begins her sentence

HRANA, December 18, 2017.

Negin Qadameyan (نگین قدمیان) a Bahai from Tehran who has been sentenced to five years in prison for educational crimes in relation to the Bahai Open University (BIHE), was arrested at
an airport on December 16, and has been taken to Evin Prison to begin her sentence. 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. After the trial they were freed on bail or with a pledge, until summoned to begin their sentences.
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Faribourz Baghi released in Yazd

HRANA, December 17, 2017.

Mr. Faribourz Baghi (فریبرز باغی ) was released from prison in Yazd after serving three years in prison (counting his original detention) on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the regime. He began his sentence on March 7, 2015. He is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012. The were released on bail one month later.

Mr. Baghi’s wife, Nateqeh Na’imi (ناطقه نعیمی), was also among those arrested in 2015, but received a shorter sentence and was released on parole on August 16, 2016.
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Music teacher detained in Yazd

HRANA, December 15, 2017.

Mrs. Heyva Yazdan-Mahdiabadi (هیوا یزدان مهدی آبادی), a Bahai living in Yazd, was arrested in late November. An informed source said she was arrested for teaching music to children. She was at first held incommunicado by the Ministry of Intelligence, and a few days ago was transferred to the central prison in Yazd, where – after the usual quarantine period – she was allowed to use the telephone to contact her family.
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Five Bahai-run businesses in Tabriz closed by authorities

Iran Press Watch, December 7, 2017.

According to reports from the Bahai Campaign, another Bahai-owned business was shut down by officials from the Office of Properties in Tabriz on December 6. The business was operated by Touraj Mithaqi (تورج میثاقی).

According to a source close to Mr. Misaghi, “Over the past few days, Mr. Touraj Misaghi has been interrogated by the security forces and the law enforcement forces, and finally after being summoned and interrogated again, they shut down his business yesterday.”

In recent days, the businesses of four other Bahais in Tabriz, Shahryar Khodapanah (شهریار خداپناه), Anis Hokmran (انیس حکمران) in partnership with his father, Kheirollah Bakhshi (خیراله بخشی) and Payam Zafaryab (پیام ظفریاب).

On December 3rd, Shahindokht Molavardi, a special assistant to the President of Iran on civil rights issues made a statement to the media insisting that she “has made some inquiries, from the President’s Legal Assistant, about the closure and the blocking the Bahai commercial activities, and an attempt is being made to move this conversation forward through legislation until a solution to this issue is found.”
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Four detainees free on bail in Kermanshah

HRANA, December11, 2017.

Burhan Tebyanian (برهان تبیانیان), Noghmeh Shadabi (نغمه شادابی), Soheila Shadabi (سهیلا شادابی ) and Farzaneh Amini ( فرزانه امینی) have been released on bail of 100 million tumans each (72,000 euros ; $US 84,000), pending their trial. They were arrested on December 2 and December 3, and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence. There is no indication of the charges they may face.
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Another arrest in Kermanshah

HRANA, December 4, 2017.

On December 2, security forces went to the home of Burhan Tebyanian (برهان تبیانیان), a Bahai living in Kermanshah, when he was not present. They searched it and seized some of his belongings. They then contacted Mr. Tebyanian and demanded that he should go to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence. When he did so, on December 3, he was arrested. The arrest of Mr. Teebyanian followed the arrest of three other Bahais in that city on December 2: they are Noghmeh Shadabi (نغمه شادابی), Soheila Shadabi (سهیلا شادابی ) and Farzaneh Amini ( فرزانه امینی). All four are still being detained, apparently by the Ministry of Intelligence.
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Behrouz Tavakkoli released after 10 years in prison

HRANA, December 5, 2017.

Behrouz Tavakkoli (بهروز توکلی), one of the seven “Yaran” who once functioned as national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran, was freed from Raja’i Shahr prison on December 4, at the end of a 10-year sentence which he served in full without any furlough. Two other members of this group, Fariba Kamalabadi (فریبا کمال آبادی ) and Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت) have already been released after serving 10 years in prison for their Bahai beliefs.

Mr. Tavakolli has a degree in psychology. After his military service (with a rank of Lieutenant) he was a social worker specialising in care for mental and physical disabilities, working in government service until the early 1980’s, when he lost his job. He became self-employed, with a carpentry workshop in Gonbad. He was at various times arrested and abused. On one accasion, before the arrest of the “Yaran” in 2008, he was held in solitary confinement without any charge against him for four months, which resulted in serious kidney and joint problems.

Background
The seven ‘Yaran’ served as national facilitators assisting the Bahais of Iran in their dealings with government organs until their arrest and imprisonment. They were appointed following the disappearance and execution of the elected leadership of the Bahais in Iran in 1980, and again in 1981. The elected leaders in many cities were also executed at that time, notably in Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd and Hamadan, where a total of 33 members of the local Bahai “Assemblies” were executed, in addition to the 18 members of the two national “Assemblies” and two assistants. In August 1983, the government declared the elected assemblies illegal. In accordance with the principle of obedience to government, the Bahais then dissolved all elected bodies. Nevertheless, seven former members of the national Assembly were arrested and executed. (see this Wikipedia article).

National and local facilitators were later appointed, principally because government bodies needed to have a Bahai representative to discuss necessary matters and to transmit government instructions to the Bahais, which were not publicised in the media. One of the most important tasks of the facilitators was to arrange for Bahai burials, as Bahais are often barred from burial in public cemeteries, and Bahai practice requires a coffin, which is not allowed in many public cemeteries.

On 5 March 2008, one of the Yaran, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت) – a schoolteacher and mother of two – was arrested having been summoned to the Iranian city of Mashhad to discuss some matters regarding a Bahai burial. Two months later, on 14 May, the other six Yaran were arrested in raids of their homes. Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi was one of these, the others being Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), Behrouz Tavakkoli (بهروز توکلی), and Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم).

After twenty months in prison without charge, a trial began on January 12, 2010, under Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای). Throughout their long wait for justice, the seven had received barely one hour’s access to their legal counsel, and suffered appalling treatment and deprivations, including psychological and physical hardship. They were charged with spying for Israel, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and the establishment of an illegal administration – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants. According to the defence lawyer, the charge of spying for Israel was based only on the fact that the Bahai properties in Israel are tax exempt. However Bahai properties are tax exempt in almost every country, and Islamic holy sites in Israel are tax exempt! The trial of the seven accused ended on 14 June 2010 after six brief sessions, characterized by their lack of due legal process.

The initial sentence of 20 years imprisonment for each of the defendants, met with outrage and condemnation throughout the world. One month later, the appeal court revoked three of the charges, including that of spying for Israel, and reduced their sentence to 10-year jail terms. In March 2011, the prisoners were informed that their original 20-year sentences were reinstated. In November, 2015, the 20-year sentences were again reduced to ten years. Despite repeated requests, neither the prisoners nor their attorneys have ever received official copies of the original verdict or the ruling on appeal.
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Three arrests in Kermanshah, and release of Peyman Qiami

HRANA, December 2, 2017.

Three Bahais living in Kermanshah were arrested by security forced on December 2. They are Noghmeh Shadabi (نغمه شادابی), Soheila Shadabi (سهیلا شادابی ) and Farzaneh Amini ( فرزانه امینی ). So far there is no information on the reasons and circumstances for the arrest.

On the same day, Peyman Qiami (پیمان قیامی), a Bahai who was arrested in Kermanshah about three weeks ago has been released on bail. While he was in detention there were strong concerns about his health, but this report does not say whether he was well at the time of his release.
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Nadia Adadeyan and Siamak Abdolhamidi bailed in Rasht

HRANA, November 22, 2017.

Siamak Abdolhamidi (سیامک عبدالحمیدی) and Mrs Nadia Asadeyan (نادیا اسدیان), a Bahai couple living in Rasht who were arrested on October 24 and November 11, respectively, have been released on bail from Lakan prison.
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Bahnam Salehi hospitalized in Birjand

HRANA, November 23, 2017.

As previously reported, Bahnam Salehi (بهمن صالحی), one of the Bahais arrested in Birjand on October 21, was released on bail on November 18. It is now reported that on his release he was immediately hospitalized because of broken blood vessels and blood clotting in his legs, resulting from poor conditions during his interrogation. He was still in hospital at the time of the report (November 23), and his condition was satisfactory. He suffers from varicose veins, and was interrogated for long hours while held in postures inappropriate for a person with this condition. He received no medical care in prison, despite his deteriorating condition.
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Shiva Rouhani granted early release from Gorgan prison

HRANA, November 26, 2017.

Shiva Rouhani (شیوا روحانی) has been granted conditional release from Amir Abad prison in Gorgan, after serving one third of her 18-month sentence. She began her sentence in early July this year: it appears that her time in detention following her arrest has also been counted. She is one of the 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were arrested on October 17, 2012, and initially given very heavy sentences. They were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism class) in Golestan Province. The heavy sentences were reduced by the Review Court to periods of 18 months or 21 months.
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Parivash Shoja`i granted conditional release in Gorgan

HRANA, November 22, 2017.

Parivash Shoja`i ( پریوش شجاعی ) has been granted a conditional release from Amir Abad prison in Gorgan after serving one third of her sentence of one year and nine months. She began her sentence on July 3, 2017. She had originally been sentenced to nine years in prison for collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism class) in Golestan Province. This sentence was reduced by the court of review to 21 months. In recent weeks 11 other Bahai prisoners in Golestan Province, most of them in Amir Abad prison, have been granted early conditional release. They are among 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were first arrested on October 17, 2012.
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Four detainees bailed in Birjand

HRANA, November 20, 2017.

Four more recent Bahai detainees have been freed on bail in Birjand. They are Sohrab Malaki (سهراب ملاكی), Sheyda `Abadi (شيدا عابدی), Maryam Mokhtari (مريم مختاری) and Simin Mohammadi (سيمين محمدی ). Bail was set at 50 million tumans (36,000 euros ; $US 42,000).

Khalil Malaki (خليل ملاكی), Bahnam Salehi (بهمن صالحی) and Saghir Mohammadi (ساغر محمدی) were released on bail a few days earlier. Firooz Ahmadi (فيروز احمدی) and Bijan Ahmadi (بيژن احمدی), arrested at the same time, remain in detention.
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Foad and Payman Yazdani granted conditional release in Rasht

HRANA, November 21, 2017.

On November 17, Foad Yazdani (فواد یزدانی) and his son Peyman Yazdani (پیمان یزدانی) were released from Lakan Prison in Rasht after serving three months of their 2-year prison terms. Their release is conditional.

They were accused of “participating in a propaganda campaign against the regime.” They were among four Bahais and three non-Bahais arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on May 26, 2015, in a campaign to stop the Shiah population doing business with Bahais. The non-Bahais were charged with “having links with Bahais.” In January and February 2015, over 20 Muslim residents of Rasht were summoned and threatened by the Ministry of Intelligence because of their relationships with Bahais. Those summoned were subjected to insults, humiliation and threats, and told that they are not allowed to associate or have any business dealings with Bahais. The Ministry of Intelligence also sought to obtain baseless statements from these people regarding the activities of the Bahais. The Bahais who were arrested had repair businesses and had customers who were not Bahais.
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Afif Na`imi again released for medical treatment

HRANA, November 20, 2017.

Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven imprisoned ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran), who is in the tenth year of his 10-year sentence, suffers serious health problems and has suffered from the lack of adequate medical care in prison. In the past month he has again been given prison furlough from Raja’i Shahr prison, near Tehran, for medical treatment relating to a heart condition. He was released in late October, on the basis of an opinion issued by the prison medical committee and with the agreement of the Public Prosecutor. An initial 15-day leave was extended by another 15 days because he was not fit for prison,and an evident need for treatment. In addition to his heart problems, he suffers from blood clots, lymph node problems and acute swelling of the throat.

On several occasions in recent years, he has been taken from prison to a heart disease hospital in Tehran for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. His health problems are described as “severe,” and the prison’s Medical Examiner has determined that he is not fit for prison because of his failing health. In 2016 he was granted a furlough for medical treatment which eventually extended to five months, returning to Rajai Shahr prison on January 28 this year.
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Three detainees bailed in Birjand

HRANA, November 18, 2017.

Khalil Malaki (خليل ملاكی), Bahnam Salehi (بهمن صالحی) and Saghir Mohammadi (ساغر محمدی) have been released on bail of 150 million tumans (36,000 euros ; $US 42,000). They were among nine Bahais who were arrested in raids of 15 Bahai homes on the morning of October 21. During the searches, officials seized mobile phones, laptops, and images and books relating to the Bahai Faith. Another Bahai, Shayda Abedi (شیدا عابدی), was arrested in Birjand on October 29.

Although the nine Bahais were arrested on a Bahai Holy day (marking the Birth of the Bab), it appears from the fact that many homes were raided that the Bahais had not gathered to celebrate the day, but were remembering the occasion separately in their homes.
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Three-year sentences for six Bahais in Sistan and Baluchestan Province

HRANA, November 18, 2017.

Bench 3 of the Revolutionary Tribunal in Zahedan has handed down three-year sentences to six Bahais from three cities in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan. All six are among the many Bahais whose businesses have been shut down by the authorities because they practise the Bahai Faith. The trial was held some time ago, and was announced on November 16 by Bench 3 of the Tribunal, led by Judge Muhammad-Reza Sardi (قاضی محمدرضا صردی ). The Revolutionary Tribunals, in which Bahais are usually tried, are a parallel system to the criminal courts in Iran. Trials before a Revolutionary Tribunal are closed to the public and provide summary justice, generally without a defense attorney.

The six Bahais, accused of membership of the “deviant sect,” are: Houshang Mokhtari (هوشنگ مختاری) of Saravan, Bijan Eslami-Mahdiabadi (بیژن اسلامی مهدی آبادی) of Khash, Ali-Muhammad Anvari-Aliabadi (علی محمد اَنوری علی آبادی) and three Bahais from Chabahar: Bahadar Kamuu (بهادر کامجو), Roushan Barqi (روشن بارقی) and Fahimeyyeh As-haq Nurabadi (فهیمه اسحاق نور آبادی), whose name was previously reported here as Fahemiyyeh Ashaqi (فهمیه اسحاقی). All six were arrested in early May, 2017, and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence. They were charged with undermining national security by membership of the Bahai community, but in the court’s ruling the charge was “membership of the deviant sect.” All six have denied undermining national security, and say they are persecuted simply because of their religious beliefs.
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One arrest in Kermanshah

Iran Press Watch, November 16, 2017.

According to the “No to persecution and imprisonment of the Baha’i compatriots Campaign,” Peyman Qiami (پیمان قیامی), a resident of Kermanshah, has again been arrested in connection with his Bahai beliefs. He was arrested by the judicial authorities when he responded to a summons to the Prosecutor’s office. This report suggests that another unnamed Bahai has also been summoned or arrested with Mr. Qiami.

On October 18, 2017, nine Bahais were arrested in Kermanshah, and later bailed (see this report) but Peyman Qiami was not named among this group.
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Hassan Momtazi begins a 5-year sentence for educational activities

HRANA, November 15, 2017.

Hassan Momtazi (حسن ممتازی), a teacher for the Bahai Open University (BIHE), has been arrested in his mother’s home in Shiraz. He was first arrested in 2011. He was one of ten Bahais associated with the BIHE who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013. His sentence was handed down by Judge Maqiseh (قاضی مقیسه) on February 25, 2014, and confirmed by the review court. It is thought that he will be taken to Evin Prison to begin his sentence.
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One arrest in Rasht, one released on bail

HRANA, November 13, 2017.

On November 11, Mrs Nadia Adadeyan (نادیا اسدیان) was summoned to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence and arrested. Her husband Siamak Pour-Abdolhamidi (سیامک پورعبدالحمیدی) was arrested in Rasht on October 24 and is still being held. She has been taken to Lakan prison, where her husband and at least two other Bahais are being detained. The other known Bahai detainees are Navideh Bakhshi (نویده بخشی) and Kevan Pezeshki (کیوان پزشکی). Mrs. Nazila Khanipour-Machiani (نازیلا خانی پور ماچیانی), also arrested, was released on bail on November 13.

The latest wave of pressure on the Bahais of Rasht began on September 11, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence conducted a series of orchestrated searches of at least eleven Bahai homes and two non-Bahai homes in Rasht, Rezvan-Shahr, Pareh Sar, and Manjil, all cities in Iran’s Gilan Province. A number of Bahais are reported to have been arrested at the time and released soon after.
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Mojdeh Zohori free in Gorgan

HRANA, November 11, 2017.

Mojdeh Zohori-Fahandezh (مژده ظهوری (فهندژ)) has been granted a conditional release from Amir Abad prison in Gorgan after serving one third of her sentence of 21 months. Her husband Farhad Fahandezh (فرهاد فهندژ) remains in prison. As previously reported, on October 14 five Bahai prisoners in Gorgan and one in Gonbad were released early under the same provision, and four others were released a few days prior to that. All eleven of those granted early release were among 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were first arrested on October 17, 2012.
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Three Bahai students who sought justice sent to prison

HRANA, November 8, 2017.

Mr. Sarmad Shadabi (سرمد شادابی), Tara Houshmand (تارا هوشمند) and Rouhiyyeh Safajou (روحیه صفاجو), aged 22, 21 and 21 respectively, have each been sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious human rights violator Judge Moqiseh (قاضی مقیسه). All three are students barred from tertiary education because of their Bahai beliefs, who pursued their constitutional rights to equal treatment through various legal means. They were arrested in Tehran on March 8, 2016.

Tara Houshmand was arrested by security agents in her home in Tehran, which was searched. She was one of a group of Bahais excluded from education who responded to a claim made in 2014, by Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, that Iranian authorities do not discriminate against Bahais, and challenging the Bahais excluded from education to send documentation. The Bahai students took their documentation to the authorities as requested, thus exposing Mr. Larijani’s lie. The story is detailed here.

Mr. Sarmad Shadabi was arrested at the Roudehen campus of the Islamic Free University, near Tehran. He was a signatory of a letter about the breaches of Bahais’ civil rights, written to a Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights. An interview with him, about his expulsion from University, was cited on the BBC Persian service.

Rouhiyyeh Safajou was arrested by 8 security agents posing as workers from the gas supply company who entered her home. She was one of a group of Bahai students excluded from tertiary education who met with Ali Reza Mahjoub (علی‌رضا محجوب), a reformist Member of Parliament, to argue for the right of education. The meeting was reported on this blog in September 2014. Mr. Mahjoub called the students terrorists and gunmen and expelled them from his office.

The three were summoned to appear in court six times, but court sittings were held on only two occasions. In the first sitting, Judge Moqiseh was absent and another Judge took his place. This Judge heard the accusations and defence, and issued a summons to the Prosecutor’s Office dealing with the defendants’ case to come to court and explain why they had been arrested [since they had not broken any law ~ sen]. However at the next sitting, on September 26 this year, Judge Moqiseh was present, as were the defendants and their lawyer. No representative from the Prosecutor’s office was present to explain why the defendants had been arrested. Judge Moqiseh reserved his judgement, and now, five weeks later, has announced the sentences of five years each on charges of undermining state security in the form of membership of the Bahai sect. The ruling contained no mention of the defence that had been presented, as if the defendants and their lawyer had not attended the court at all.
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Bahai-run computer repair shop closed in Karaj

HRANA, November 6, 2017.

A computer repair workshop in Karaj, run by Ramtin Ziba’i (رامتین زیبایی), has been closed down by the authorities, who claimed this was part of the drive against the black market in smuggled goods. It appears likely that the real reason is that Mr. Ziba’i is a Bahai, since it workshop does not sell products, he sells his labour and expertise in repairing computers.
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Dozens of businesses shut down in Sistan and Baluchistan region

HRANA, November 6, 2017.

A large number of Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan have had their premises sealed by the authorities because their owners closed them during the recent “Twin Holy Days,” the annual commemoration of the births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. The closures are said to have taken place “today” (i.e., November 6), in the cities of Zahedan, Zabol, Chabahar, and Iranshahr, and to have affected about thirty businesses.
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Another arrest in Rasht

HRANA, October 30, 2017.

Siamak Pour-Abdolhamidi (سیامک پورعبدالحمیدی) was arrested in Rasht on October 24, but his arrest was not previously reported here. He is being held in Lakan prison in Rasht. His home was one of those searched on September 11, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence with search orders from the Prosecutor’s Office conducted a series of orchestrated searches of at least eleven Bahai homes and two non-Bahai homes in Rasht, Rezvan-Shahr, Pareh Sar, and Manjil, all cities in Iran’s Gilan Province.
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Summary of recent closures of Bahai businesses

Payam News (Facebook), October 25, 2017.

At least 21 Bahai-run businesses in Mahshahr (Khuzestan Province) have been closed down by the authorities because they were closed on a Bahai Holy Day. It is notable that sixteen of these businesses were run by members of the Afshar family, an aluminum door and window supplier, a shop for locks and door fittings, a hardware shop, a drapery and a clothing store, two electric appliance shops, a TV showroom, two shops selling car parts and accessories, a workshop manufacturing goods from MDF wood and a supplier of ventilation equipment. An informed source said that only two Bahai-owned businesses in the city have continued to operate.

Another 28 Bahai-run businesses have been shut down in Shiraz, Gonbad-e-Kavus and Gorgan, along with 40 in the Province of Golestan.
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Two new arrests in Rasht

HRANA, November 3, 2017.

On October 31, Navid Bakhshi (نویده بخشی) and Kevan Pezeshki (کیوان پزشکی) were summoned to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence in Rasht, where they faced an initial interrogation before being arrested and taken to an unknown place. As of November 3, their families still did not know where they are being held or why.

On September 11, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence with search orders from the Prosecutor’s Office conducted a series of orchestrated searches of at least eleven Bahai homes and two non-Bahai homes in Rasht, Rezvan-Shahr, Pareh Sar, and Manjil, all cities in Iran’s Gilan Province. Agents seized personal items such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, memory cards, desktop computers and religious books, paintings and photographs of Bahai religious figures. Tow of the homes searched at that time belonged to Navid Bakhshi and Keyvan Pezeshki, who have now been arrested.
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Eight more detainees bailed in Kermanshah

HRANA, November 4, 2017.

Following the release of Sepideh Ahrary (سپیده احراری), on October 18, her eight fellow detainees have also been bailed. Mrs. Ahrary, who is pregant, was released on bail of 100 million tumans (31,000 euros, $US 33,000). The report does not specify the amount of bail for the remaining eight — Azzatollah Shahidi (عزت الله شهیدی), Feruzan Amini (فروزان امینی), Kambiz Moradipour (کامبیز مرادی پور), Amrullah Eslami (امرالله اسلامی), Nematullah Shadabi (نعمت الله شادابی), Sino Rasouli (سینو رسولی) and Amir Kadivar ( امیر کدیور). They were arrested in home raids on the morning of October 18, and detained at the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence. These and other recent arrests in Iran apparently relate to Bahais commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the Iranian who founded the Bahai community.
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Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi summoned yet again

Payam News, October 28, 2017.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, has again been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in Detention Facility 100. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted — a most unusual event — by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence. On March 19 this year she was taken to Adel Abad prison to begin serving this 2-year sentence, but according to the latest report she was released on furlough (not previously reported to my knowledge), and now has been summoned for interrogation on unspecified new charges.

[ It would appear that there is a tussle going on between factions of the governing apparatus. The Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz, disturbed by her unusual acquittal, seems determined to show who is in charge by detaining her repeatedly ~ Sen ]
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Two arrests in Tehran, one free on bail in Kermanshah

Payam News, October 28, 2017.

On the evening of October 26, Negin Tadrisi (نگین تدریسی) and Sufeya Mobini (سوفیا مبینی), two Bahais living in Tehran, were arrested in Ms. Mobini’s home by security agents. The home was searched, and they were then taken along as the agents went to Ms. Tadrisi’s home and searched that. The agents seized laptops, mobile phones, books and photographs. They two detainees were taken to Evin Prison, where Ms. Tadrisi was allowed to make a phone call on the following day, to inform their families.

Sepideh Ahrary (سپیده احراری), one of nine Bahais arrested in Kermanshah on October 18, has been released on bail. She is pregnant. Bail was set at 100 million tumans (31,000 euros, $US 33,000).
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One arrest in Birjand

Iran Press Watch, October 31, 2017.

On October 29, at 7:00 a.m., Shayda Abedi (شیدا عابدی), a 26-year-old Bahai residing in Birjand in Iran’s Southern Khorasan Province, was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. So far, the reason for her arrest and where she has been transferred has not been communicated to her family. Following her arrest, authorities also searched her home.
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Fariba Kamalabadi released after 10 years in prison

Payam News, October 31, 2017.

Fariba Kamalabadi (فریبا کمال آبادی ) one of the seven “Yaran” (National facilitators for the Iranian Bahai community) has been released at the end of her ten-year prison sentence. The seven “Yaran” were arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 20 years in prison each in 2010 for “espionage,” “propaganda against the state,” and “organizing and expanding an illegal group.” The trials were held in a “revolutionary court” (i.e., not in a criminal court) chaired by the notorious human rights violator Judge Moqiseh (قاضی مقیسه). Eight and a half years into their sentences, they were reduced to ten years. Shortly after that, Fariba Kamalabadi was granted a five-day leave from Tehran’s Evin Prison following the birth of her grandchild. There was an uproar in the government-controlled media when a one-time fellow prisoner, Faezeh Hashemi visited Kamalabadi at her home. Mrs. Kamalabadi was initially detained in Evin Prison in Tehran. On July 29, 2010, all the Yaran were transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison (Gohar Dasht prison), about 50 kilometers West of Tehran. On May 6, 2011, when the women’s block at Raja’i Shahr was closed, she and Mahvash Sabet were transferred to Gharchak Varamin prison, 40km south of Tehran, where conditions are particularly inhumane. Two weeks later she was again transferred to Evin Prison, where she remained until yesterday.
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One arrest in Tehran; homes searched in Tabriz and Kerman

Payam News, October 25, 2017.

On October 19, Parisa Sadeqi ( پریسا صادقی) was arrested in her home in Tehran by 20 agents from the Ministry of Intelligence (at least 15 male and 5 female agents). There was a gathering at her home, and the agents took written statements from all the guests, but treated them politely.

Eight Bahai homes in Kerman have been thoroughly searched in recent days. Agents seized documents and personal effects and warned some of the Bahais not to leave the city until they are summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence. They were told they had no right to have any meetings, and homes where a meeting took place would be sealed. [In the past, officials had allowed meetings in Bahai homes of a small number of acquaintances ~ Sen]

Officers from the Ministry of Intelligence also searched six Bahai homes in Tabriz, seizing books and communications devices, and issuing summons to two Bahais.
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Afshin Heiratiyan arrested again


Payam News, October 23, 2017.

Afshin Heiratiyan (افشین حیرتیان), a Bahai children’s rights activist, was arrested on October 20. Security agents in plain clothes, without documentation, came to his house and searched it, seizing his personal effects and communication devices. It is believed he has been taken to Evin Prison in Tehran. The reason for his arrest is not known, but in recent weeks some 20 Bahais have been arrested in Kermanshah, Birjand and Rasht.

Mr. Heiratiyan has previously served a 4-year term in Raja’i Shahr prison, near Tehran. Mr. Heiratijyan wrote and published various articles about child labour and World Children’s Rights Day. He was arrested on June 3, 2010, and charged with propaganda against the regime. He began his prison term in Evin prison in Tehran on August 20, 2011. While he was in Evin prison, he was pressured to provide a televised “confession.” He was released on June 16, 2015.
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Kamran Shahidi free on bail in Tehran

Payam News (Facebook), October 20, 2017.

Kamran Shahidi (کامران شهیدی), a Bahai from Karaj, was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran on October 18. Bail was set at 500 million tumans (123,00 euros ; $US 145,000). He was held in solitary confinement for 21 days and interrogated closely. Mr. Shahidi was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 25. His business, as a gold trader, was also shut down, and its entire holdings of gold — about 2 kilograms — were seized, along with some currency. They have not been returned to him. The arresting agents also went to the home of his sister and daughter and seized all the gold, along with books and pictures relating to the Bahai Faith.

Azzatollah Shahidi (عزت الله شهیدی), who was arrested in Kermanshah on October 18, is the brother of Kamran Shahidi.
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Three Bahai prisoners released after five years

Payam News (Facebook), October 22, 2017.

On October 21, Fu’ad Fahandezh (فواد فهندژ), Payam Markazi (پیام مرکزی) and Siamak Sadri (سیامک صدری) were released from Raja’i Shahr prison at the end of five-year sentences. All three are Bahais from Gorgan. As previously reported, Kourush Ziari (کوروش زیاری), from Gonbad-e Qabus, was released on October 19, while Fahrmand Sana’i ( فرهمند ثنایی) and Kamal Kashani (کمال کاشانی ), from Gorgan, were released on September 20, also at the end of 5-year sentences. All were charged with propaganda against the regime, collaborating with hostile governments and and membership of the secret Bahai organisation.
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14 Bahai-run businesses closed in Shiraz Province

Payam News, October 22, 2017.

Fourteen Bahai-run businesses in the cities of Shiraz, Gonbad-e Qabus, and Gorgan have been closed by the authorities. Five were closed in the Shiraz, eight in Gonbad-e Qabus, and one in Gorgan. The office of public places has claimed they had no business licences: the Bahai owners have responded by posting photographs of their business licences, bearing the yellow stam from the office of public places.

The business owners in Shiraz are Riazullah Khadem (ریاض اله خادم), Isma`il Foruzan (اسماعیل فروزان), Farshad Farzandi (فرشاد فرزندی), Varjavand Mostaqim (ورجاوند مستقیم) and Mostafa Sha`erzadeh (مصطفی شاعرزاده). In Gonbade-e Qabus the owners are Koroush Ziari (کوروش زیاری), owner of two sealed businesses, along with Mrs. Hamideh Ziari (حمیده زیاری), Iraj Roshani (ایرج روشنی), Houman Ta’ef (هومن طائف), Sassan Sabeti (ساسان ثابتی), Shahram Tahdhib (شهرام تهذیب) and Farhad Fana’ayan (فرهاد فنائیان). The Guild authorities in Gonbad had issued a warning that shops should be kept open on last Saturday and Sunday, which were Bahai Holy Days which Bahais take free from work, where possible. The Bahai-run business that was closed in Gorgan was an optometry supplies shop run by Mehran Khalkhali (مهران خلخلی ).

In recent days, at least 40 Bahai businesses in Golestan were warned that they face closure if they take the Bahai Holy Days free.
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Nine arrests in Birjand

Payam News, October 22, 2017.

On the morning of October 21, security forces raided 15 Bahai homes in Birjand and arrested nine Bahai. Those arrested were Bahnam Salehi (بهمن صالحی), Khalil Malaki (خليل ملاكی), Sohrab Malaki (سهراب ملاكی), Saghir Mohammadi (ساغر محمدی), Simin Mohammadi (سيمين محمدی ), Maryam Mokhtari (مريم مختاری), Bijan Ahmadi (بيژن احمدی), Firooz Ahmadi (فيروز احمدی) and Sheyda `Abadi (شيدا عابدی). During the searches, officials seized mobile phones, laptops, and images and books relating to the Bahai Faith.
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Kourush Ziari released after 5 years without furlough

Payam News (Facebook), October 20, 2017.

Kourush Ziari (کوروش زیاری), a Bahai from Gonbad-e Qabus in North-eastern Iran, was released on October 19 at the end of a 5-year sentence, most of which he served in Raja’i Shahr prison near Tehran. He was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in Gonbad-e Qabus on October 17, 2012, and interrogated at the Ministry of Intelligence interrogation centres in Gorgan and then in Gonbad. In the company of six other Bahai prisoners in Gorgan, he was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran and finally to Raja’i Shahr prison, on December 22, 2012. All seven were charged with propaganda against regime, collaborating with hostile governments and and membership of the secret Bahai organisation. He never received any prison furlough, despite being imprisoned far from his home. In July, 2015, he was taken to a hospital for treatment required because an injury he had at the time of his arrest had been left untreated, leading to diverse ailments. Two other Bahai men in this group, Fahrmand Sana’i ( فرهمند ثنایی) and Kamal Kashani (کمال کاشانی ), from Gorgan, were released on September 20.
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Nine arrests in Kermanshah

Payam News (Facebook), October 19, 2017.

On the morning of October 18, security forces raided the homes of nine Bahais living in Kermanshah, which they searched thoroughly. They arrested nine Bahais: Azzatollah Shahidi (عزت الله شهیدی), Feruzan Amini (فروزان امینی), Kambiz Moradipour (کامبیز مرادی پور), Sepideh Ahrary (سپیده احراری), Amrullah Eslami (امرالله اسلامی), Nematullah Shadabi (نعمت الله شادابی), Sino Rasouli (سینو رسولی) and Amir Kadivar ( امیر کدیور). It is thought that they are being detained at the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence. Sepideh Ahrary is pregnant. Most of those detailed have been arrested previously (according to this report ~Sen). Azzatollah Shahidi and Feruzan Amini are the father and mother of Iqan Shahidi (ایقان شهیدی), a Bahai from Kermanshah, was released from Raja’i Shahr prison on January 1, 2017, at the end of a five-year sentence for his activism for equality of educational opportunities in Iran.
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One new arrest in Rasht, Gilan Province

Payam News (Facebook), October 17, 2017.

Nazila Khanipour-Machiani (نازیلا خانی پور ماچیانی), a Bahai resident of Rasht, has been arrested on the order of the Prosecutor’s Office, and taken to an unknown place. The reason for her arrest is not known.

On September 11, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence with search orders from the Prosecutor’s Office conducted a series of orchestrated searches of at least eleven Bahai homes and two non-Bahai homes in Rasht, Rezvan-Shahr, Pareh Sar, and Manjil, all cities in Iran’s Gilan Province. Some Bahais were arrested, and released on bail a few days later. The present arrest is thought to be related to these arrests, in which case Mrs. Khanipour has probably been taken for interrogation to the Ministry of Intelligence offices.
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Five Bahai prisoners released early in Gorgan, one in Gonbad

Payam News (Facebook), October 15, 2017.

Puna Sana’i ( پونه ثنایی), Fahrnaz Tabayanian-Sana’i (فرحناز تبیانیان( ثنایی)), Hana Aqiqiyan (هنا عقیقیان), Rufeya Pakzadan ( روفیا پاکزادان), and Behnam Hassani (بهنام حسني) have been granted conditional release from Amir Abad prison in Gorgan. They have served a little one third of their sentences. Rufeya Pakzadan was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while the other four had 21-month sentences.

The name of Fahrnaz Tabayanian-Sana’i was previously reported as Farah Tebyanian-Sana’i (فرح تبیانیان (ثنائی).

Kamelia Bideli (کاملیا بیدلی), from Minudasht, has also been granted conditional release from prison in Gonbad. She was serving an 18-month sentence.

As previously reported, four other Bahais were granted conditional early release from prison in Gorgan a few days ago. All ten of those freed were among 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were first arrested on October 17, 2012.
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Stock of Bahai optician in Karaj expropriated

Payam News (facebook), October 12, 2017.

The entire stock of an opticians shop formerly run by Farrokh Bandi (فرخ بندی) and Behnam Ellahi (بهنام نبی اللهی), two Bahais living in Karaj, was seized by the authorities on October 11. The shop has been sealed since November 9, 2016. After seizing the contents of the shop, it was resealed. The owners were forced to gather their property together and load it into a rental van, which they were required to pay for. The property confiscated by the government included glasses and accessories, and equipment for making glasses.
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Hana Kushkabaghi begins her sentence in Gorgan

Payam News (Facebook), October 12, 2017.

Hana Kushkabaghi ( هنا کوشکباغی ) from Gonbad-e Qabus, was summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence and taken to Amir Abad prison in Gorgan on October 11, to begin a sentence of one year and nine months for her Bahai beliefs. She was originally sentenced to 9 years, but this was reduced by the Review Court. She was one of 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were arrested on October 17, 2012. They were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism) in Golestan Province.
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Four Bahais given early release from prison in Gorgan

Payam News (Facebook), October 7, 2017.

Nazi Tahqiqi (نازی تحقیقی), Houshmand Dehqan Yazdeli (هوشمند دهقان یزدلی), Mariyam Dehqan Yazdeli (مریم دهقان یزدلی) and Soudabeh Mehdinezhad ( سودابه مهدی نژاد) have been granted conditional early release from prison in Gorgan. They are among 20 Bahais who were arrested in the Province in October, 2012. These four were all sentenced 18 months in prison. Soudabeh Mehdinezhad began his sentence on June 19, 2017, while the other three began their sentences on June 13.
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Five years for five Tehran Bahais; good news in Mashhad

Payam News (Facebook), October 4.

Navid Aqdasi (نوید اقدسی), Yahvah Haqiqat Mehlabani ( یاور حقیقت مهلبانی), Helia Moshtaq (هلیا مشتاق), Nava Monjazeb Qamasari (نوا منجذب قمصری) and Negar Baqeri Tari’ (نگار باقری طاری ) have been sentenced to five years in prison for their Bahai beliefs. The sentence, in the “magistrate’s” court will be reviewed in the Provincial Court of Review. They were among 20 Bahais who were arrested in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, 2015, two of whom were released within a few hours.

Following their arrests, they were held for interrogation for over a month, and then abiled. Bail for Mrs. Monjazeb, Baqeri and Haqiqat was set at 100 million tumans (31,000 euros, $US 33,000). I do not know the bail for the other two
detainees in Tehran.

In April this year it was announced that Khoshayar and Shayan Tafazolli ( خشایار و شایان تفضلی ) and Sina Aqdas-zadeh ( سینا اقدس زاده ), Bahais from Mashhad, were sentenced by Judge Mansouri (قاضی منصوری) to one year in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime. However the latest report — probably revised following the Court of Review’s ruling, but the report says it comes from the Revolutionary (ideological crimes) Court — is that Shayan Tafazolli was acquitted, and the other two received a one-year sentence to be suspended for five years.
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Mariya Kothari sentenced in Qorveh

Payam News, October 4, 2017.

Dr. Mariya Kothari (ماریا کوثری), a Bahai from Qorveh, who was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 4, 2016, has been sentenced to one year in prison, a fine of five million [tumans], and two years in internal exile in the town of Torbat Heydarieh. Mrs. Kothari was accused of teaching the Bahai Faith. She has been free on bail since October 18, 2016. After her arrest in Qorveh she was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities first in Qorveh and then in Sanandaj.

Mrs. Kothari’s husband and son do not have Iranian nationality and have been required to leave Iran. Her husband lives in Ecuador and her son in Australia.
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Behnam Rouhanifard free on bail

Payam News (Facebook), October 3, 2017.

Behnam Rouhanifard (بهنام روحانی فرد), a Bahai singer-songwriter, was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran today. He was arrested when agents stopped his car in the streets of Tehran on September 3 this year. He was taken to his home, which was searched, and agents filmed the search and all the details of the house. On July 4 this year he was stopped at Tehran Airport, on his return from a European concert tour, and questioned by security officials. Personal effects such as his passport, a mobile phone, laptop and books were seized, and he has been trying unsuccessfully to get these returned. In October 2009, Mr. Rouhanifard was sentenced to 9 months in prison for singing Bahai songs(links to Youtube). He served his sentence in Yazd Prison.
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New arrest in Tehran

Payam News (Facebook), September 29, 2017.

Kamran Shahidi (کامران شهیدی), a Bahai living in Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 25. His business, as a gold trader, was also shut down, and its entire holdings of gold were seized. They then went to the home of his sister and daughter and seized all the gold, along with books and pictures relating to the Bahai Faith. Four days later, the attempts of his family to find out where he is being detained have been fruitless.
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115 Bahai students barred from universities in Iran

Payam News (Facebook), September 19, 2017.
Radio Farda, September 20, 2017

As the results of the annual University Entrance Examination come in, at least 115 Bahai students are known to have received the message “Dear applicant, there’s a flaw in your dossier. Please contact the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency.” The number actually excluded this year is thought to exceed 200 — some for the first time, some who have been excluded in the past and who have taken the examination again this year. The number of Bahais excluded or expelled from tertiary education since the 1979 revolution is believed to exceed 100,000. Iran’s educational apartheid policy was formalised in a 1991 decree which also sets out other measures intended to block their “progress and development.”

This was the second year that Foad, a Baha’i applicant, received the message. “I have not yet visited the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency this year. However, last year I had a long discussion with one of the agency’s officials, who told me I was denied entry on the orders of security agents of the Intelligence [Ministry],” he told Radio Farda.

Foad quoted the official as saying, “Therefore, we cannot let you enter a university,” and added, “When I asked the reason behind it, the official said, ‘They have disqualified you because of your faith.’ ”

The answer was not good enough for Foad. “I asked the official to respond to my enquiry in writing. He wrote down my address and telephone number, saying, ‘We’ll send your request to the Intelligence [Ministry] and will let you know if we receive an answer.’ ”

“I never received any answer,” Foad added.

Another Iranian Bahai, Omid, who successfully participated in this year’s national university admission contest but was denied entering a university, told Radio Farda, “Yesterday, I went to the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency. They introduced me to an expert who was there exclusively for Bahai student cases. They didn’t respond to my enquiry in writing but told me I do not have the right to enter a university because of my belief in the Baha’i faith.”

A Bahai nicknamed Maryam, who used to study at Tehran’s Beheshti University, told Radio Farda, “They did not deliver me anything in writing. They simply closed down my site and, after two semesters, tried me in absentia and expelled me from the university. I called them to find out why I was deprived of continuing my studies. They did not tell me why.”

Maryam had no choice other than to visit the Response Unit of the Appraisal Agency. “There, I discussed my case with the members of the Central Appraisal Board. They said, ‘You know that you are a Baha’i and Bahais do not have the right to education.’ I was deprived of further education solely because my school of thought is different. They insisted the only way for me to return to the university was to write a letter saying I had converted to Islam and rejected Baha’ism.”

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Raids and arrests in Gilan Province

Iran Press Watch, September 20, 2017.

On September 11, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence with search orders from the Prosecutor’s Office conducted a series of orchestrated searches of at least eleven Bahai homes and two non-Bahai homes in Rasht, Rezvan-Shahr, Pareh Sar, and Manjil, all cities in Iran’s Gilan Province.

Agents seized personal items such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, memory cards, desktop computers and religious books, paintings and photographs of Bahai religious figures.

According to reports from HRANA, the residences of Shahab Taeed (شهاب تایید), Keyvan Pezeshki (پزشکی), Siamak Pour-Abdolhamid (سیامک پورعبدالحمید), Aref Aghdasi, Hamid Rahimi, Farajollah Farhangi (فرهنگی) and Ramez Heravi (رامز هروی) were searched in the city of Rasht. At the time of the search of Ramez Heravi’s residence, no one was at home. Agents used force to break into the house and proceeded to search it in the absence of the residents and seize personal belongings including a computer and all the books.

The residences of Jahangir Hasani (جهانگیر حسنی), Bahador Hasani (بهادر حسنی) and Babak Sayyahi (بابک سیاحی) in Rezvan-Shahr and Pareh Sar were among the houses searched. The Hosseinzadeh family residence in Manjil was the last location searched by agents in Gilan province on September 11th.

Susan Badam (Farhangi) ( سوسن بادام) and Farida Asadpour (Rahimi) (فریدا اسدپور رحیمی), two Bahai women, were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence without any reasons or charges. They were transferred to Lakan Prison in Rasht after undergoing administrative proceedings. As of September 20, they are still in the prison, and have been provided with no clear directive or next steps.

On the same day, it was reported that Agents searched the residences of two non-Bahai families whose identity is being protected, who are acquaintances of the Bahais whose houses were searched. In the process two women were detained. They were taken to the Detention Center of the Intelligence Ministry and were eventually released on September 19. It is not unusual for non-Bahais in Iran to be arrested or intimidated simply for being acquaintances of Bahais.
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Fahrmand Sana’i and Kamal Kashani released after 5 years in prison

Payam News, (Facebook), September 20, 2017.

Fahrmand Sana’i ( فرهمند ثنایی) and Kamal Kashani (کمال کاشانی ), Bahais from Gorgan who have served five years in Raja’i Shahr prison near Tehran for their Bahai beliefs, were released on September 20. They were among about 20 Bahais who were detained in a wave of arrests on about October 17, 2012. A few weeks later they were transferred from Gorgan to Evin Prison in Tehran for interrogation, and then to Raja’i Shahr prison. They have had no prison furlough during their time in prison.
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Behzad Dhabihi begins 6-month sentence in Sari

Payam News (Facebook), September 14, 2017.

Behzad Dhabihi Mahforujaki (بهزاد ذبیحی ماهفروجکی ), a Bahai from Sari, was arrested on September 4 and taken to prison to begin serving his sentence. He was originally sentenced to one year in prison and two years in internal exile in Heris County in Eastern Azerbaijan (the report says, Western Azerbaijan), but this sentence was reduced by the Court of Review to six months in prison. It is not clear whether the internal exile was also annulled. He was convicted in the Islamic Court (that is, not in a criminal court) in Sari on a charge of propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith, although at the court sitting the charges were presented as “propaganda against Islam and the Quran.” The text of the court’s judgement shows it was prepared by the Ministry of Intelligence in Mazandaran Province.

Mr. Dhabihi has been arrested four times in the last six years, and shops he ran have been shut down three times in the same period. On February 22, 2016, his shop in Sari was closed by the authorities, and remains closed despite efforts to reopen it.
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Mahvash Sabet freed after 10 years in prison

Bahai World News Service, September 19, 2017.

After enduring ten years of unjust imprisonment and harsh treatment, the prison sentence of Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت) has come to an end. She is one of the seven members of the former leadership group of the Bahais in Iran known as the Yaran, who were jailed on false charges.

During her confinement in Iran’s notorious Evin and Rajai Shahr prisons, Mrs. Sabet distinguished herself by the loving care and kindness she extended to her fellow prisoners. Journalist Roxana Saberi, who shared a cell in Evin with Mrs. Sabet and fellow Yaran member Fariba Kamalabadi, has written about how their compassion touched the lives of other inmates, as well as a touching recollection of how they cared for her during her hunger strike.

While in prison, Mrs. Sabet, a former teacher and school principal who also worked with the National Literacy Committee of Iran, found solace in writing poetry. Her remarkable compositions were collected and adapted into English, published in a volume entitled Prison Poems in 2013 that was widely praised for its literary quality and profound subject matter.

As has occurred with prisoners of conscience, writers, thought-leaders, and poets who have been wrongly imprisoned throughout history, the power of her ideas and beliefs was only amplified by her persecution.

Mrs. Sabet, now 64 years old, was arrested in March 2008. The six other members of the Yaran were imprisoned in May of the same year. All seven members were held without communication for weeks, were subjected to solitary confinement, and suffered appalling treatment and deprivations, including psychological and physical hardships.

The other imprisoned members of the Yaran are also expected to complete their sentences in the coming months.
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Bahai couple taken from Shiraz prison

Payam News (Facebook), September 12, 2017.

Varqa Mehdizadeh (ورقا مهدیزاده) and Shiva Ekhlaqi (شیوا اخلاقی), a Bahai couple serving 8-month sentences in Adel Abad prison in Shiraz, have been taken from the prison. When their families arrived for a scheduled meeting, prison officials told them they had been transferred ‘outside the prison.’ It is probable that they have been taken to the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) intelligence unit in Shiraz.

On February 14, 2016, they were arrested with violence in the street, and held for 17 days of interrogation before being released on bail of 150 million tumans (40,000 euros ; $US 46,000). They were charged with publishing photographs on the internet, photographs actually posted by someone else, who used their [photographic] studio. After their arrest, their business was also shut down by the authorities. They are also facing charges for taking photographs at a wedding where men and women were present together. They began their sentences on July 3, 2017.
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Bahai business reopens in Birjand

Payam News (Persian, facebook), 11 September 2017.

A Bahai-run business in Birjand has been allowed to reopen, nine months and 3 days after it was closed by the Bureau of Public Places. The technical systems shop belonging to Mr. ‘Ali Zamani (علی زمانی) was sealed by the authorities on December 6, 2016 because he is a Bahai, and closed his shop to observe the Bahai Holy Days. The authorities revoked the business licence before closing it down. The business was allowed to reopen on September 4.
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Mehta Iqani free on bail

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), September 10, 2017.

Mehta Iqani (مهتا ایقانی), a Bahai from Mashhad who was arrested on September 2, has been released on bail after 9 days in detention. There is still no information about the reason for her detention.
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Bahai businesses in Ahvaz allowed to reopen

Payam News, September 10, 2017.

Fourteen businesses run by Bahais in the city of Ahvaz, closed by authorities since July 9, were allowed to reopen on September 7, following an order given orally by the Bureau of Public Places in the city.
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Four Bahais sentenced in Kerman

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), September 5, 2017.

Amrullah Khalqiyan (امرالله خالقیان), Ehasanullah Amiri-nia (احسان الله امیری نیا), Nima Rajab-zadeh (نیما رجب زاده) and Arman Bandi (آرمان بندی) have been sentenced to five years on charges of undermining internal security. The hearings were held on May 22 and August 1. Mr. Khalqiyan was arrested on the morning of December 21, 2016, and the other three were arrested on February 8, 2017. Following the first hearing, which they attended in handcuffs and shackles, they were released on bail of 100 million tumans each (24,000 euros ; $US30,000). In the first hearing, they were tried separately in trials ranging from 2 hours to 20 minutes. The sentences are subject to confirmation by the Court of Review.
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Nava Kholousi released from prison in Mashhad

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), September 5, 2017.

Nava Kholousi (نوا خلوصی) was released from Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad on September 4, at the end of her sentence of four and a half years for “membership of the Bahai organisation, participation in illegal Bahai activities, and propaganda in favour of the Bahais and against the regime of the Islamic Republic.” She began her sentence on March 17, 2014 along with her sister Nika Kholousi (نیکا خلوصی) who is still serving a six-year sentence [This report says, six and a half years] in Vakil Abad prison. They were first arrested on September 6, 2012, and were detained for 185 days before being released on bail. Their father (منوچهر خلوصی) has been arrested six times because of his Bahai beliefs, and imprisoned several times. In 1999 he was sentenced to death, but the verdict was later declared invalid. He is at present free.
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Bahai student expelled in Shiraz

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), September 3, 2017.

On September 3, Laya Sho`arzadeh (لعیا شاعرزاده) was expelled from Hafez University in Shiraz, where she was in the third semester of a course in architectural draughtsmanship, because of her Bahai beliefs. The University is a non-governmental tertiary institute.
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The singer Behnam Rouhanifard arrested in Tehran

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), September 3, 2017.

Eight members of the security forces followed Behnam Rouhanifard (بهنام روحانی فرد) in a street in Tehran and detained him. Mr. Rouhanifard is a Bahai and a professional singer-songwriter. On October 12 2009 he was arrested in Yazd and sentenced to 9 months in prison for singing Bahai songs. He served his sentence in Yazd Prison. He is presently in the process of moving house: when he was stopped on the street he told the agents his new address and was taken there, and the agents searched the house. He was then arrested and taken away, presumably to Evin Prison, as his family were told to go there tomorrow. On July 4 this year he was stopped at Tehran Airport, on his return from a European concert tour, and questioned by security officials. Personal effects such as a mobile phone, laptop and books were seized, along with his passport, and he has been trying unsuccessfully to get these returned.
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New arrest in Mashhad

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), September 2, 2017.

Mehta Iqani (مهتا ایقانی), a Bahai from Mashhad, was arrested today following a four-hour interrogation at the Police Intelligence offices there. She had responded to a summons to go to the office. She is being held in the women’s section of the police jail. She had been summoned three times in the past week, when she was in Tehran and unable to attend. The police have not explained the summons to her or her family, as they themselves have no information.

Mrs. Iqani’s husband Arman Mukhtari ( آرمان مختاری ) was one of a number of Bahai youths arrested in February 2012, for participating in a handcraft exhibition in Mashhad to raise funds for the disadvantaged. They were eventually charged with propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith, and membership of the Bahai community. Mr. Mukhtari was sentenced to 6 month in prison, and has served his sentence. On August 17 this year he was again arrested, and was freed on bail of 50 million tumans (12,000 euros ; $US15,000) four days later.
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Battambang House of Worship opened

Bahai World News Service, September 1, 2017.

Some 2,500 people have gathered this morning at a conference to mark the historic dedication of the local Baha’i House of Worship in Battambang, Cambodia. The program also included remarks by several officials from the national and provincial governments as well as the architect and representatives of the Baha’i community.

The Universal House of Justice addressed a letter to those assembled for the opening. The opening of a new House of Worship intended to serve a local community “is a historic occasion, prefiguring the appearance of many more local as well as national Mashriqu’l-Adhkars (Houses of Worship), in obedience to Baha’u’llah’s commandment … “Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions.””

Full story: BWNS
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West Azerbaijan Provincial Security Council seeks re-opening of Bahai businesses

Payam News, August 31, 2017.

Forty days after the closure of 23 Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh), the Provincial Security Council for the West Azerbaijan Province has issued a request that they be allowed to re-open. However the Office of Public Places in the city of Urmia has not acted on this, and has instead extended their closure for one week. One leather clothing shop run by Rita Latifi (ریتا لطیفی) has been allowed to re-open, after being transferred [to a non-Bahai proprietor ?].
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Diyollah Elahian free on bail in Kashan

Payam News (Persian, facebook), August 28, 2017.

As noted yesterday, Diyollah Elahian (ضیاالله الهیان) was expected to be freed on bail along with Amrollah Manuchihri (امرالله منوچهری), but some difficulty prevented this. Today he too has been released, on bail of 300 million tumans (75,000 euros ; $US 90,000).
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Three Bahais in Kashan free on bail

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), August 26, 2017.

Amrollah Manuchihri (امرالله منوچهری), a Bahai from Kashan, was released on bail today after 56 days in detention. Bail was set at 300 million tumans (75,000 euros ; $US 90,000). He was arrested in Kashan on July 3, along with Diyollah Elahian (ضیاالله الهیان), and taken to Isfahan. On August 2 they were returned to Kashan Prison, but were denied telephone calls and prison visits from their families. After some time their files were sent to the Revolutionary Court (for prosecution). Mr. Elahian was also due to be released on bail, but some difficulty prevented this. Faridun Falah (فریدون فلاح) and Neda Payandeh (ندا پاینده), a Bahai couple living in Kashan, who were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on July 17 have also been released on bail.
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Saba Golshan gets prison furlough

Payam News (Facebook, Persian), August 26, 2017.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ), who is serving a 3-year sentence in Isfahan prison for his Bahai beliefs, has been granted a 3-day furlough. He suffers from severe cardio-pulmonary disease. Around the end of 2015 he was granted a 2-month medical furlough for surgery and other treatment, but a request to extend this, in February 2016, was refused. In August 2016 he was again released for medical treatment, and re-imprisoned on a date I have not found.

On August 1, 2011, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided many Bahai homes in the cities of Yazd, Isfahan, Kerman and Arak, and arrested 17 Bahais. Two weeks later, three more Bahais were arrested in Yazd. These 20 Bahais have been given sentences totaling 58 years (or 78 years, of which 20 years are suspended sentences) by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd. Mr. Golshan’s sentence is 4 years, of which one year is suspended. He began his sentence on August 12, 2015.
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New Pilgrim Reception Centre opens in Haifa

Bahai World News Service, August 25, 2017.

A new Pilgrim Reception Centre has opened this month, ready to receive a growing number of pilgrims and visitors at the spiritual and administrative center of the Baha’i Faith.

The three-story stone structure, which is located immediately to the west of the Shrine of the Bab, will receive the season’s first pilgrim group in October, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah.

The new Reception Centre makes it possible for several hundred pilgrims to visit the Baha’i World Centre at the same time. [Full story here]
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Keyvan Rahimiyan is out of prison

Payam News (Facebook, Persian), August 25, 2017.

Keyvan Rahimiyan ( کیوان رحیمیان), a Bahai from Tehran imprisoned for teaching students at the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison. He was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of 97 million rials (6,300 euro, 7,900 US dollars) for educational crimes, by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای). Mr Rahimiyan is a graduate in the field of psychology. He was not granted any prison furlough during his imprisonment, but was once taken to a hospital outside the prison for treatment and a checkup relating to problems with his eyes and ears.
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Neda Mokhtari released on bail

Payam News (Facebook, Persian), August 23, 2017.

Neda Mokhtari (ندا مختاری ), a 21-year-old Bahai from Mashhad, was released on August 21. Bail was set at 50 million tumans (12,800 euros ; $US 15,000). She was arrested in her home on August 17, when agents from the Intelligence branch of the Police (the NAJA) came to her home and searched it, seizing personal effects, books, mobile phones and a laptop computer.
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One new arrest in Mashhad

Payam News (Persian, Facebook), August 17, 2017.

Neda Mokhtari (ندا مختاری ), a 21-year-old Bahai from Mashhad, was arrested in her home on August 17. Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence came to her home and searched it, seizing personal effects, books, mobile phones and a laptop computer. They arrested here and took her away. Her family believe she is being held in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Mashhad.
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Scam version of ‘Church and State’ advertised

Editorial, August 12, 2017.

I have a google alert for references to my book Church and State, which is self-published as a Master’s dissertation. This morning the alert tells me that “Virgin Virtual Group” is offering a download version. I have not released any electronic version myself, but there’s nothing to stop someone — living where copyright is not enforced — scanning a book and selling the digital version for profit. In this case it’s a free download, which is rather insulting, but a profit can also be made from advertising on the pages that offer free downloads. But I would expect such people to start at the top of Amazon’s fastest-selling books list and work down, rather than starting at the bottom, as in this case. That arouses suspicion.

The URL goes to virginvirttualgroup.co.uk, but the link in fact takes you to booksco.co. That’s the first warning sign: I was out of there immediately.

A scan down the results of a google search on “Booksco” (without clicking any links) reveals that it is a bookseller with bad grammar. That’s another warning sign, although I am sure that there are some quite nice people who don’t know the difference between “if” and “whether.”

Scamadvisor says that booksco.co is a very new site located in the United States, not in the UK, and adds “but the real location is being hidden.” The owner is in Panama. Its trust score is 29%, less than a U.S. President on a bad day. So as far as I am concerned, it’s case closed: this is fake Church and State. It may take your money or your bank details or provide you with free malware, but it won’t deliver you my dissertation.

It is very likely that there is a real bookstore called Books Company, based in Oconamowoc, which is a real town. But don’t use this site or any information on it to contact the real bookshop.
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Amrollah Manuchihri and Diyollah Elahian returned to Kashan prison

Payam/Bahai News, August 7, 2017.

Amrollah Manuchihri (امرالله منوچهری) and Diyollah Elahian (ضیاالله الهیان) (pictured on the right), two Bahai residents of Kashan who were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence there on July 3, and taken to Isfahan for questioning, were taken back to Kashan on August 2. They have not been allowed visits or contact with their families, and there is no indication of what the charges may be.
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Four more Bahais businesses closed in Urmia

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), August 3, 2017.

Four more Bahai-run businesses in Urmia (Urumiyyeh) have been closed down by the authorities in recent days, bringing the total in the past two weeks to 23. The authorities have not given any response to the Bahais who have made enquiries about the closures.
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Sohayl Haqqdoust arrested, released on bail in Sari

Bahai News (Facebook, Persian), July 30, 2017.

Sohayl Haqqdoust (سهیل حق دوست) has been released from the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Sari after posting bail. His arrest, not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, took place on July 25, when five agents entered his home without his permission and arrested him for “media reports about the closure of his business.” The agents were accompanied by officials known as the Ansar Hosseini (انصار حسینی), charged with religious affairs in the Province of Mazandaran. Mr Haqqdoust was released on bail on July 29.

In April, 2016, 15 Bahai-run businesses in Qaemshahr were shut down by the authorities because they were closed for the Bahai holy day of the first day of Ridvan. One of these businesses belonged to Mr. Haqqdoust. On the morning of November 8, 2016, he was one of five Bahais from Qaemshahr who were arrested at the Mazandaran Provincial Governor’s Office, where Bahais had gathered to seek interaction with public officials regarding the closure of Bahai businesses.
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Threat to shut down a Bahai business in Karaj

Iran Press Watch, August 1, 2017.

Following the widespread closures of Baha’i businesses in recent weeks, the Office of Public Property of Alborz Province has sent a letter to Mehran Naseri, a Baha’i resident of Karaj, requesting the removal of his personal items.

According to the website of Human Rights in Iran, a letter sent to Mehran Naseri (مهران ناصری،) by the Alborz Provincial Office has warned this Bahai citizen to remove any perishables or personal items and leave his business within 10 days. He [also?] owns several commercial spaces which are rented by Muslims. According to Payam News, recently agents of the Office of Public Property have summoned those Muslims who rent business space from Bahais to the government sanctions office.

Recently at least 25 businesses in Urumiyeh and one business in Shahrud have been sealed because they were closed on a Bahai religious holiday. In addition, a number of Bahai business owners in Khorramshahr have also been summoned for questioning by the Office of Public Property of Khuzestan Province.

Over the past year, more than 300 Bahai businesses have suffered the closure of their businesses solely because they closed on Bahai religious holidays and for their belief in the Bahai Faith.
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Sentences slashed for Ruhiyyeh Zaynali and Samir Khalousi

Human Rights in Iran (Persian), July 31, 2017.

The review court in Kerman has cut the senteces of Ruhiyyeh Zaynali (روحیه زینلی) and her husband Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) from five years each, to five months for Mr. Khalousi and 33 days for Mrs. Zaynali. They have already served this time in detention, while they were held by the Ministry of Intelligence, so they will not have to present themselves for imprisonment. Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) was arrested during a violent raid on the their home on December 30, 2016, and interrogated for 152 days before being released after posting bail of 100 million tumans (29,000 euros; $US 31,000). Ruhiyyeh Zaynali (روحیه زینلی) was arrested in Kerman on January 3, and released after posting the same amount in bail. After her arrest she was held for almost two months of interrogation by the Ministry of Intelligence, before being transferred to the Kerman Provincial Prison. The couple have two children, aged 7 and 16.
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Nine Bahais acquitted by review court in Zahedan

Human Rights in Iran (Persian), July 31, 2017.

Eight Bahais who had previously been sentenced to five years in prison have been acquitted by the Review Court in Zahedan, along with another Bahai, the 19-year old Tabsim Hosseini (تبسم حسینی), who had been sentenced to one year in prison. The other eight are named as Siavash Rahimi (سیاوش رحیمی), Shayan Rahimi (شایان رحیمی), Shoeleh Ram (شعله رام ), Bahram Ruhani (بهرام روحانی), Farshid Dadvan (فرشید دادور), Heyda Yazdan (هیدا یزدان), Mehroush Ramdani (مهرنوش رمضانی), Amelia Hokiman (امیلیا حکیمان) — the mother of Tabsim Hosseini. The arrest and sentencing of Shayan Rahimi and Shoeleh Ram were not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

Farshid Dadvar, Amelia Hokiman and Tabsim Hosseini were arrested by agents from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence on November 6, 2016. On November 21, Tabsim Hosseini was released on bail from the Ministry of Intelligence jail. Mr. Dadvar, who is from Yazd, had previously been detained for two months after being arrested (with two other Bahais) in Zahedan on December 23, 2012. It would appear that on that occasion no charges were laid against him. On November 25, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence searched the home and workplace of Bahram Ruhani in Zahedan, seizing books, CDs, casette tapes, and a mobile telephone. On the following morning Mehroush Ramdani, Heyda Yazdanand Siavash Rahimi were arrested in their homes in the same way.
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Manuchher Khalousi released in Mashhad

Human Rights in Iran (Persian), July 31, 2017.

Manuchher Khalousi (منوچهر خلوصی) was released from Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad on July 31. He began serving a 1-year sentence on October 6, 2016.

He was arrested on November 29, 2013, when security forces raided his home, for the sixth time since the 1979 Revolution. At his trial, on July 8, 2014, he was charged with “acting against national security by giving interviews with foreign media.” However no interviews with Mr. Kholousi are known, in either Iranian or foreign media. The court therefore adjourned the sitting for lack of evidence, and a judge was appointed to gather evidence for new charges. A court then sentenced him to six years in prison on charges against of propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. The review court reduced this sentence to one year.

His daughters, Nika and Nava Kholousi (نیکا و نوا خلوصی ), are serving sentences of six years and four and a half years, respectively, on charges of membership of the Bahai organisation, participation in illegal Bahai activities, and propaganda in favour of the Bahais and against the regime of the Islamic Republic.

In 1999, Mr. Kholousi was sentenced to death for being a Bahai. This sentence was later reduced to one year in prison, by which time he had already served 19 months in prison.
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Killers of Farhang Amiri sentenced

Bahai News, July 26, 2017.

The two brothers who murdered Farhang Amiri (فرهنگ امیری) in Yazd have been sentenced: the elder brother to eleven years in prison and two years’ exile, and his younger brother, as accessory to the murder, to half this sentence.

Mr. Amiri, 63, was attacked outside his home on 26 September 2016 in the city of Yazd. On the evening of the murder, the two youths, who had come to his residence the night before under the pretense of wanting to purchase his vehicle, returned to ask for Mr. Amiri. When he came to the door, they stabbed him repeatedly. He died before reaching hospital.

The two brothers, residents of Yazd, were apprehended by local shopkeepers as they tried to run away and were delivered to the police. During their subsequent interrogations and court hearings, they admitted to having killed Mr. Amiri because he was a Bahai. In their defence hearing, on July 10, they defended their actions by citing verses from the Quran.
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Numerous Bahai business sealed in Urmia and other centres

Bahai News (facebook), July 24, 2017.

Local authorities in Urmia (Urumiyyeh) have sealed the doors of at least 19 Bahai run business in Urmia, on the excuse that the businesses were closed on July 9 this year, when Bahais around the world remembered the martyrdom of the Bab in Tabriz, in 1850. The closures began on July 19, and is continuing. Notices of forthcoming closure have been issued progressively, affecting 6 businesses each day. At first the owners were given 10 days notice of closure, but later only 4 days. The agents concerned have said that more than 100 businesses run by Bahais in Urmia will be closed, which would amount to about 90 percent of the Bahai-run businesses.

In a separate report, Bahai News reports that since July 9, Bahais who have businesses in Khorramshahr have been individually summoned, sometimes by telephone, to the Ministry of Intelligence and threatened with closure. They were asked why their businesses were closed on July 9, and told that they must inform the authorities of any closure 1 week in advance. The summonses are still occurring, and have thus far seen 9 Bahais threatened with the closure of their businesses.

In the past year, over 300 Bahai-run businesses across Iran have been closed by the authorities, on the excuse that they closed their doors on a Bahai Holy Day. Yet this is perfectly legal: business owners in non-essential sectors are allowed to close their businesses for up to 15 days in the course of each year, without notifying the authorities.

The shops and workshops that have reported closed thus far, in Urmia, belonged to Vahab Moghaddam (وهاب مقدم), Navid Morghi (نوید مرغی), Siavash Abdi (سیاوش عبدی), Fardin `Owza’i (فردین اعضائی), Faridoun `Owza’i (فریدون اعضائی), Aynullah Aqdasi (عین الله اقدسی), Sina Derakhti (سینا درختی), Chengir Shahmohammedi (چنگیر شاه محمدی), `Erfan Samandari (عرفان سمندری), Ali Latifi (علی لطیفی), Elham `Abdi (الهام عبدی), Arman Nourzai (آرمان نورزی), Nasr Panahi (ناصر پناهی ), Omid Latifi (امید لطیفی), Rita Latifi (ریتا لطیفی), Sassan Karimi (ساسان کریمی), Bonyan Maqsudi (بنیان مقصودی), Qorban Najafzadeh (قربان نجف زاده) and Mr. Suleimani (سلیمانی).

In addition, a business run by Farhad Joushnei (فرهاد جوشنی), a Bahai living in Shahrud, has recently been closed.
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Two new arrests in Kashan

Payam News, July 20, 2017.

Faridun Falah (فریدون فلاح) and Neda Payandeh (ندا پاینده), a Bahai couple living in Kashan, were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on July 17. The agents went to their place of work, which they searched. The couple were then arrested and taken to their home, which was also searched. The agents seized their books, pictures, mobile telephones and pictorial carpets, before taking them back to their business where they were asked to open the safe, and seized all the documents it contained. The two searches lasted about 6 hours. They were taken away, probably to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility.

On July 3, Amrollah Manuchihri (امرالله منوچهری) and Diyollah Elahian (ضیاالله الهیان), two other Bahai residents of Kashan, were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence, and are still being detained, although their names are not recorded as prisoners and no charges have been laid.
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Noushin Salekian and Farideh Abdi free on bail

Bahai News (Facebook), July 17, 2017.

Noushin Salekian (نوشین سالکیان) and Farideh Abdi (فریده عبدی), two Bahai detainees from Shahin Shahr, in Isfahan Province, were released on bail on July 16. They were arrested on June 13, 2017, when they reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Shahin Shar in response to a summons. Their homes had previously been searched. After two hours of interrogation, they were arrested and transferred to the Dolatabad prison, where the female prisoners are held. They were charged with “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the regime.”
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Wilmette Institute signs agreement with the United Theological Seminary

Wilmette Institute, June 30, 2017.

On June 13, 2017, the Wilmette Institute completed an articulation agreement with the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (UTS), located in New Brighton, Minnesota. The agreement allows seminary students to take a group of core courses on the Bahai Faith for graduate credit. These include:

Bahai History, 1844–Present (HS 305)
The Bahai Faith, a Comprehensive Introduction (RL 370)
Bahai Theology: Concepts of God, Revelation, Manifestation, Creation, Humanity, Covenant, and Afterlife (PT390)
The Bahai Faith and Social Change (SC 305)
Bahai Institutions, the Community, and the Individual (CA 342)
Baha’u’llah’s Revelation, a Systematic Survey (ST331).

Other courses can be included as arranged. Two students have already signed up for ST 340: Introduction to the Kitab-e Iqan, Baha’u’llah’s second most important work.

The United Theological Seminary will include the Wilmette Institute’s core courses in its catalog and will list a group of Wilmette Institute faculty as UTS adjunct faculty. UTS will reimburse the Wilmette Institute for its tuition costs. Bahai students have two options. They can register as special students with UTS, pay UTS tuition, and take individual Wilmette Institute courses for credit. Or they can consider three Master’s degree options that UTS has designed: a Master of Divinity in Interfaith Chaplaincy, a Master of Arts in Leadership for Social Transformation, and a Master of Arts in Religion. All three professional degrees can include up to six courses on the Bahai Faith, and, because UTS is an accredited institution of higher education, its students are eligible for student loans and other financial aid. The Master of Arts degree is available only online, and the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Leadership in hybrid/online format. An interfaith chaplaincy degree qualifies one to serve as a chaplain in hospitals and prisons and in the military. Such a profession is a remarkable opportunity for Bahais to serve the spiritual needs of people in challenging personal circumstances. It does not require ordination as clergy.

Now that graduate study involving significant Bahai content is possible through UTS, it will be much easier for the Wilmette Institute to help students arrange for credit for Wilmette Institute courses from other universities. The Institute hopes that Bahai undergraduates will take advantage of this new opportunity to include one or more Bahai courses as part of their Bachelor’s degrees.
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Afnan library online collection opened to the public

Editorial, July 17, 2017.

The Afnan library has announced the opening of its online collection, including the 99 volumes of the Iranian National Bahai Archives. The works available now include:

English and other European-language publications (books and journals (the latter being ‘The Dawn,’ an important journal containing hitherto unnoticed translations by Shoghi Effendi).

Unpublished English language manuscripts (academic theses)- 1 item

Persian and Arabic publications (4 books and 2 journals)

Persian and Arabic manuscripts, being the very important INBA series (99 volumes plus indexes), and other materials are promised.

There are also categories of “English and other European-language unpublished papers” and “other materials” which have no content yet. News about the Afnan Library will continue to be published on their Facebook page.
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Eleven Bahai businesses closed in Ahvaz

Iran Press Watch, July 15, 2017.
Indifferent to a recent verdict of the Administrative Bureau of Justice, the shops and businesses of at least 11 Bahais who closed their businesses in observance of a religious holiday (between the 8th and 10th of July) were closed and sealed by authorities in the city of Ahvaz. According to the law, citizens are permitted to close their place of business for up to 15 days a year without any particular or specified reason. However this law doesn’t seem to apply to Bahai citizens. Whenever Bahais close their businesses in observance of their religious holidays in which work should be suspended, authorities are quick to move in and seal the businesses.

Rostam Derakhshan (رستم درخشان), Sam Derakhshan (سام درخشان), Sohrab Firouzmandi (سهراب فیروزمندی), Khosrou Zohdi (خسرو زهدی), Vargha Derakhshan (ورقا درخشان), Sohrab Derakhshan (سهراب درخشان), Farzad Afshar (فرزاد افشار), Farshid Afshar (فرشید افشار), Jamshid Najafi (جمشید نجفی), Feyzollah Qanvatiyan (فیض الله قنواتیان) and Kianoush Afshar (کیانوش افشار) were among the citizens whose businesses were sealed.

According to an informed source, the official Closure Notification stated that “this closure has been ordered by the Judicial Authority (deputy prosecutor’s office), and will be carried out by security forces.”

The law states that a business owner is allowed to closed their business for up to 15 days a year without any particular or specified reason.

Recently the Administrative Bureau of Justice issued a verdict in favor of the Bahai citizens of Mazandaran, whose businesses had been closed in similar manner, stating that the legal right of these citizens to close their business for up to 15 days a year without any specific reason had been ignored.
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Shiva Rouhani begins an 18-month sentence

Human Rights in Iran, July 11, 2017.
Shiva Rouhani ( شیوا روحانی ), a Bahai from Gorgan, has begun serving her 18-month sentence in Amir Abad prison. She joins 12 other Bahais from Gorgan who have begun their sentences in recent weeks. They are among the 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were arrested on October 17, 2012.
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Two arrests in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), July 6, 2017.

Varqa Mehdizadeh (ورقا مهدیزاده) and Shiva Ekhaqi (شیوا اخلاقی), a Bahai couple living in Shiraz, were summoned to the Revolution Court in Shiraz on July 3, where they were arrested. They have been taken to Adel Abad prison to serve 8-month prison sentences. On February 14, 2016, they were arrested with violence in the street, and held for 17 days of interrogation before being released on bail of 150 million tumans (40,000 euros ; $US 46,000). They were charged with publishing photographs on the internet, photographs actually posted by someone else, who used their [photographic] studio. After their arrest, their business was also shut down by the authorities. They are also facing charges for taking photographs at a wedding where men and women were present together.
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Two new arrests in Kashan

Bahai News (Persian), July 4. 2017.

Amrullah Manuchihri (امرالله منوچهری) and Diyullah Elahian (ضیاالله الهیان), two Bahai residents of Kashan, were arrested on July 3, after being summonsed by telephone. It is not known where they are being detained. The arrests are apparently related to a raid on their homes by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on April 30. The search warrant said they were accused of propaganda against the regime. During the searches, books and other materials relating to the Bahai Faith were seized, along with the mobile phones of the entire family, lap tops, flash drives etc.
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Parivash Shoja`i and Rufeya Pakzadan enter prison

Bahai News (Persian), July 3, 2017.

Parivash Shoja`i ( پریوش شجاعی ) and Rufeya Pakzadan ( روفیا پاکزادان), Bahais from Gorgan, have been summoned to begin their prison sentences. They were taken to Amir Abad prison in Gorgan. Parivash Shoja`i faces one year and 9 months in prison for her Bahai beliefs, and Rufeya Pakzadan has an 18-month sentence. In the past week, 11 Bahais in Gorgan have begun serving prison sentences. They are among the 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were arrested on October 17, 2012. They were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism class) in Golestan Province.
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March 9, 2018

Bahai couple in Shiraz sentenced to 5 years in prison


Morteza Esmailpour (Facebook), March 9, 2018.

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) have been sentenced to five years in prison for their Bahai beliefs. They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but have only now been told of their sentences. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

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


November 3, 2017

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi summoned yet again


Payam News, October 28, 2017.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, has again been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in Detention Facility 100. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted — a most unusual event — by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence. On March 19 this year she was taken to Adel Abad prison to begin serving this 2-year sentence, but according to the latest report she was released on furlough (not previously reported to my knowledge), and now has been summoned for interrogation on unspecified new charges.

[ It would appear that there is a tussle going on between factions of the governing apparatus. The Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz, disturbed by her unusual acquittal, seems determined to show who is in charge by detaining her repeatedly ~ Sen ]

Short link: https://wp.me/pNMoJ-2ZV

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

August 25, 2017

2017 1 to 6

Filed under: — Sen @ 22:23

January to June, 2017.

Two arrests in Shahinshahr

Iran Press Watch, June 16, 2017.

On 13 June, 2017, Noushin Salekian and Farideh Abdi, two Bahais of the city of Shahinshahr, Isfahan Province, were detained by authorities. An informed source confirmed the news to HRANA reporters, stating, “Yesterday afternoon, Noushin Salekian and Farideh Abdi, two Bahai residents of Shahinshahr, reported to a branch of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Shahinshar following a previously issued notice of 11 June. Subsequently, after two hours of interrogation, they were arrested and transferred to the Dolatabad prison, where the female prisoners are held.” They were charged with “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the regime.”
[I have not been able to check the IPW report against Persian sources ~Sen]
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Four Bahais released on bail in Bandar Abbas

Bahai News (Persian), June 14, 2017.

Maral Rasti (مارال راستی) and Mahnaz Jannethar-Pourmaradeyan (مهناز جانثار( پورمرادیان)) were released from the central prison of Bandar Abbas on June 14. Two days earlier, Mehran Afshar (مهران افشار), whose name was previously reported as Mehrollah Afshar (مهراله افشار), was also released on bail. They were among seven Bahais arrested in Bandar Abbas on April 18. Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) was released on bail on June 12. He was arrested in Shiraz on April 17, and transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities in Bandar Abbas on April 19. All four were held for lengthy interrogations by the Ministry of Intelligence before being transferred to the central prison. Bail in all four cases was 120 million tumans (35,000 euros ; $US 37,000).
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Nine Bahais begin prison terms in Golestan Province

Iran Press Watch, June 16, 2017.

At least nine Bahai residents of Golestan Province have been detained by authorities to begin their prison sentences. An informed source, while confirming the news, told the HRANA reporter: “These citizens, who were sentenced to imprisonment with other Bahais in 2015, were arrested today either by agents visiting their residence or while presenting themselves at the prison.” The source was referring to twenty-four Baha’i residents of Gorgan, Gonbad-e Kavous, and Minoodasht, who had been sentenced in 2015 to a total of 193 years in prison by Golestan province Revolutionary Court in the preliminary phase. Individual sentences were reduced on appeal.

On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Mariyam Dehqan Yazdeli (مریم دهقان یزدلی), Mojdeh Zohori-Fahandezh (مژده ظهوری (فهندژ)), Farah Tebyanian-Sana’i (فرح تبیانیان (ثنائی) ) and Houshmand Dehqan Yazdeli (هوشمند دهقان یزدلی) were arrested in their homes and taken to prison to begin their sentences. On the same day three others, Sheida Qoddusi (شیدا قدوسی), Pouneh Sana’i-Taymori (پونه ثنائی( تیموری)) and Nazi Tahqiqi (نازی تحقیقی) presented themselves to authorities after being summoned by the office of the Ministry of Intelligence to begin their sentences. After these arrests, Parisa Shahidi ( پریسا شهیدی ) and Mitra Nouri ( میترا نوری ) turned themselves into prison. Other reports state that similar visits to the homes of several Bahais in the Province have taken place, and the number of detainees is likely to increase. Details of seven of the detainees’ verdicts follow:

Maryam Dehqan Yazdeli: One year and six months imprisonment
Mojdeh Zohori-Fahandezh: One year and nine months imprisonment
Sheida Qoddusi: Initial sentence 11 years imprisonment; sentencing information from appeal is unknown at this time.
Pouneh Sana’i-Taymori: One year and nine months imprisonment
Nazi Tahqiqi: One year and six months imprisonment
Parisa Shahidi-Kashani: One year and nine months imprisonment
Mitra Nouri: One year and six months imprisonment.

Farhad Fahandezh (husband of Mojdeh Zohori), Farahmand Sana’i (husband of Farah Tebyanian, brother of Pouneh Sana’i), and Kamal Kashani (husband of Parisa Shahidi) are serving their sentences in Rajai Shahr Prison. Parsia Shahidi and Kamal Kashani have a 14-year-old son, Farid, who now has both parents in prison.

Recently ten human rights organisations submitted a joint statement to the European Union, demanding immediate action to prevent further harassment of Bahai citizens, and abolition of their prison sentences issued by the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This letter referred specifically to the recent challenges of the Baha’i residents of Golestan province.
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Seven Bahai youth sentenced in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), reports on June 7 and June 8.

On June 1, sentences were announced for Parvin Nik-A’in(پروین نیک آیین), `Arsheya Rouhani (عرشیا روحانی) and Adib Janamian (ادیب جانمیان), who will serve 1 year in prison, followed by a 16-month sentence that is suspended for two years. Zarin Aqa-Baba’i (زرین آقابابایی), Vahid Karami (وحید کرمی) and Keyvan Nik-A’in (کیوان نیک آیین) were sentenced to six months in prison plus a 6-month sentence that is suspended for 2 years. The suspended sentences mean, in effect, two years of probation. They were tried in Isfahan on May 6 by Judge Ravanmehr (قاضی روانمهر). They were charged with propaganda against the regime (by teaching the Bahai Faith), to the benefit of groups opposed to the Islamic Republic, and with membership of Bahai organisations and undermining national security. The sentence mentioned the fact that the World Centre of the Bahai Faith is in Israel, and mentioned that the four were in possession of many Bahai books and CDs. They are among 16 Bahais arrested in raids on Bahai homes conducted by the Ministry of Intelligence in Isfahan, Tehran and Mashhad on November 15, 2015. They are presently free on bail: the original amount of bail has been increased as further charges were laid, and the total amount for the first four is now 1.2 billion tumans (330,000 euros, $US 370,000) (although a previous report said it was 1.2 billion rials, one tenth of this figure).
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Murderers of Farhang Amiri released on bail

Bahai International Community, June 13, 2017.

The two murderers of Mr. Farhang Amiri, a Bahai who was stabbed to death in September 2016 in Iran, have been released on bail after having confessed to killing him because of his faith. Mr. Amiri, 63, was murdered outside his home on 26 September 2016 in the city of Yazd, where his family had long resided. On the evening of the murder, the two men, who had come to his residence the night before under the pretense of wanting to purchase his vehicle, returned to ask for Mr. Amiri. When he came to the door, they violently stabbed him multiple times.

The two murderers, who are brothers, were apprehended by local shopkeepers as they tried to run away and were delivered to the police. During their subsequent interrogations and court hearings, they admitted to having killed Mr. Amiri because he was a Bahai.

They disclosed that they were prompted to carry out this act by their religious beliefs and statements made by clerics that Bahais are against Islam. The father of the two men is reported to have complained about a cleric who is responsible for radicalizing his two sons.

“We wanted to kill a Bahai,” said one of the brothers when asked about the reason behind the murder. “I had heard that Bahais are Muslims who have turned away from Islam, and they are apostates, and that the shedding of their blood is a meritorious deed.”

“Our aim was to kill a Bahai, it did not matter who it was,” stated the other brother during another interrogation. The brothers even stated during interrogations that they would kill someone else upon release.

Despite the admission of murder, the court has now released the two men on bail.
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Navid Khanjani’s prison term extended

Iran Press Watch, June 11, 2017.

Navid Khanjani (نوید خانجانی) was due for release from Rajai Shahr prison on June 6, 2017, on completion of his five-year prison sentence, but while he and his family were waiting for his release, he was informed by judicial authorities, without a prior notice, that his one-year sentence from a different case was being implemented immediately and he would remain in prison.

Mr. Khanjani’s original 12-year conviction was due to his peaceful activities in defending human rights and the right to education. With the implementation of Article 134 of the Penal Code the charges against him were integrated, and he was sentenced to five years in prison with a release date on June 6, 2017.

Mr. Khanjani was arrested the first time on March 1, 2010, by the Ministry of Intelligence and was released on bail after about two months of interrogation and solitary confinement. On December 20, 2010, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Yahya PirAbassi (قاضی یحیی پیرعباسی), sentenced him on the following charges:

+ Spreading false news,
+ Disturbing public opinion,
+ Propaganda against the Islamic Republic through disseminating news reports,
+ Appearing in interviews with foreign TV and radio stations,
+ Membership of the Central Council of the Human rights Reporters Committee,
+ Establishing the “Deprived of Education” group

The initial sentencing was for up to twelve years in prison and the equivalent of $124 fine. This sentence was upheld by the appeals court, but according to Article 134 of the new Islamic Penal Code, only five years of it was applicable. An informed source at the time of sentencing (February 2011) said that “During the trial, the lawyer’s defense was basically not considered.” Mr. Khanjani, has not been allowed any furlough since his detention in August 2012.

Mr. Khanjani’s one-year sentence is due to another case known as the “Sarand Camp Case.” He was one of 35 civil society activists, critical of the government, who had gone to Varzaghan in East Azarbaijan on August 11, 2012 to help the earthquake victims. They were arrested by the police and their camp was shut down. Most of the activists were released, but due to his existing sentence of 12 years, Mr. Khanjani remained in custody.

Mr. Khanjani, a 30-year-old Bahai, is a former member of the “Human Rights Activists,” “Human Rights Reporters Committee,” and founder of ” The Association Opposing Educational Discrimination.”
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Three students expelled for Bahai beliefs, Farzan Ma`sumi denied his Diploma

Editorial compilation, June 1, 2017.

Bahai News reports that Wafa Hoveida’i (وفا هویدایی), who was in the second semester of an undergraduate degree in the Department of Physics and Energy Engineering, has been expelled from Amir Kabir Polytechnic University because of his Bahai beliefs. He learned of the expulsion when his user’s page on the University’s site was blocked. When he made enquiries, university officials told him he had been expelled because he was a Bahai.

The same report says that Farzad Safa’i (فرزاد صفایی), who has completed 8 semesters of a degree in Industrial Metallurgy at the Free Islamic University of Ahwaz, was expelled in late May. He received a summons from the University Security office, and his user’s page on the University’s site was blocked.

In a separate report, Bahai News says that Wessal Leqa’i-far (وصال لقایی فر) a student of Chemical Engineering, was expelled at the end of his seventh semester, when he resisted pressure from two officials from the Ministry of Education to renounce the Bahai Faith. At the end of his fourth semester he was also blocked, and in response to his enquiries the university officials told him this was because he was a Bahai. After repeated follow-ups he was able to win a promise that he could complete two more semesters.

A third report from Bahai News states that officials at the Payam-e Nour University campus in Kavar (Fars Province) have refused to issue a graduation diploma to Farzan Ma`sumi (فرزان معصومی). He has completed the courses for a Bachelor in Political Science. The officials said they were acting on orders from the Bureau of Educational Assessments, and protests to the University would be fruitless. Farzan Ma`sumi was arrested on February 12, 2017, along with Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت), when their homes were searched and religious and non-religous books, mobile phones and computers were seized, along with family photos and religious images. He was released on bail on February 22.
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Kamellia Bidelyan reports to prison for 18-month sentence

Bahai News (Persian), May 31, 2017.

Kamellia Bidelyan (کاملیا بیدلیان), a Bahai from Minudasht, reported to prison on May 31 to begin her 18-month sentence [presumably the Minudasht prison ~ sen]. Security forces attempted to arrest her a week previously, but since her neighbours objected they instead left a message that she should report today to the Ministry of Intelligence. Her husband Navid Mo`allem (نوید معلم) was arrested on March 12, in front of his place of business, and transferred to prison to begin his own 18-month sentence. The couple are among 22 Bahais detained on October 17, 2012, in a wave of arrests of Bahais in Gorgan and Minudasht.
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Bahai-run business closed down in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), May 21, 2017.

On April 13, 2017, ten officers from the Department of Sanctions arrived at the workplace of Farhad Samadani (فرهاد صمدانی), seized all his stock, including 528 spectacle frames, and sealed the business. They were intending to arrest him, but his physical health did not allow this — yet they took his car away with them. Although he had receipts for the purchase of the frames, including the payment of customs duty, his goods were confiscated and he was given a fine for the possession of “contraband” amounting to three times their value. The loss and fine amount to “40 million”, which if it is stated in tumans would be 11,000 euros or $US 12,300.
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Samir Khalousi released on bail in Kerman

Bahai News (Persian), May 30, 2017.

Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) was released on bail from the central prison of Kerman on May 30, after 152 days in detention. He was held at first in the detention facility of the Ministry of Intelligence, and then in the central prison of Kerman. Bail was set at 70 million tumans (19,300 euros ; $US 21,600). His wife, who was also arrested and detained for a short time, is also free on bail, set at 100 million tumans. He has recently been tried on charges of propaganda against the regime and membership of Bahai organisations.

Samir Kahlousi was arrested on December 30, 2016, when five security agents entered his home by breaking down the door. They searched it thoroughly and seized a laptop, hard drive, smart phone and books. The raid is described as very violent: Mr. Khalousi was subject to two hours of interrogation and beating in his home, and was taken in handcuffs to the detention facilities operated by the Ministry of Intelligence. His arrest came 9 days after the arrest of Amrullah Khalqiyan (امرالله خالقیان), whose release on bail was reported here yesterday.
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Amrullah Khalqiyan free on bail

Bahai News (Persian), May 25, 2017.

Amrullah Khalqiyan (امرالله خالقیان), a Bahai from Kerman, was released on bail on May 25, after 157 days of detention, first in the detention facility of the Ministry of Intelligence, and then in the central prison of Kerman.

He was arrested on the morning of December 21, 2016, along with his wife Fariba Rouhani (فریبا روحانی), who was released after a few hours’ questioning. On February 8, 2017, security forces in Kerman arrested three more Bahais: Ehsan Amiri-nia (احسان امیری نیا), Arman Bandi (آرمان بندی) and Nima Rajab-zadeh (نیما رجب زاده). On May 22, all four were tried in Kerman, on charges of undermining national security by promoting the Bahai Faith. The four were taken to the court in handcuffs and shackles. So far as I know, their sentences have not been announced.
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Seven Bahai detainees moved to prison in Bandar Abbas

Bahai News (Persian), May 19, 2017.

In the past week, seven Bahai detainees who have been held for interrogation in the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility in Bandar Abbas since April 18 were moved to the central prison for Hormuzgan Province, which is also in Bandar Abbas.

Maral Rasti (مارال راستی) and Mahnaz Janethar-Pourmaradeyan (مهناز جانثار( پورمرادیان)) were transferred to the regular jail on May 15, while Nasim Qanawateyan (نسیم قنواتیان), Arash Rasekhi (آرش راسخی), Mehrollah Afshar (مهراله افشار), Farhad Amri-Hesari (فرهاد امری حصاری) and Omid Afaqi ( امید آفاقی) were moved on May 17. Four of the detainees, Maral Rashti, Mahnaz Janethar, Nasim Qanawateyan and Arash Rasekhi, have been allowed to meet their families for 20 minutes, and the others are likely to be allowed to meet their families soon.

The behaviour of local and provincial officials during the interrogation has been described as good, but the interrogators who travelled to Bandar Abbas from Tehran behaved badly, insulting the detainees.

Along with the detention of these seven Bahais in Bandar Abbas on April 18, Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) was arrested in Shiraz on April 17, and transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities in Bandar Abbas on April 19. It is assumed he is still being interrogated. The eight have been accused of undermining national security, membership of Bahai organisations and several other “crimes.”
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Non-Baha’i shopkeepers in Noshahr call for the reopening of Bahai shops

Translation by Iran Press Watch, May 16, 2017.

Radio Zameneh reports on May 12 that
a group of Noshahr shopkeepers have written to the governor of the city of Noshahr in Mazandaran province (with a copy to the Prosecutor), demanding the removal of the seals placed on seven Bahai business units six months ago. No investigation has been performed during that time. The signatories say that the closure “causes skepticism towards Islamic practices and leads to economic downturn in the city.”

The shopkeepers wrote that according to Paragraph One of the Trade Union’s Guidelines, and Article 28 of the Executive Regulations, any trade unit closed without investigation should be reopened after six months, until the necessary

The shops were sealed by the Office of Properties on the morning of 01 November 2016, because the owners had temporarily closed businesses during the observance of Bahai Holy Days. According to the Iranian Trade Law, those with business licenses are allowed, by law, to close their units for 15 days per year, and should inform the Office of Properties of longer closures.

For the full report, see the translation by Iran Press Watch.
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Two Bahai detainees released in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), May 17, 2017.

Sa`id Azimi ( سعید عظیمی ), a Bahai who was arrested in his home by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 25, 2016, has been released on bail after more than 200 days in detention without trial.

Mohsen Mehrgani (محسن مهرگانی), who was arrested along with Manouchehr Rahmani (منوچهر رحمانی) in their home in Isfahan on January 24, has also been released, on bail, set at 500 million tumans. This would be over 130,000 euros if the report is correct, or one tenth of that if the amount is actually in rials, Iran’s official currency. He has been held for over three months, and because of his diabetes and the lack of insulin in prison, his health has suffered. Manouchehr Rahmani is still being detained.
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Farhad Eqbali released

Bahai News (Persian), May 16, 2017.

Farhad Eqbali ( فرهاد اقبالی ) a Bahai prisoner of conscience from Gorgan, has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison near Tehran where he has been serving a five-year sentence.

Mr. Eqbali was fired from his work in the poultry sector in July 2004, because of pressure on his employer from the Ministry of Intelligence. Under Iran’s apartheid system, Bahais are barred from working in most food-related sectors because they are regarded as “unclean.” He went on to study radiology at Shiraz University, but was expelled in his second year of study because of his Bahai beliefs. In November, 2012, he was one of about twenty Bahais, and some Muslims accused of associating with Bahais, who were arrested in Gorgan. He was quickly released on bail because of his heart condition. He was tried with 4 other Bahais on charges of propaganda against the regime, participation in Bahai activities and cooperation with foreign governments. His 5-year sentence was confirmed by the court of review on August 27, 2014, and he began his sentence in Gorgan on the same day. Soon after, he was transferred to Evin prison, in Tehran, and was moved to Raja’i Shahr prison in October, 2014.
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18 Bahai-run businesses in Shahin Shah reopen

Bahai News, May 14, 2017.

The 18 Bahai-run businesses closed down by the authorities in Shahin Shahr, in Isfahan Province, on May 1 have been allowed to reopen by the Mayor’s office, effective from May 14.
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Secret order to close Bahai-run businesses in Mazandaran leaked

Bahai News (Persian), May 7, 2017.

Six months after the closure of 94 Bahai-run businesses in Mazandaran Province, the Provincial Council’s instruction to close them has been leaked to the Press. The businesses were sealed by the authorities after they had closed for business on November 1 and 2, 2016, when Bahais celebrated the birthdays of the religion’s founders, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, in 1819 and 1817 respectively. The Provincial Council. The order specifies that the business premises of members of the erroneous and misleading sect should be closed down, and that Bahais should not be allowed to close their business until further notice [sic]. The order claims that the Bahai sect was founded by the English and Zionists (the Bahai Faith actually predates Zionism, and the period when the English were influential in Iran).
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Home search in Shiraz

Bahai News (Persian), May 6, 2017.

The home of Mr. Parsa Shaykhi (پارسا شیخی) and Mr. Mehran Mosallanejad (مهران مصلی نژاد) in Shiraz has been searched by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, who had a search warrant. The report does not specify the date, which appears to be May 6. The agents seized books, images and electronic goods. They were told to be ready, in the next five days, to report to the Ministry’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz if summoned. Before going to the home of Parsa Shaykhi, the agents went to his father’s the workplace and took him along. The agents suggested that the search was in relation to supposed connection with and propaganda for Israel. Parsa Shaykhi is 21 years old and Mehran Mosallanejad is 18.
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Six Bahais detained and interrogated in Sistan and Baluchestan Province

Bahai News (Persian), May 5, 2017.

On May 4, security forces in the small city of Chabahar, on the Gulf of Oman in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, security forces searched a Bahai home and issued summons to three Bahais living there: Manouchihr Barqi (منوچهر بارقی) and Bahadar Kamju (بهادر کامجو), who were present, and Fahemiyyeh Ashaqi (فهمیه اسحاقی) who was absent. All three were to report to the Ministry of Intelligence offices in Chabahar. The agents then went to their workplace and searched that and seized some of their personal belongings. These three were summoned and interrogated twice over the following days. Security forces also arrested three other Bahais in the Province: Houshang Mokhtari (هوشنگ مختاری), whose arrest in Saravan has already been reported, Bijan Eslami (بیژن اسلامی) and Ali Anvari (علی انوری). All three were released on Bail on May 5, after one day of interrogation.
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House of Justice letter on political involvement

Editorial, May 6, 2017.

The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States has distributed a letter written on behalf of the House of Justice to an individual believer regarding political involvement. The file name (which may be given by the NSA) is “Guidance on social action and public discourse” which reflects the broad scope of the letter. The letter will be of especial interest not only to the Bahais in the United States, but to the Bahais in every country where the fever cycle of partisanship is peaking at the moment. While emphasizing the limits of political involvement for Bahais, the letter it is not silent on the recent resurgence of nationalisms in western countries, stating that “prejudice, factionalism, and virulent nationalism are the very negation of Baha’u’llah’s message of peace and oneness.” (paragraph 8)

I have placed a plain text copy of the letter, with paragraph numbers and links to the sources, in the documents archive of my Bahai studies blog.
https://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/documents-archive/guidance-on-social-action-and-public-discourse/

Among the notable points are the expected admonition to Baha’is not to vilify specific individuals, organizations, or governments (paragraph 2) in whatever we may have to say, and not to judge governments as “just or unjust – for each believer would be sure to hold a different viewpoint, and within our own Baha’i fold a hotbed of dissension would spring up and destroy our unity.” (paragraph 3) Yet Bahais “must also guard against the other extreme of never taking part … in conferences or committees designed to promote some activity in entire accord with our teachings.” (Paragraph 5)

The new letter refers to the 2 March 2013 message of the House of Justice to the Baha’is of Iran as setting out how Baha’is seek to effect social change. This letter is also online in my documents archive. This approach includes active involvement in the life of society as well as the possibility of influencing and contributing to the social policies of government by all lawful means. (Paragraph 4) In certain circumstances this can include taking part in demonstrations. (Paragraph 5), but demonstrations are not the only, or even the most effective, means available (paragraph 10). The fundamental partisanship in contemporary political life means policies are often implemented without building consensus (paragraph 7). Bahais are called to three overlapping areas of action: community-building. projects and activities for social action, and involvement in the discourses of society, (paragraph 12)

There is a distinction between activities that can be supported explicitly by Baha’i institutions and those where Baha’i institutions should not participate but individuals can make a personal decision to take part, without implying that they are representing the Bahai Faith (paragraph 6).

The letter is also interesting for containing the first explicit acknowledgement that I know of, that the unity of nations – like the Lesser Peace – was not achieved in the twentieth century, describing this an uncompleted project that has left dangerous gaps in international relations (paragraph 8).
https://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/centurys-end1/
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Number of Bahai businesses closed in Shahin Shahr reaches 18

Bahai News (Persian), May 3, 2017.

The number of Bahai-run businesses closed down by the authorities in Shahin Shahr, in Isfahan Province, has risen to 18. The closures all took place on May 1. The businesses all have operating licences which were shown to the Bureau of Public Places, the agency that has closed them down. A source stated that the majority of Bahai-run businesses in Shahin Shahr, a town with a population of 150,000, have been closed down.

The eighteen businesses are all in trades such as television repair, clothing or stationery, except for one seller of dried fruits and nuts. Under Iran’s apartheid system, Bahais may not work in cultural, educational or financial institutions, or in the sectors of periodicals, jewelry, watchmaking, print-making, tourist agencies, car rentals, publishing and bookshops, photography, film-making, internet gaming, computers, or internet cafes. They may not own printing works or hotels and other accommodation for travellers, or teach tailoring skills. Because of the widespread Iranian belief that Bahais are unclean, they are barred from working in restaurants, cafeterias and catering, food ingredients and foodstuff sales, takeaways, cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee. (See an earlier explanation on this blog).
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One arrest in Saravan

Bahai News (Persian), May 4, 2017.

Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence searched the home of a Bahai, Houshang Mokhtari (هوشنگ مختاری) in Saravan today, and arrested him. He was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility for the region. Later they searched his workplace as well.
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Nine Bahai-run businesses shut by authorities in Shahin-Shahr

Bahai News (Persian), May 2, 2017.

Nine Bahai-run businesses in Shahin-Shahr, in Isfahan Province, have been closed down by the city’s Bureau of Public Places because they observed days of rest on the past week’s Bahai Holy days. The businesses are:
– a clothing business run by Mr. sa`id Qa’emi and Mrs Marjan Golshani (آقای سعید قائمی و خانم مرجان گلشنی)
– a hair-dresser’s run by Mr. Iraj Kushkaki (ایرج کوشککی)
– a retail supplies shop run by Mr. Hojjatollah Rouhani ( حجت الله روحانی)
– a dried fruit business run by Mr. Gulzar (گلزار )
– a mechanic’s business run by Mr. Ardavan Farougheyan (اردوان فروغیان)
– a rubber goods shop run by Mr. `Erfan Karamzadeh (عرفان کرمزاده)
– a sewing machine business run by Mr. Mial Azadi and Houssein Shaker (میلاد آزادی و حسین شاکر)
– a stationery shop run by Mr. Hakim and Mr. Navidi (آقایان حکیم و نویدی),
– a business selling burglar alarms and sports goods run by Puya Azadi (پویا آزادی).
Officers from the Bureau of Public Places went looking for Bahai-run businesses yesterday, asking for their business licences and other documents. They told the Bahais that next time they came, they would close the Bahai-run businesses. Today, the majority of the Bahai-run businesses have been closed down.

On June 23, 2016, the Universal House of Justice issued new guidelines for the observance of Bahai Holy Days in Iran, which allow for various compromises between the Bahais’ desire to close their businesses on the Holy Days and authorities’ desire to reduce the visibility of Bahais in commercial centres. For example, Bahais who have businesses could close the business one day before and one day after the Holy Day as well as on the Holy Day, they could leave the lights of a business turned on although nobody is working, or have a worker present although no trading is done. But the guidelines reject the idea of seeking official permission to close for a day, where this is neither provided for in legislation nor imposed on non-Bahais, since this would be to accede to government interference in the freedom of conscience.
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Navid Mo`allem allowed a prison visit

Bahai News (Persian), April 30, 2017.

Navid Mo`allem (نوید معلم), a Bahai resident of Minudasht in Golestan Province who was arrested on March 13, has been allowed to meet his wife Kamellia Bidelyan (کاملیا بیدلیان) in prison, 48 days after his arrest. He and his wife were amnong 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were arrested on October 17, 2012. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
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Adib Haqqpazhouh transferred from Shiraz to Bandar Abbas

Bahai News (Persian), April 23, 2017.

Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه), a Bahai who was arrested in Shiraz on April 17, was transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities in Bandar Abbas on April 19. He was able to see his wife and daughter in Shiraz before he was taken away. He suffers from a heart ailment. His transfer to Bandar Abbas suggests a link between his arrest and the arrests of seven Bahais in Bandar Abbas on April 18.
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One-year sentences announced for 3 Mashhad Bahais

Bahai News (Persian), April 23, 2017.

Khoshayar and Shayan Tafazolli ( خشایار و شایان تفضلی ) and Sina Aqdas-zadeh ( سینا اقدس زاده ), Bahais from Mashhad, have been sentenced by Judge Mansouri (قاضی منصوری) to one year in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime. Shayan Tafazolli was among the eight Bahais arrested in February 2012, in relation to a handcrafts exhibition organised by Bahai youth in Mashhad. On July 11, 2012, security forces searched the homes of these three Bahais and arrested them. Sina Aqdas-zadeh was detained by the Ministry of Intelligence for 47 days, Shayan Tafazolli for 46 days, and Khoshayar Tafazolli for 23 days, before they were released on bail of 100 million tumans (at the time, 65,000 euros; 81,000 US dollars). They were tried in January this year, and the sentences were announced on April 22.

Shayan Tafazolli has been arrested on two other occasions, on February 17, 2012, when he was held for 66 days, and June 2, 2014.
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Twin siblings expelled from two universities

Bahai News (Persian), April 22, 2017.

Two separate universities in Iran have expelled twin siblings, Shekib Muhammad-Alipour (شکیب محمدعلی پور) and his sister Shima Muhammad-Alipour (شیما محمدعلی پور), because of their Bahai beliefs. When Shima Muhammad-Alipour (-Dastgerdi) was filling in the enrollment forms for the School of Art and Architecture at the University of Kashan, she chose the option ‘other religion,’ but in the forms for accommodation she filled in “Bahai Faith.” On October 1, 2016, which was her first day at the University, she was summoned by the security office and her student card was taken away. She was told that she could apply to the national Office of Educational Assessment for permission to continue her studies, but several months have passed and she has received no reply.

Her brother Skekib was enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering of the Khorramabad State University, in Lorestan Province, and gave his religion as “Bahai” on enrollment. At the end of the first term, when he found he had no grades for his courses, he discovered — via one of his teachers — that he had been expelled.
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20 Bahais arrested in Yemen

Bahai News (Persian), April 19, 2017.

On April 18, twenty Bahais living in Sana’a, in Yemen, were arrested because of their Bahai beliefs. Four are women, the remainder men. In August, 2016, the authorities in Sana’a arrested 65 men, women, and children who were attending a youth training seminar organised by the Yemeni Baha’i community and sponsored by the Nida Foundation for Human Development. About half of them, who were not Bahais, and all the girls under 18, were released quickly. The Bahais were detained, but most were later released on bail. The women were well treated, but the men were tortured. Hamed Kamal Muhammad bin Haydara (حامد کمال بن حیدرا), who has been detained since December 3, 2013, has also been tortured to obtain a ‘confession.’
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Seven arrests in Bandar Abbas

Bahai News (Persian), April 18, 2017.

On the morning of April 18, security agents arrested Mahnaz Janethar-Pourmaradeyan (مهناز جانثار( پورمرادیان)), Maral Rasti (مارال راستی), Farhad Amri (فرهاد امری), Arash Rasekhi (آرش راسخی), Mehrollah Afshar (مهراله افشار), Omid Afaqi ( امید آفاقی) and Nasim Qanawateyan (نسیم قنواتیان) in Bandar Abbas. They are believed to be detained in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities. Their houses were thoroughly searched and religious and other books and images were seized, along with computers, laptops and mobile phones.

The report mentions that Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh was arrested in Shiraz on the same day, but that there is no evidence so far that the eight arrests are connected.
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Adib Haqqpazhouh arrested in Shiraz for the third time

Bahai News (Persian), April 18, 2017.

On April 17, four security agents went to the home of Mr. Adib Haqqpazhouh (ادیب حق پژوه) in Shiraz. Finding only his wife at home, they searched it and seized some personal belongings including books, personal and religious photographs, a mobile phone, some cheques from Mr. Haqqpazhouh’s customers and some cash and bookkeeping records. Meanwhile, two agents went to his workplace, which they searched, and brought Mr. Haqqpazhouh to the door of his home, where he was detained in his own car until the search of his home was complete. The agents are said to have been well behaved during the search. Mr. Haqqpazhouh was arrested previously, on December 30, 2010, and August 5, 2014. On both occasions he was later released on bail.
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Azizollah Samandari released from prison

Bahai News, April 15, 2017.

Azizollah Samandari (عزیزالله سمندری) was released from Raja’i Shahr prison, near Tehran, on April 17. He has completed a five-year term on charges of membership of the Bahai community, creating and distributing a computer programme, and providing technical support for the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). He was arrested on January 14, 2009, and released on bail two months later. He was sentenced to a five-year prison term by Judge Moqiseh (قاضی مقیسه), in October 2011 after a 10-minute trial, in which the only question he was asked was whether he belonged to the Bahai community. He began his sentence on July 7, 2012.

While he was in Raja’i Shahr prison, he was selected for the New Zealand Parliament’s “Supreme Commitment Award.” The Award flowed from his participation in the 2010 Global Enterprise Experience (GEE), which is supported by Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. GEE founder Deb Gilbertson said, “The Supreme Commitment Award is to recognise the exceptional sacrifice he is making to pursue higher education and global communication.”

Mr Samandari’s father, Behman Samandari (بهمن سمندری), was executed for his Bahai beliefs following the 1979 Revolution. His grandfather, Hasan Mahbubi (حسن محبوبی), was killed when he was deliberately run down by a car, which has never been traced. He too is counted in Iran as a Bahai martyr.
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Sima Keyani free on bail in Tehran

Bahai News (Persian), April 8, 2017.

Sima Keyani (سیما کیانی), a Bahai who was arrested in Rey (on the outskirts of Tehran) on the morning of March 8, has been released on bail of 200 million tumans (58,000 euros ; $US 61,000). Since her arrest she has been in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. At the time of her arrest, her home was also searched, and a pickup truck was used to take away her religious books, along with religious images and family photographs. Her place of detention is not yet known, but it is likely she would be taken to Evin prison.
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Sorur Forughi bailed in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), March 28, 2017.

Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی), a 69-year old resident of Yazd who was arrested in Tehran on February 21, has been released from Yazd prison on bail of 200 million tumans. She was taken from Tehran to Yazd on March 27. Her home in Yazd was then raided, before she was released on bail. Mrs. Forughi Mahdiabadi, who suffers from cancer and high blood pressure, had gone to Tehran to celebrate the marriage of her son, planned for February 23.
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Hate crime targets a Bahai in Oregon, USA.

Portland Tribune, March 29, 2017.

The Sheriff’s Office in Multnomah County, Oregon (USA) is investigating a hate crime reported on Tuesday, March 28, in Troutdale.

Hasel Afshar, 33, who was born in Iran but has lived in America since 2010, returned from a three-day vacation in Canada to find his two-story home on Southeast 26th Court ransacked, the walls coated in racist epithets. The graffiti calls Afshar a “terrorist” and orders the “Muslim” to “get out.” The vandals left a note on Afshar’s coffee table, weighed down with seven .45 caliber bullets arranged in the shape of a cross. ‘”If I see you here next month, I will shoot you and burn your house,'” the note reads, according to Afshar.

Afshar isn’t Muslim. He’s Baha’i. He doesn’t know how long it will take to clean up his home. Walls are covered in red paint, couch cushions deliberately torn and his belongings scattered.

In a week or two, once he finishes cleaning up, Afshar says he will sell his home and leave the United States. He has friends in Australia and Canada who he says never experience discrimination like this.

“I’m not going to be a hero and stay here and fight about it.” Afshar says. “I’m not going to sit here and wait for someone to shoot me.”

This isn’t the immigrant’s first experience with prejudice. In Iran, a Muslim-majority country, Afshar says police entered his family home, stole their books and arbitrarily arrested members of the Baha’i faith community. Later, after his arrival in the United States, Afshar says he was punched in the face while living in California, in what he describes as a racially motivated incident. He goes on to describe conflicts with a former supervisor at the Portland-based company where Afshar works as a machine operator, cutting out mailers and business cards.

More recently, Afshar says he was parking outside a Plaid Pantry when a man in a baseball cap pulled up in a white construction van. Get the (expletive) out of America! We don’t want you here,” the man shouted. That was on Tuesday morning, March 7. Afshar now wonders if the man followed him home.

The attack on his home has been widely reported in the media, and discussed on the social media. The Portland Tribune’s facebook page has received many messages of support for Afshar, and condemnation for the attack. On Thursday, Troutdale Mayor Casey Ryan issued a statement calling the incident “a horrible attack.”
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Four (five) arrests in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), March 28, 2017 and update.

On the morning of March 28, security agents went to a home in Isfahan that is shared by four Bahais: Ehsan Eshtiyaq (احسان اشتیاق), Enayat Na`imi (عنایت نعیمی), Farzad Homayouni (فرزاد همایونی) and Soroush Pezeshki (سروش پزشکی), and arrested them. It is not known where they are being detained. Soroush Pezeshki has previously served a one year sentence, beginning in November 2010, although he was released on parole on April 27, 2011 after serving half of his sentence. Another Bahai in Isfahan, Ehsanullah Ishtiyaq (احسان الله اشتیاق) served the same sentence and was released with Mr. Pezeshki, and likewise Enayatollah Na`imi (عنایت الله نعیمی). It is very likely therefore that the arrestee named in this report as Ehsan Eshtiyaq is Ehsanullah Eshtiyaq, and that Enayat Na`imi is Enayatollah Na`imi: three veteran prisoners of conscience. I have no information about Farzad Homayouni.
Update: from a Radio Farda report, it appears that Mr. Sohrab Naqipour (سهراب نقی پور) was also arrested.

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Liza Tebyanian free on bail in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), March 27, 2017.

Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی) ) was freed on bail on March 26. She was arrested on March 16, and held in Raja’i Shahr prison. Further details can be found in the report of her arrest.
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Shamim Na’imi released after 3 years in prison

Bahai News (Persian), March 17, 2017.

Shamim Na’imi ( شمیم نعیمی), a Bahai from Tehran, has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison at the end of a 3-year prison sentence. His mother Elham Faramani (الهام فراهانی) and his father `Adel Na`imi (عادل نعیمی) are both serving prison terms for their Bahai beliefs. Shamim Na’imi was among a group of almost 20 Bahais who were arrested in early July, 2012, in Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz. He began his sentence on May 11, 2014, in Evin Prison, and was transferred to Raja’i Shahr, where many male Bahai prisoners and other prisoners of conscience are held, shortly after.
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Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi begins her prison sentence

Bahai News (Persian), March 26, 2017.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested on March 19 and taken to Adel Abad prison to begin serving a 2-year sentence.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz, and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence, but one informed source indicates that yet a third case against her is being prepared by the Ministry of Intelligence.
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Navid Moalem arrested in Minudasht

Iran Press Watch, March 23, 2017.

Based on a Bahai News report, Navid Moallem (نوید معلم), a Bahai resident of Minudasht in Golestan Province, was arrested on March 13, in front of his place of business, and transferred to prison. [The date and day of the week in the Persian report are inconsistent. March 10 and 17 are also possible dates.]

Based on this report, Mr. Moallem and his wife, Kamelia Bidelian (کاملیا بیدلیان) [also reported as Bideli / بیدلی], had previously been sentenced to one year and six-months imprisonment as part of a case named “Bahais Arrested in Golestan Province.”

According to informed sources: “Navid Moallem was arrested by security agents outside his business. The security agents went to his home to arrest his wife, Mrs. Camelia Bidelian. However, Mrs. Bidelian has not been arrested, as she was not home.” This informed source said: “The agents mentioned that Navid Moallemi has been transferred to prison merely to answer some questions.”

Another informed source has conveyed that within the past few days, security agents also went to the home of one of the other Bahais who has been sentenced to imprisonment, but he has not been arrested, since he was not home. Based on this report, security agents in this province are eager to implement the prison terms of those Bahai citizens who had previously been sentenced by the court of appeals.

During the original court hearing, 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were , arrested on October 17, 2012 were sentenced to a total of 193 years of imprisonment. Following their hearings at the court of appeals, it was announced that Farah Tebyanian (فرح تبيانيان), Puna Sana’i ( پونه ثنایی), Mona Amri Hesari (مونا امري حصاري), Behnam Hassani (بهنام حسني), Parisa Shahidi ( پریسا شهیدی ), Mojdeh Zouhori (مژده ظهوري), Parivash Shoja`i ( پریوش شجاعی ), Tina Mauhabati ( تینا موهبتی ) and Hana Aqiqiyan (هنا عقیقیان), all from Gorgan; Shohreh Samimi (شهره صمیمی) from Minudasht; Bita Hedayati (بيتا هدايتي), Vesaq Sana’i ()وثاق سنايي and Hana Kushkabaghi ( هنا کوشکباغی ) from Gonbad-e Qabus had their prison sentences reduced from 9 years to one year and nine months. According to this report, the one year and nine month prison sentence of Tina Mohebati (تینا موهبتی) was later overturned, and she was sentenced to pay a three million tuman (approx US$925) fine.

Rufeya Pakzadan ( روفیا پاکزادان), Soudabeh Mehdinezhad ( سودابه مهدی نژاد ), Mitra Nouri ( میترا نوری ), Shiva Rouhani ( شیوا روحانی ), Houshmand Dehqan (هوشمند دهقان), Mariyam Dehqan (مريم دهقان) and Nazi Tahqiqi (نازي تحقیقی), all from Gorgan, along with Kamelia Bideli (کاملیا بیدلی) and Navid Moalem (نوید معلم) from Minudasht, had their sentences reduced from 6 years to 18 months.

The review court did not anounce its decision on the cases of Shahnam Jadhbani ( شهنام جذبانی ) from Minudasht and Shayda Qodousi (شيدا قدوسي) from Gorgan, who were sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The Bahais were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism) in Golestan Province. The sentencing by the court of appeals of Shahnam Jazbani (from Minudasht) and Shayda Ghoddousi (from Gorgan), who were each sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment, has yet not been communicated to them.
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Liza Tebyanian arrested in Karaj

Iran Press Watch, March 15, 2017.

According to a Bahai News report, Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی) ), a Bahai resident of Karaj in Alborz Province, was arrested by security officers on March 16, 2017. [date corrected, Sen]

Bahai News reports that six security officers entered her home with a warrant, and after searching it and confiscating her personal property, including religious and non-religious books; laptops and so forth, arrested her. Her family still does not have any information about her whereabouts.

Previously, the business of her husband, Mansour Enayati (منصور عنایتی), was sealed by government agents from the Office of Public Places because he is an adherent of the Bahai religion. In September, 2016, his daughter and her husband, Ahdiyyeh Enayati (عهدیه عنایتی) and Sahba Maslahi (صهبا مصلحی), were arrested in Shiraz.
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Two Bahai businesses shut by authorities in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), March 10, 2017.

On March 9, police and agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and the Ministry of Penal Affairs (تعزیرات), along with a judge, went to one business in Karaj that is run by two Bahais, Farid and Farnush Pasha’i (فرید و فرنوش پاشایی) in the Gohardasht neighbourhood of Karaj, where they sealed the premises. The pretext was ‘sexual contraband.’ Although the owners presented invoices of their purchases to show that the articles were not contraband, the officers were uninterested, and returned on March 10 to confiscate all the business stock. [Under Iran’s economic apartheid system, Bahais are not permitted to provide many items of food, drink and personal services to Muslims, since Bahais are ‘unclean.’ But the rules are unwritten, or what is written is circulated confidentially, making it difficult for Bahais to know what they may and may not sell. A broad list of market sectors closed to Bahais was published on this blog in 2015 ~ Sen]

Government officers also went to a newly-opened business run by another Bahai, Arash Kazemi (آرش کاظمی) in the “Golshahr Metri 45” neighbourhood of Karaj. They shuttered the premises.
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Two more Bahai students expelled from universities

Bahai News (Persian), March 2017.

In separate reports dated March 4 and March 6, Bahai News reports on the expulsion of Mahsa Sha`erzadeh (مهسا شاعرزاده) and Puya Azami Aqjeh (پویا اعظمی اقجه).

Ms. Mahsa Sha`erzadeh, a Bahai living in Ramhormoz, in Khuzestan, was expelled from the campus of Payam-e Nour University in Rahhormoz because of her Bahai beliefs. She was taking a Bachelor’s course in Applied Chemistry, and had passed her final exams and gained 70 credits. She was summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence in the city and pressured to officially withdraw from her course. She refused, but was expelled on March 1, 2017, and was given no documentation.

Mr. Puya Azami Aqjeh, a Bahai from Tehran, was expelled from the Rudehen campus of the Free Islamic University. He was in the first semester of a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. In January 2016, he found himself barred from the final examination for the semester, and was told that he had no right to university education because he was a Bahai. He is the sixth Bahai student expelled from this University in recent months.
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One arrest in Rey: Mrs. Sima Keyani

Bahai News (Persian), March 8, 2017.

Sima Keyani (سیما کیانی), a Bahai living in Rey (on the outskirts of Tehran), was arrested at her home by security forces on the morning of March 8. Her home was also searched, and a pickup truck was used to take away her religious books, along with religious images and family photographs. Her place of detention is not yet known, but it is likely she would be taken to Evin prison.
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Haleh Gholami free on bail

Bahai News (Persian), March 7, 2017.

Haleh Gholami (هاله غلامی), a Bahai from Tehran who has been detained in Evin Prison since January 27, was freed on bail on March 6. She was arrested because of her activism in child protection matters, such as the care of orphans, and for participating in a charity working to suppress child labour. At the time of her arrest her home was searched by security agents who confiscated her mobile phones and tablets.
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Bahai home raided in Shiraz

Bahai News (Persian), March 3, 2017.

At 8 a.m. on Friday, March 3, a number of agents from the Revolutionary Guards raided the home of Mrs. Anusha Afshar-Reza’i (انوشا افشار ( رضایی)) in Shiraz. They forced an entrance and searched her home, seizing religious books, personal and religious photographs, a laptop, mobile telephones and memory sticks.
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Contradictory statements by Mazandaran Attorney General on the closure of Bahai businesses

Iran Press Watch, March 3, 2017.

According to HRANA, the news arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, over 100 days have passed since the simultaneous closing of 94 business units belonging to Bahais in Mazandaran. During this time, the Attorney General of Mazandaran, Assadollah Jafari ( اسدالله جعفری), has issued contradictory statements regarding his role in the closure and sealing of the businesses of Bahais.

According to several of the Bahai business owners in Mazandaran whose businesses have been sealed, over the first few days following the closing of the businesses, provincial Attorney General Jafari responded by saying: “I personally signed the order to seal Bahai business and trade units and officers of the Office of Private Property are merely carrying out my orders.” He also said that Bahais were planning propaganda against the regime by closing their businesses on Bahai religious holidays. This was the reason for preventing the cases regarding the closure of the Bahai businesses from reaching the court, or from being addressed by the courts.

At the same time, a warrant signed by provincial Attorney General Jafari was located in the district attorney offices of a number of cities. This warrant contained orders to seal any Bahai business that closes on the 1st and 2nd of November. In another letter addressed to the Deputy Intelligence and Security Offices of Mazandaran Province, it was stated that Bahais take orders from Israel, that they intend to disturb the security of the province, and that that was why it was requested that if they close their shops and businesses on their religious holiday on the 1st and 2nd of November their business units were to be sealed.

Over two months ago Assadollah Jafari told several Bahais whose units had been sealed that “I swear on the Quran that I have no role in sealing the shops and businesses of Bahais in Mazandaran province, I never signed the warrant to seal the trade units, and did not order officers of the Office of Private Property to close your businesses! If you feel that the officers committed a violation, you can submit a complaint against them and be confident that it will be dealt with.” However, there continues to be a refusal [by the courts] to address the issue of the sealing of Bahai businesses.”

Under Article 32 of the Code of Criminal Law, management and oversight of the judiciary is up to the prosecutor. Also, according to Clause 1 of Article 28 of the Law on trade, the closure of any trade unit must be done with the knowledge of trade unions (trade guilds), and the Office of Private Property is the executive liaison to the unions. The unions said that they had no knowledge of the reason for the sealing of the Bahai Businesses in Mazandaran and they had no role in these closures.

Attorney General Jafari, despite an order from the Chief Justice of the Mazandaran Province Judiciary – Hojjatol-Islam Taghavi Fard (حجه الاسلام تقوی فرد) ‒ on December 14, 2016, refused to pursue an inquiry in this regard which was submitted to him. The text of the paragraph from the Chief Justice of Mazandaran Province is as follows:

“Mr. Jafari, according to the records, please review and announce the resulting decisions. Chief Justice Taghavi Fard.”

It should be noted that in March 2012, the European Union imposed sanctions on Attorney General Assadollah Jafari for human rights violations, include some against Bahais in Mazandaran.

Persian source: HRANA
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Keyvan Pakzadan sentenced to 5 years in prison

Bahai News (Persian), March 1, 2017.

Keyvan Pakzadan (کیوان پاکزادان), a Bahai from Tehran, who was arrested as he was leaving his sister’s home on June 1,
has been sentenced to 5 years in prison by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای). Judge Moqayesseh was also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran) and more recently the artists Shahriar Cyrus (شهریار سیروس), who was also given five years in prison.

Mr. Pakzadan was arrested as he was leaving his sister’s home. At the time of his arrest, agents not only searched his home and workplace and seized some of his personal effects, they also searched through his sister and brother-in-law’s effects and seized a laptop, flash drives, contracts, a Will, receipts, signed cheques and working notes. He was held for 34 days before being released on bail. Some of his possessions and those of his sister were also returned to them. He was tried on January 22, and the sentence was haded down on February 27, on the charge of “membership of Bahai organisations.”
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Construction of local House of Worship in Agua Azul, Colombia, begins

Bahai World News Service, February 23, 2017.

Construction Construction of local Bahai House of Worship in Agua Azul, a village in Norte del Cauca, Colombia, began in January, after building contracts were formalized with a local firm in the region. Following the groundbreaking ceremony in May 2016, the three-meter high central mound on which the 18-meter tall Temple will stand has been completed, and the foundational work for the surrounding auxiliary structures has been laid. In time, these structures will be painted in the bright colors traditional to buildings in Colombia.

Since the property for the House of Worship was acquired in December 2013, the community has been undertaking a reforestation project on an 11-hectare piece of land adjacent to the Temple site. The initiative has helped to reintroduce native vegetation to the area, which was decimated by years of monoculture plantations of sugarcane. The team committed to the project has already successfully raised 43 species of plants on the land, which is designated for a Bosque Nativo, or native forest.

Full report here
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Faruq Izadinia free on bail

Bahai News (Persian, facebook), February 26, 2017.

Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ) was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran this morning (February 26). Mir. Izadinia, a well-known Bahai scholar, writer, and translator, was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12. Agents from the security forces seized about 1300 books and various electronic equipment and personal effects.
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Letter from the NSA of the USA focusses on race unity

Editorial, February 26, 2017.

A general letter released by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the United States on February 25 focusses on the theme of race unity. An earlier letter on this theme, entitled ‘eradicating racial prejudice in the nation’, was timed to coincide with the Feast of Izzat, on September 8, 2014.

American Bahais, it says, “have a twofold mission: to develop within our own community a pattern of life that increasingly reflects the spirit of the Baha’i teachings, and to engage with others in a deliberate and collaborative effort to eradicate the ills afflicting our nation.” (paragraph 6). In the context of involvement in the national discourse on race, the letter speaks of “a national race unity conference under the sponsorship of this Assembly, details of which will be announced in due course.” (Paragraph 11).

The full text of the letter is in the documents archive of my Bahai studies blog.
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69-year-old invalid arrested in Tehran

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 21, 2017.

At 7.30 a.m. on February 21, three male and one female security agent arrested Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی) in Tehran, and took her to Evin Prison. She is described as a 69-year old resident of Yazd, suffering from cancer and high blood pressure, who had gone to Tehran to celebrate the marriage of her son, planned for February 23.
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Farzan Ma`sumi and Farhad Sabet bailed in Shiraz

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 22, 2017.

Farzan Ma`sumi (فرزان معصومی) and Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت) were freed on bail on the morning of February 22. They were arrested on the morning of February 12, when their homes were searched and religious and non-religous books, mobile phones and computers were seized, along with family photos and religious images. They were held at the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center (Detention Facility 100). Bail was set at 200 million tumans each (59,000 euros ; $US 62,000).
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Four Bahai detainees freed in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 21, 2017.

On February 20, four of the Bahai detainees in Yazd were released after 33 days in detention. Bail was set at 180 million tumans (52,000 euros ; $US 55,000). Those released are Farzad Rouhani (فرزاد روحاني), Mehran Bandi (مهران بندي), Ramin Hasouri (رامين حصوري) and Ahmad Na`imi (احمد نعيمي). They were arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers.
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Sholeh Ram and Shayan Rahimi released on bail

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 20, 2017.

Sholeh Ram (شعله رام) and her husband Shayan Rahimi (شایان رحیمی), Bahais living in Zahedan, have been released on bail after 20 days in detention. They were arrested by Security agents at 10.30 a.m. on February 1. At that time, it was said that they would be charged with activities contrary to national security.
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Baha’is of Iran website launched

Bahai World News Service, February 15, 2017.

The site of the Bahai community of Iran went online earlier today. The website, in Persian, covers a range of topics and presents the history, activities, and aspirations of the Bahai community in Iran. [It does not present current Bahai news from Iran ~ Sen]

The new “Bahais of Iran” website is the first website of the Baha’i community of Iran. This is especially important at a time when a large volume of anti-Bahai propaganda has proliferated in that country.

Full report in English: here.
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Trial of Hamed bin Haydara in Yemen postponed again

Bahai Campaign, February 14, 2017.

The trial of a Bahai citizen, Hamed bin Haydara, in Sana’a, Yemen, has been postponed for the seventh time. He has been imprisoned without trial since December 3, 2013. In April 2016, the Prosecutor asked for two months to gather evidence, although Mr. bin Haydara had at that point been imprisoned for 28 months. It would appear that no evidence has been found to sustain the various charges against him. Further background to his detention is given in an earlier report on this blog.
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Shahram Eshraqi granted prison furlough

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 15, 2017.

Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی), a Bahai who is serving a 3-year sentence in Block 3 of Isfahan Prison, has been granted a one-month furlough for medical treatment. He is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, and served in the front lines. This is the fourth time he has gone to prison for his Bahai beliefs. He is one of 20 Bahais who were sentenced to a total of 78 years in prison by a court in Yazd in April, 2014, and began his sentence in Isfahan on October 11, 2015. He has had health problems because of prison conditions, and his health deteriorated after he was transferred to Block 3, where conditions are particularly bad.
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Details of the arrest of Faruq Izadinia

HRANA, February 14, 2017.

Faruq Izadi-nia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), a well-known Bahai scholar, writer, and translator living in Tehran, was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12. Agents from the security forces seized about 1300 books and various electronic equipment and personal effects. He is now under interrogation in Evin prison, and his daughter has been told the interrogation will last 10 days. He is accused of illegal activities against national security. This is his thrid arrest. He was arrested and condemned to death in the 1980s. His sentence was later commuted to 10 years in prison, and he was freed after five years. He was arrested again in 1996. Family members said that he is currently physically weak and ill. Among his symptoms are frequent bleeding of the nose, which doctors have not been able to explain. At the time of his arrest he was suffering from pain on the left side of his body, and he has low blood pressure and a low heartbeat rate.
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New arrests in Tehran and Shiraz

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 12, 2017.

On the morning of February 12, security agents arrested Faruq Izad-nia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), a Bahai living in Tehran who has already served two prison terms for his religious beliefs. He is a scholar and translator. It is presumed he has been taken to Evin Prison.

In Shiraz, security forces searched the home of (فرزان معصومی) and arrested him. This is in addition to the arrest of Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت), also on the morning of February 12.
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One new arrest in Shiraz

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 12, 2017.

Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت), a young Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested by security forces for the Province of Fars on the morning of February 12. He was taken to “Detention Facility 100” which is operated by the Ministry of Intelligence.
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Iran’s Martyr’s Foundation refuses to recognize Bahai soldier who died in war

Iran Press Watch, January 20, 2017.

The family of Muhyiddin Dhehni (محی الدین ذهنی) a Bahai soldier from Miandoab who died on the Piranshahr front during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, has written a letter asking the Martyr’s Foundation to recognize him as a “martyr,” and to create a record for him. The President of the Foundation in Miandoab, in response to his mother’s request, wrote that because they “belonging to the misguided Bahai sect,” and based on regulations, there was no possibility of being allowed to file a request, for this individual or similar individuals, whether Bahai war veterans or killed in action.

Muhyiddin Dhehni was killed at the end of his military service, on August 19, 1986, at Davoodabad Military Base in Piranshahr. Despite losing his life in the 8-year war, in which in every case the deceased is designated a “martyr,” and the Foundation supports his surviving family, they never created a file for Mr. Zehni, nor was any support allocated to his family.
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Assets seized from 10 Bahai-run businesses in Karaj and Fardis

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 6, 2017.

During the first week of February, government agents have opened up 10 of the Bahai-run businesses in Karaj and Fardis (two adjoining towns to the West of Tehran) that have been closed down by the authorities, taken away all the stock and other requisites, and re-sealed the premises.
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Three Bahais arrested in Kerman

Bahai News (Persian and English), February 9, 2017.

On February 8, 2017, security forces in Kerman arrested Ehsan Amiri-nia (احسان امیری نیا), Arman Bandi (آرمان بندی) and Nima Rajab-zadeh (نیما رجب زاده), and then searched their homes.
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Bahai student Sepena Shadabi expelled from the Azad university of Kermanshah

Bahai News (English), February 9, 2017.

Sepena Shadabi (سپنا شادابی), a Bahai student from Kermanshah, has been expelled from the Sahneh County campus of the Free Islamic University of Kermanshah because of his Bahai beliefs. He is an architectural engineering student who began his studies in September 2014, and passed 104 units and completed the examinations. On January 31, 2017, he responded to a summons to the security office of the central university [university security offices in Iran are departments of the Ministry of Intelligence ~ Sen] where a security official took his student ID card and asked him whether he was a Bahai. “Yes,” he said, “I am a Bahai.” The head of security then told him “I have been instructed by the competent authorities to tell you that, under a ruling issued by the Council of the Cultural Revolution, you as a Bahai are not allowed to study at a university.” Next day he found that his login to the university website was blocked.

In the past month, 20 Bahai students have been expelled from Iranian universities because of their belief in the Bahai Faith. The ruling of the Council of the Cultural Revolution which initiated this systematic policy of discrimination against Bahai is available here.
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Uzzatallah Kharram bailed in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), February 5, 2017.

On February 5, after 20 days in detention, Uzzatallah Kharram (عزت الله خرم) was freed on bail from Yazd Prison. He was one of seven Bahais arrested in home raids in Yazd on the morning of January 18, and held in detention by the Ministry of Intelligence. During the raids, masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers. The names of the other Bahais arrested that day are Farzad Rouhani (فرزاد روحاني), Nateqeh Na`imi (ناطقه نعيمي), Mehran Eslami (مهران اسلامي), Mehran Bandi (مهران بندي), Ramin Hasouri (رامين حصوري) and Ahmad Na`imi (احمد نعيمي). One of these, Nateqeh Na`imi, was released without bail a few hours later, but the other five remain under interrogation at the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility.

Mr. Azzatullah Khorram was also one of 17 Bahais who were arrested in Yazd in early August, 2016.
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Ruhiyyeh Zaynali free on bail in Kerman

Bahai News (Persian), February 5, 2017.

Ruhiyyeh Zaynali (روحیه زینلی), a Bahai who was arrested in Kerman on January 3, has been released after posting bail of 100 million tumans (29,000 euros; $US 31,000). After her arrest she was held for prolonged interrogation by the Ministry of Intelligence, before being transferred to the Kerman Provincial Prison. Her husband Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) was arrested during a violent raid on the their home on December 30, 2016, and is apparently still being held by the Ministry of Intelligence. The couple have two children, aged 7 and 16.
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Bahai student expelled from a non-profit university in Mashhad

Bahai News (Persian), February 1, 2017.

Sougol Kazemi-Bahnamiri (سوگل کاظمی بهنمیری) has been expelled from the Non-Profit University in Mashhad, where she had reached the fifth semester of a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Enginering, because of her Bahai beliefs. The discovered she had been expelled when she tried to access her personal page on the University’s web site on January 23. Her access was blocked. She went first to the IT services department, who sent her to the Education Office, who knew nothing about her expulsion. That office sent her back to the Director of the Education Office, who made further enquiries with the National Organisation for Educational Testing, who said that her student portal had been closed, but this was to be confidential. When she asked whether she had been expelled, the Education Office told her, “No, but until the Testing Organisation says that the problem with your file has been resolved, you are barred from further study and cannot follow classes in the coming semester.” She then went to the Ministry of Education and the Testing Organisation, but as of January 28 she had received no response, and there has also been no official documentation of the her expulsion.

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Two Bahais arrested in Zahedan

Iran Press Watch, February 2, 2017.

Sholeh Ram (شعله رام) and her husband Shayan Rahimi (شایان رحیمی), Bahais living in the city of Zahedan, were arrested by Security agents on the morning of February 1, and were transferred to an unknown location. An informed said, “Yesterday morning [at 10.30 am], they arrested Mrs. Ram at her father’s workplace, and then went to the business premises of Mr. Rahimi and arrested him.” Another source said that this was the first time these Bahais had been arrested, and the arresting agents said they would be charged with “activities against national security.”
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Afif Na`imi returns to Rajai Shahr prison

Bahai News (Persian), January 28, 2017.

Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven imprisoned ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran), returned to Rajai Shahr prison on January 28. He has served 8 years of a 10-year sentence, and was granted a furlough for medical treatment which eventually extended to five months. On several occasions in recent years, he has been taken from prison to a heart disease hospital in Tehran for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. He suffers from blood clots and recurrent fainting (apparently due to the effects of blood thinning drugs to reduce the risk of brain hemorrhage). His health problems are described as “severe,” and the prison’s Medical Examiner has determined that he is not fit for prison because of his failing health.
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One arrest in Tehran

Iran Press Watch, February 2, 2017.

The website of Human Rights in Iran reports: on January 27 Haleh Gholami (هاله غلامی), a Bahai from Tehran, was detained by security agents in the Shahrara area of Tehran because of her belief in the Bahai Faith, as she was participating in charity work for child laborers. Bahai News reported that after her arrest, they searched her home and confiscated her mobile phones and tablets.
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Two arrests in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), January 26, 2017.

On January 24, security forces raided the home of Manouchehr Rahmani (منوچهر رحمانی) and Mohsen Mehrgani (محسن مهرگانی), which they searched thoroughly, seizing their religious books and personal effects. They were arrested and taken away, and their present whereabouts is unknown.
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Tina Mauhabati’s prison sentence commuted to a fine

Bahai News (Persian), January 31, 2017.

Tina Mauhabati ( تینا موهبتی ), a Bahai originally from Gorgan in Golestan Province, has been fined 3 million tumans (860 euros; $US 930). This fine replaces her previous sentence of one year and nine months, which was not implemented because she was less than 18 years old when she was sentenced. At the time of her arrest she was living in Tehran, and was arrested at the bus station in Gorgan on the evening of October 23, 2012, as she was waiting for the bus to Tehran. She was held for 24 days before being released on bail. She was charged with propaganda against the regime, apparently connected to a prayer meeting. She is one of 24 Bahais from Golestan province who were given very heavy sentences in January, 2016, sentences which were greatly reduced by the Review Court in November, 2016. They were charged with crimes such as collaborating with hostile states by promoting the interests of a sect and of anti-Muslim and anti-Shiah arrogant governments, and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic and in favor of the Bahai Faith through participation in Ruhi projects in Golestan province.”

Tina Mauhabati’s sentence was initially 9 years in prison, later reduced to 21 months, and now commuted to a fine. Because she will be ‘credited’ with the time she has already been imprisoned, the amount she will actually have to pay is 1.8 million tumans.
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Latest news from the Bahais in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), January 24, 2017.

On the morning of January 24, security forces searched the home of Muhammad Tadrisi (محمد تدریسی), a Bahai living in Yazd, and arrested him. He was taken to the jail run by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was released on bail on February 1. About four years ago, his home was searched and photographs and other personal effects were seized.

Also on the morning of January 24, Mrs. Shabnam Motahed (شبنم متحد) was released from prison after serving a two-year sentence. Her husband Mr. Eyman Rashidi (ایمان رشیدی) is serving a three-year sentence. Both entered prison on March 18, 2015. They were among 20 Bahais who were arrested in August, 2011, and given heavy prison terms in April, 2014.

As previously reported, Mahbod Ettehadi (مهبد اتحادی), another Bahai from Yazd, was released on bail on January 23 after a 3-week interrogation period, and Mrs. Fariba Ashtari (فریبا اشتری) was released on January 13, after serving a 2-year sentence. On the morning of January 18, security officers arrested seven other Bahais in Yazd.
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Mahbod Ettehadi bailed in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), January 23, 2017.

Mahbod Ettehadi (مهبد اتحادی), a 23-year-old Bahai living in Yazd who was arrested by security forces on the morning of January 1, has been released on bail after being detained for 23 days by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was arrested at his workplace, in a travel agency. The arresting agents gave no reason for his arrest. They took him to his home, which they searched.
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Kouroush Sharif-zadeh and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan bailed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), January 22, 2017.

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh (کوروش شریف زاده) and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan (فواد میثاقیان), Bahais from Karaj who were arrested on January 19, have been freed on bail of 300 million tumans and 120 million tumans, respectively ($US 92,000 and $US 37,000 respectively). After their arrest they were transferred to Ghezel Hazar prison. Follow the arrest of Mr. Sharif-zadeh, he was taken in handcuffs to his business (which had previously been closed by the authorities), and all his stock was confiscated. The two men are (apparently) joint owners of Sam Optics in Karaj, which has been shut down by the authorities because of their Bahai beliefs. It is one of over 90 Bahai-run businesses that were closed down in various places in November, 2016.
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Two Bahai men forcibly disappeared in Yemen

Amnesty International, January 19, 2017.

Heshmat Alah Ali Mohammad Sabet Sarvestani and his son-in-law Nadim al-Sakkaf have been arbitrarily detained in Yemen, without charge and subjected to enforced disappearance, since January 11. They have been held incommunicado in an unknown location without access to their families or lawyers, raising fears they might be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

On 11 January, Nadim al-Sakkaf drove Heshmat Alah Sarvestani to the international airport in Yemen’s southern city of Aden. Heshmat Alah Sarvestani was due to board a Yemenia flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to renew his Iranian passport and receive medical treatment. He is 75 years old and suffers from various medical ailments, including arterial hypertension — a rare form of high blood pressure — and a slipped disc. At around 2pm, while at the check-in desk, the two men were approached by an airport officer dressed in civilian clothing who ushered Nadim al-Sakkaf into an office for questioning. Hesmat Alah Sarvestani was called into the same office shortly after. Neither has been seen since. The Yemeni authorities have refused to disclose their whereabouts.

Amnesty International has issued an “urgent action” call because of the dissappearance of the two men,
+ calling on the Yemeni authorities to disclose the fate and whereabouts of Heshmat Alah Sarvestani and Nadim al-Sakkaf and release them immediately and unconditionally, unless they are to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence, in line with international law and standards; and
+ urging them to ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment and granted, without delay, regular access to their families, lawyers and any medical treatment they may require.
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Seven Bahais arrested in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), January 18, 2017.

On the morning of January 18, security officers arrested Farzad Rouhani (فرزاد روحاني), Nateqeh Na`imi (ناطقه نعيمي), Mehran Eslami (مهران اسلامي), Mehran Bandi (مهران بندي), Ramin Hasouri (رامين حصوري), Ahmad Na`imi (احمد نعيمي) and Uzzatallah Kharram (عزت الله خرم).

Mrs. Nateq Na’imi (ناطقه نعیمی) has been imprisoned previously, and was only released on August 16, 2016. Mehran Bandi has also been imprisoned for his beliefs: on October 3, 2010, he was reported to be serving a 3-year sentence in the prison of Zabul. In February 2014 his home was the target of a raid, and in August, 2016, his home and workplace in Yazd were raided. Mr. Azzatullah Khorram was one of 17 Bahais who were arrested in Yazd in early August, 2016.
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Two Bahai business-owners arrested in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), January 19, 2017.

Bahai News (Persian), January 19, 2017.

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh (کوروش شریف زاده) and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan (فواد میثاقیان), Bahais from Karaj whose optician’s workshop has been shut down by the authorities because of their Bahai beliefs, were summoned to the Office of Suspensions (a department of the Ministry of Justice), and arrested when they arrived. They were taken away from the Office of Suspensions, and their present whereabouts is not known. Kouroush Sharif-zadeh has been previously mentioned on this blog, as the owner of Sam Optics in Karaj, one of over 90 Bahai-run businesses that were closed down in various places in November, 2016.
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Six Bahai students expelled in Rudehen

Bahai News (Persian), January 17, 2017.

On December 31, 2016, six students were expelled from the Islamic Free University in Ruhdehen (Roodehen), because of their Bahai beliefs. After confirming their identity (as enrolled students), Sana Hourbakht (ثنا هوربخت), Janahgir Hedayati (جهانگیر هدایتی) and four others who have not given permission to use their names found they were blocked from the student’s part of the university web site and, after various efforts to follow up on this, found that their expulsion was directly related to the head of the University’s security department.

Sana Hourbakht sat the national University Entrance examination in the previous academic year, and was faced with the “incomplete file” excuse that is used to bar Bahai students from universities, but he was nevertheless able to enroll at the Free University to study architectural engineering. But on December 28 he, like the other five Bahai students at the university, found his personal page had been blocked and that he no longer had user access as a student.

Janahgir Hedayati was in his fifth semester of a degree in Computers and Applications, and just two weeks before his expulsion the Chancellor of the Free University had awarded him a wall plaque in recognition of his academic excellence. He too sat the national University Entrance examinations and received only the result “file incomplete,” but was able to enroll at the university as a “free” student, without UE results.

The other expelled students likewise had given their religion as “Bahai” on enrolling, and found they were expelled when they were blocked from the university web site. There is no evidence of who took the decision or blocked their accounts, but only university officials have that access to the web site. When they followed up, the Chancellor’s office told them to go to the Security Department [which is an arm of the Ministry of Intelligence, not controlled by the University ~ Sen]. when they went to the Security Department, their mobile phones were confiscated [to prevent them recording the interview ?] and the Head of Security told them “do not come to the University, you know why you have been expelled.” From the University Administration they learned that the officials there had no idea why they had been expelled, only that there was a red star beside their names in the list of students. The officials said to ask the Security Office what it meant.
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Bahai student expelled in Shiraz

Bahai News (Persian), January 15, 2017.

Dorna Esmaili (درنا اسماعیلی), a student in the 7th semester of a degree in Graphic Design at the Eram non-profit private university in Shiraz, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. On January 8, during the end of term examinations, an examination official contacted her to say that the National Organisation for Educational Testing had said she was not eligible for examinations. When she asked the reason, she was told to contact Mr. Nourbaksh (آقاي نور بخش), at the head office of NOET in Tehran. When she asked the Chancellor of the University why she was expelled, he said she contact NOET. She did so, travelling to Tehran to see Mr. Nourbaksh, he said he had been contacted by the Ministry of Intelligence, and was not responsible for the decision.
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Bahai student expelled in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), January 16, 2017.

Ma’ideh As-sadat Hosseini-rad (مایده السادات حسینی راد), a Bahai from Isfahan, has been expelled from university because of her Bahai beliefs. She was not given any documentation of her expulsion, or evidence of the grades she had achieved.

Following the national university entrance examinations she was excluded from study, with the excuse of “incomplete file,” but she was able to resolve that issue (the details are not specified) through contact with the National Organisation for Educational Testing, allowing her to enrol at the Technical University of Isfahan to study mathematics and statistics. But following the examinations at the end of the first semester she was excluded from the University’s web site and contacted to say that the National Organisation had not confirmed her eligibility to enrol, and she should go to the Organisation with any questions. When she did go to the Organisation, accompanied by her mother, for an interview with the head of student selections. He said the issue was a long-standing one, and that he was a supporter of the Bahais, to which Miss Hosseini-rad replied that there had been no improvement in the situation for Bahais over the years. He said the fault lay with the Ministry of Intelligence, not the Ministry of Science and Technology.
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Fariba Ashtari released from prison

Bahai News (Persian), January 13, 2017.

Mrs. Fariba Ashtari (فریبا اشتری) was released from prison in Yazd on January 13, after serving a 2-year sentence which commenced on February 21, 2015. She has also been given a 12-month suspended sentence (probation), which will begin now. 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 Baqeri (ناصر باقری) and her son Fa’iz Baqeri (فایز باقری) have also been imprisoned for their faith in Yazd.
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Bahai business reopened in Karaj

Campaign against harrassment of Bahais, January 6. 2017.

An office fittings business operated by Kambiz and Kourush Sadeqi ( کامبیز و کوروش صدقی), two Bahai brothers living in Karaj, has been allowed to reopen. In the last three months, at least 140 Bahai-owned businesses have been sealed by the authorities because they were closed on Bahai religious holidays. Most remain sealed.
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Another student expelled in Shiraz

HRANA, January 12, 2017.

Nazanin Niku-seresht ( نازنین نیکو سرشت), a student of English Literature at the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Shiraz University, has been expelled after after two and a half months of study because of her Bahai beliefs. On December 28, 2016, when she checked the University web site to see her grades, she found the list was blank. When she enquired at the Faculty, she was told the University’s central administration had sent a letter saying her university studies had been stopped. The letter was signed by Dr. Muhammad-`Ali Masnadi Shiraz (محمدعلی مسندی شیراز), the head of educational affairs at the University. University officials said the decision was made by the Lecturer and Student Selection Committee in Tehran on December 12, and covered the expulsion of six students [for various reasons]. She was told she would have to contact the Committee for further details, but was not allowed a copy of the letter.

Mrs. Niku-seresht was one of the 129 Bahai university applicants who were rejected this academic year, with the excuse “incomplete file.” But she enquired about the nature of the “incomplete file,” and in the meantime was able to enroll and begin studies. Her further enquiries to the national body responsible for the university entrance requirements received not answer. But when she looked at Shiraz University, where she had applied, she found her name on the list of new students. She chose her courses and was given a student number and ID card.
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Maryam Bashir and Borhan Ismaili arrested in Borazjan, Bushehr

Iran Press Watch, January 3, 2017.

Agents from the Intelligence Protection Organisation (سازمان حفاظت اطلاعات سپاه پاسداران) arrested Maryam Bashir (مریم بشیر) and Borhan Ismaili (رهان اسماعیلی), two Bahai residents of Borazjan in Bushehr province, on the morning of January 2, 2017.

The agents searched their homes from 8 AM to 12 PM on Monday, 2 January 2017, and confiscated personal belongings, including mobile telephones, religious books and laptop. According to informed sources they then took them to a prison run by the Organisation, then to a court, and finally to Borazjan prison.

According to a source close to the family, the security forces showed their families only a letter, saying they should go to the court on the following day.

The security forces also went to the home of Farshad Taqavi (فرشاد تقوی) in Borazjan, searched the house and confiscated some of his belongings, including his mobile telephone, laptop, religious books and photos, but this Bahai was not arrested.

Maryam Bashir (pictured following her release) was freed on bail two days later. Bail was set at 120 million tumans (35,000 euros ; $US 37,000). Borhan Ismaili was freed after posting bail of the same amount on January 7.

In the days following the two arrests, the Organisation summoned and interrogated Minu Bashir (مینو بشیر), Farang Shaykhi (فرانک شیخی) — the wife of Borhan Ismaili — and Haydeh Ram (هایده رام), the wife of Farshad Taqavi.
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One arrest in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), January 1, 2017.

Mahbod Ettehadi (مهبد اتحادی), a 23-year-old Bahai living in Yazd, was arrested by security forces on the morning of January 1. Initial reports suggested that he was being detained by the Ministry of Intelligence, but as of today (January 10) there is no further news of him. He was arrested at his workplace, in a travel agency. The arresting agents gave no reason for his arrest. They took him to his home, which they searched.
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Bahai murdered in Semnan, and his body burnt

Bahai News (Persian), January 9, 2017.

Ahmad Fana’ian ( احمد فناییان), an elderly Bahai farmer living in Semnan Province, was murdered on the night of January 7, and his body was burnt to such an extent that DNA tests were required to identify the victim. It is not clear whether there was a religious motive for the murder.

A neighbour noticed that Mr. Fana’ian’s sheep were wandering, and that his car stood with the door open, and the key in the ignition, and found no trace of him. He called Mr. Fana’ian’s brother, who tried to contact him several times and then came with his son to the farm, where they found his burned body. Four farm workers are also missing.
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Wife of Samir Khalousi arrested in Kerman

Bahai News (Persian), January 3, 2017.

Ruhiyyeh Zaynali (روحیه زینلی), a Bahai living in Kerman, was summoned twice to the Provincial Office of the Ministry of Intelligence on two successive days. On the second occasion, on January 3, she was arrested. Her husband Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) was arrested during a violent raid on the their home on December 30, 2016, and is still being interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence. Both are accused of propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. Mr. Khalousi suffers from a skin disease that requires medications, but the Ministry of Intelligence has not allowed him to receive the medication. The imprisoned couple have two children, aged 7 and 16.
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Iqan Shahidi released after 5 years in prison

Bahai News (Persian), January 1, 2017.

Iqan Shahidi (ایقان شهیدی), a Bahai from Kermanshah, was released from Raja’i Shahr prison on January 1, at the end of a five-year sentence for his activism for equality of educational opportunities in Iran. Mr. Shahidi was successful in the University Entrance exams in 2007, but was excluded from tertiary education because he is a Bahai. The authorities used the excuse of “file incomplete” – which is to say, it lacked the word “Muslim.” He became active in the campaign against educational discrimination, and was arrested along with a number of other human rights activists, including four Bahais, on March 2, 2010, in Kermanshah. He was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran and held in wing 2A for 71 days. During this time he was subjected to prolonged interrogation and physical and psychological torture. He and Sama Nourani ( سما نورانی ), another Bahai who had been denied university admission, were pressured to make televised confessions. At that time he was about 21 years old. He was released on bail of 50 million tuman (at that time worth about 35000 euros) on May 11, 2010.

He was tried in Tehran on July 2 on charges of membership of an illegal organisation (the Committee for the Right to Education (PCED), propaganda against the regime, and membership of the Bahai community. He was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای) in Tehran. Judge Moqayesseh was also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (imprisoned national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran) and continues to misuse his judicial position to oppress the Bahai minority even today. The sentence was confirmed by the review court under Judge Mauhed (قاضی موحد). He began his sentence on April 9, 2012. In 2014 he was granted six days of leave from prison, beginning on July 28.

March 26, 2017

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi begins her prison sentence


Bahai News (Persian), March 26, 2017.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested on March 19 and taken to Adel Abad prison to begin serving a 2-year sentence.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz, and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence, but one informed source indicates that yet a third case against her is being prepared by the Ministry of Intelligence.

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