Sen's daily

August 12, 2019

Another arrest in Shiraz


HRANA, August 11, 2019. –

Soheila Haqiqat (سهیلا حقیقت), a Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested on August 10. Seven masked agent from the Intelligence Corps of the IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) came to her home, where she was hosting an addiction recovery meeting. They searched the home and questioned all the participants, recording their details. They arrested Mrs. Haqiqat and seized a computer, ID documents, bank cards and her father’s birth certificate and passport. She was taken away, and her whereabouts are unknown.

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New arrest in Birjand

HRANA, August 11, 2019. –

On August 3, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Birjand arrested Farid Moqadam-Ziraki (فرید مقدم زیرکی). The Provincial command of the Ministry of Intelligence in South Khorasan Province, had previously announced the arrest of an unnamed Bahai in Birjand, who was said to be working to tighten sanctions. Mr. Moqadam-Ziraki has been able to contact this family once since he was arrested. He was previously summoned and questioned by the Ministry of Intelligence twice, in 2017 and 2018.

As previously reported, Ruhollah Zibaa’i ( روح الله زيبايي ), a Bahai resident of Baghestan, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on the same day, August 3, and government-sponsored media claimed that this too was in relation to a scheme to tighten the economic sanctions.

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

August 11, 2019

Raid on the home of Jamaalodin Khaanjaani

jamalodinhanjaniHRANA, August 10, 2019. –

The Tehran home of Jamaalodin Khaanjaani (جمال الدین خانجانی) was searched by seven agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on the morning of August 9. Mr. Khaanjaani is one of the seven “Yaran” (former national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), who served 10-year prison sentences. He was released from prison on March 17, 2018. The search lasted for five hours, and the agents seized all his books, Bahai pictures, and some cash.

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

Three arrests in Tehran

HRANA, August 10, 2019. –

At 8 a.m. on August 10, three security agents arrested Mrs. Minou Bavil-e Sofla’i (منیره باویل سفلایی), Mrs. Munireh Zamani (مینو زمانی پور) and Mr. Ghollam-hoseyn Mazlumi (غلامحسین مظلومی), three Bahais in Tehran, and took them to Evin Prison. The agents had a warrant. They arrived at the home of Mrs Bavil-e Sofla’i and searched it, seizing a laptop, mobile phone, Bahai books and pictures, and took her away with them. [The report implies that the other two arrests were at a different address.] The agents said that the arrests were related to events in the village of Gilavand in October last year.

Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian (شمسی اقدسی اعظمیان), a Bahai from Gilavand, 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. 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, so it is a reasonable assumption that government agents exhumed the body and dumped it in the desert. Four days after the burial, in a phone call, police told Mrs. Azamian’s son that the body of his mother, had been found and he should take it to Tehran. He objected, since the distance between Gilavand and Tehran is more than an hour, and according to Bahai burial rites, the body should not be transported more than an hour. The agents then carried away the body of Mrs. Azamian to Tehran without the consent of the family.

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

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestaani on medical furlough


HRANA (facebook), August 10, 2019. –

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestaani (حسن ممتاز سروستانی), a Bahai prisoner from Shiraz who was transferred to Evin prison in Tehran on February 26 this year, has been granted a short medical furlough, beginning on August 10. In mid-May he received an angiograph test at a hospital in Tehran. Although the doctor wanted him to be hospitalized for observation for 24 hours and prepared for a stent, he was returned to prison in handcuffs and shackles on the following 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.

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

Faarouq Izaadinia sentenced to 10 years

HRANA, August 9, 2019. –

Faarouq Izaadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا), a scholar, translator and Bahai citizen of Tehran, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Unless the Review Court exonerates him, this will be his second long prison sentence. [He spells his name Faruq Izadinia: I have adopted my own ‘transliteration’ system to indicate the long vowels without using any special symbols ]

Mr. Izaadinia was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12, 2017. The agents confiscated some 1300 books, and some of his personal effects. He was released on bail about two weeks later. His trial was not held until mid-February this year. Mr. Izaadinia later described the process of his prosecution in an open letter which Iran Press Watch has translated. The judge was Judge Moqiseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), a notorious abuser of human rights, and of judicial procedures, who was responsible for the imprisonment of the seven “Yaran.” Mr. Izaadinia was charged with undermining national security by administering Bahai activities. The verdict stated that he had been and is one of the people influential and effective in organising Bahai activities, and mentions his work for the BIHE, the informal university that gives courses to some of the Bahai students who are excluded from tertiary education.

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

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

August 9, 2019

Review court confirms that Bahais are barred from tertiary education

HRANA, August 8, 2019. –

The Review court for administrative law has upheld a ruling that Bahais in Iran are barred from tertiary education. Hanaan Har (حنان حر) passed the University Entrance examinations three years ago and was accepted at the Noshirvaani (نوشیروانی) University in Babol, to study Mechanics, but from October 23, 2016, she was barred from the campus because of her Bahai beliefs. In the following year, she took a case to the Administrative Court to obtain her human and civil rights, but the court refused to hear the case because it stated that “Bahais are not only barred from working in public places, they are barred from tertiary education in Iran as well.”

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

Home of Bahai author Touraj Amini searched


HRANA, August 8, 2019. –

On August 4, security forces in Karaj searched the home of Bahai researcher and author Touraj Amini ( تورج امینی), seizing books and notes, as well as personal belongings. He was told to expect a summons to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in the next few days. Mr. Amini was previously detained for a short time, in March 2008. His books include one on the role of religious minorities in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911, and “The Hidden Awakening” (رستاخیز پنهان), on the relationship between Iranians intellectuals and the Babi and Bahai Faiths.

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

August 6, 2019

Sohrab Naqipour granted early release in Isfahan

Human Rights in Iran, August 2, 2019. –

Sohraab Naqipur (سهراب نقی پور), a Bahai prisoner in Isfahan, has been granted early release on medical grounds. He was released in mid-July, but this has only now been reported. He began his 5-year sentence on January 5, 2019. He was one of five Bahais arrested in Isfahan on March 28, 2017. Note that there is another Bahai prisoner of the same name in Yazd (released in 2015).

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

August 5, 2019

Six Bahais acquitted in Tabriz: is there a pattern?


HRANA, August 4, 2019. –

The Review Court for East Azerbaijan Province has acquitted six Bahais who had each been sentenced to six months in prison, on the charge of “membership in the illegal Bahai organisation.” Those acquitted are 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 Bakhshi (خیرالله بخشی). They were arrested between November 16 and November 20, 2018, and held for one month before being released on bail. The trial took place on June 11, and the six were then released on bail of one million tumans. The sentences were issued on June 15. The Judge in that trial (in a Revolutionary Court) was Mr. Hamelbar (قاضی حمل بر). The organisations of the Bahai community in Iran were all disbanded after the 1979 Revolution – the Bahais in that country have no organisation.

This begins to look like a pattern, of Review Courts overturning the decisions of judges in Revolutionary Courts. In mid-July, the Review Court for Fars Province 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 early June, the Review Court for Mashhad acquitted Kaaviz Nouzdahi (کاویز نوزدهی), a Bahai from Mashhad, of all the charges against him. In mid-January the Review Court for Kurdistan Province acquitted Dr. Mariya Kothari (ماریا کوثری). At about the same time, the Alborz Province Review Court 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.

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

Another arrest in Karaj


Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, August 4, 2019. –

On August 3, security agents arrested Abu-Fadl Ansaari (ابوالفضل انصاری) at his home in Karaj. It is not known where he is being detained. He suffers from a heart condition and has recently had a pacemaker fitted.

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

Ruhollah Zibaa’i arrested in Baghestan, Tehran Province


Human Rights in Iran, August 3, 2019. –

Ruhollah Zibaa’i ( روح الله زيبايي ), a Bahai resident of Baghestan, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on the morning of August 3. Baghestan is a dormitory town lying between Tehran and Karaj. Mr. Zibaa’i is described as conducting business activities in the Alborz and Southern Khorasan provinces. His family have not been able to discover where he is being held, or the reason for his arrest. Tasnim, a news agency linked to the government, mentioned the arrest withut Mr. Zibaa’i’s name, saying that he was a leading member of a sect and had economic links to a counter-revolutionary network that active in these two provinces to “impose economic sanctions.”

Mr. Zibaa’i’s home was searched in December, 2005, and he was arrested on May 11, 2006, and taken to Qazil Hesar prison. He was charged with “acting against national security.” He was released on bail of 50 million tumans (about 32,000 euros at that time) around May 19. In early June, 2006, he was sentenced to one year in prison for “propaganda against the system and acting against national security.” His brother Ramin Zibaa’i was detained following the raids and arrests targeting the BIHE.

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

July 26, 2019

After 2 years, Fardin Aghsaani’s shop is still sealed


HRANA, July 25, 2019. –

Two years after local authorities in Urumiyyeh sealed the shop of Fardin Aghsaani (فردین اغصانی), a Bahai war veteran who has been imprisoned for his religious beliefs, the shop itself remains sealed. Mr. Aghsaani, who is 84 years old, now sells small items from a stall on the pavement in front of his shop.

In July and August, 2017, local authorities in Urumiyyeh sealed the premises of 23 Bahai-run businesses. They acted because these businesses took a free day 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 Bahais are often denied this normal right, as they are denied many other civil rights.

After appealing to various authorities including Iran’s Supreme Administrative Court, the Bahais agreed to sign a pledge not to close their businesses on Bahai Holy Days — except for Mr. Aghsaani. In January 2019, West Azerbaijan Provincial authorities gave permission for the re-opening of 22 Bahai-run businesses. It is not clear from this report whether the Provincial Court’s decision applied to Mr. Aghsaani’s business: in any case local authorities have not implemented it.

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

July 23, 2019

Bahai man mising from Isfahan for six months


Iran Wire (English), July 22, 2019. Persian source: Iran Wire. –

Haamed Rezvaani (حامد رضوانی), a musician and a teacher, left his home in Isfahan on December 24, 2018 and never returned. His family have repeatedly tried to find him, searching hospitals and the coroner’s office, and enquiring at the police detective bureau, police stations, police headquarters, the local Intelligence Bureau, the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Unit and the court in Isfahan. But there is no trace of Haamed Rezvaani.

“We can find no reason for his disappearance,” one of Rezvaani’s relatives told IranWire. “The possibility that he lost his way is very low … he had no mental problems. Haamed Rezvaani played and taught the daf [a tambourine-like frame drum]. He made a living by playing and teaching music. He was not a wealthy person to have been kidnapped for ransom. He had no enemies.”

The relative said Haamed Rezvaani had spent most of his time prior to his arrest with his pupils and with other artists. “A few years ago he found his faith in the Bahai religion and, although he was not considered an official member of the Bahai community, throughout these years he was time and time again insulted and threatened on the phone or in person by the Intelligence Bureau and anonymous persons. He was attacked and beaten up a few times. They even arrested him and told him to abandon his faith.”

Because of his faith, the Intelligence Ministry also banned him from teaching at music schools in Isfahan and from holding concerts.

In the summer of 2016, Intelligence Ministry agents raided his home under the pretext that Rezvaani had spread “propaganda against the regime through proselytizing for Baha’ism.” They insulted and verbally abused him, searched his home and confiscated his personal belongings including his laptop, the notebooks he wrote poetry in, and his musical notations and instruments.

The agents did not have a warrant for his arrest. They shackled his hands and his feet and beat him in front of his elderly parents for “converting to the Bahai faith.” Afterwards, they took him to his place of work, searched it and confiscated his computer and other items, including musical instruments. They then took him to an unknown location outside the city and beat him with force on the head and the face, insulting and swearing at him at the same time. He was then forced to give his fingerprints to be filed on record along with the confiscated items.

Threat of “Physical Elimination”

Mr. Rezvaani was arrested again that same year. Intelligence Ministry agents arrested him in October 2016, and took him to the prison in Isfahan. During his detention, he was subjected to mental and physical torture, and the interrogator told him he would be soon “physically eliminated” by execution. The examining magistrate did not allow his lawyer to pursue the case or read his file.

Rezvaani was released on bail after spending 21 days in detention. After his release, he filed a complaint against the examining magistrate and the Intelligence Ministry agents who had tortured him, but the court acquitted them. Rezvaani then filed a complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court and this complaint was reportedly sent to the Judges’ Disciplinary Court shortly before his recent disappearance.

“After six months,” his relative told IranWire, “we have no reliable news about Haamed except that, during our repeated visits to various agencies, one of them said that he had been handed over to a security unit the same day that he was summoned to the prosecutor’s office.” But he added that it was not clear whether the claim is true or not because no agency had named the security unit or clearly stated why and on what charges Rezvaani is being held or why no news has been made available about him.

Article 23 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic unequivocally states: the “investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.” However, over the last 40 years, Iran’s judiciary and security officials have explicitly violated the constitution and have persecuted any person who has converted from Shia Islam to another religion by threatening the individual with prison on the charge of heresy in order to force him or her to return to the Shia faith. The treatment of Hamed Rezvani by the Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Court’s examining magistrate is a flagrant miscarriage of justice and a violation of citizens’ rights.

July 18, 2019

Health concerns for Korush Pardis in Evin Prison

Iran Wire, July 16, 2019. –

Korush Pardis (کوروش پردیس) is a Bahai prisoner serving a five-year sentence in Evin Prison, whose arrest, trial and detention have not previously been reported. He began serving his sentence on June 2 this year, when security agents arrested him unexpectedly, without a prior summons and without an arrest warrant. His life is said to be at risk in prison, as he has had a kidney transplant and suffers from blocked arteries. The doctor treating him has certified that his health will not bear imprisonment, but thus far this has been ignored.

Mr. Pardis was arrested in his home in Tehran by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in September 2016, who searched his house for several hours and arrested him on charges of being a Bahai and teaching Chemistry to several Bahai students in the neighbourhood. He was held for two weeks before being released on bail. A year later, a trial was held before Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), a notorious abuser of human rights, and of judicial procedures, who was responsible for the imprisonment of the seven “Yaran.” He was found guilty of membership of the Bahai organisation, and sentenced to five years in prison, although he has never been a member of a Bahai organisation. All Bahai organisations in Iran disbanded themselves following the 1979 revolution. Since that time, only the children of Bahais have been reckoned as part of the Bahai community. A source close to Mr. Pardis said that the sentence was based on false suppositions, as the belief of Mr. Pardis in the Bahai religion was “of heart and conscience only,” and he had never been a formal member of the religion.

Mr. Pardis holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He taught at universities for many years, until he realised that the University Security (a branch of the Ministry of Intelligence, not of the universities themselves) was aware that he had changed his religion from Muslim to Bahai. At that point he resigned, before he could be dismissed from his job. He was able to find work at the Organisation for Vocational and Technical Training. At the time of his initial arrest he was giving Chemistry lessons to a number of Bahai youth in the suburb where he lived, leading to his arrest.

At the time of his arrest [June 2], he was so severely ill that the prison’s judicial officer promised to send his file to the Medical Officer, for a ruling that he was unfit for prison. His condition has worsened over the past six weeks, to the point that his health is in serious danger, but there has been no action thus far.

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

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.

July 13, 2019

Nilufar Hakimi and Elaheh Sami`zaadeh face new charges


Human Rights in Iran, July 12, 2019. –

Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) and Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی), Bahais from Shiraz who have been free on bail since October 12 and October 18, 2018, respectively, have been summoned to the Revolutionary Court in recent days. Nilufar Hakimi (left in the photo), summoned on on July 7, now faces an additional charge of blasphemy (“insulting sacred things”), and her bail has been increased by 80 million tumans (16,800 euros ; $US 19,000). She was originally arrested on October 6, 2018.

Elaheh Sami`zaadeh was summoned on July 11, and now faces an additional charge of forging a document, because she holds a degree from the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). Her bail was increased by 60 million tumans. Her original arrest also related to education. In November 2018 two educational institutes in Shiraz were shut down for employing Bahais to teach. They were originally described as childrens’ music schools, but in this report they are just “institutes.” The schools were not owned or run by Bahais, but Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zaadeh taught there. This report says she was arrested in a class in psychology, taught by Navid Bazmaandegaan (نوید بازماندگان), another Bahai who was arrested on September 15 and bailed on October 23, 2018. But previous reports said that she was teaching music, and this report also says that the two Bahais were only teaching music to children. Both may be true: the institute was shut down for employing her as a music teacher, and she was arrested as one of the students in a psychology class taught by a Bahai — presumably at the same institute. Elaheh Sami`zaadeh was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s “Facility 100” interrogation centre, and eventually released on bail of 100 million tumans, but has been summoned back for further interrogation six times. It appears the other students — presumably Shiah Muslims — were not arrested.

The agents who raided the psychology class interviewed those present individually, searched the classroom, and seized ID cards, computers, flash drives and mobile phones. They required those present to give the passwords for their devices, and provide personal details. They took the teacher, Navid Bazmaandegaan, with them to his home, where they conducted a search and arrested his wife, Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری). Next day, September 16, 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.”

Bahais in Iran are denied most civil rights, are excluded from higher education, and under an economic apartheid system they are excluded from working in the civil service and many economic sectors.

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

July 10, 2019

Mo’in Muhammadi’s sentence reduced to electronic surveillance


HRANA, July 9, 2019. –

The Review Court for the Province of Yazd has reduced the sentence of Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی) from six years in prison to one year of electronic surveillance by wearing a tracking bracelet. He is required to remain within the city of Yazd and the associated industrial park where he works. He has been acquitted of the charge of membership of groups opposed to the regime. The supervision sentence relates to a charge of propaganda against the regime. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9, 2019. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and was released on bail on April 10.

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

July 4, 2019

Farzaad Homaayouni released in Isfahan

HRANA, July 3, 2019. –

Farzaad Homaayouni (فرزاد همایونی), a Bahai serving a 20-month sentence in Isfahan, has been granted conditional early release after serving one third of his sentence. He was initially arrested on March 28, 2017, and began his sentence on January 5, 2019, along with Manuchehr Rahmaani (منوچهر رحمانی), Sohraab Naqipur (سهراب نقی پور) and Mohsen Mehrgaani (محسن مهرگانی).

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

July 1, 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.

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

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) (گیتی چرخی زرین), 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 Baha’is in the past year.

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

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]

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

June 18, 2019

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 Bakhshi (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 Bakhshi 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.

June 5, 2019

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.

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

June 2, 2019

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 Behnaam 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 facilitated, 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.

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

May 21, 2019

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestani receives medical tests


HRANA, May 19, 2019. –

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestaani (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 observation for 24 hours and prepared for a stent, he was returned to prison in handcuffs and shackles on the following 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.

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

May 18, 2019

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.

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

May 15, 2019

Bahai barred from rose-water manufacture

HRANA, May 13, 2019.

On May 12, security forces raided the home of Mr. Heshmatollah Ehsaani (حشمت الله احسانی) in the village of Maazgaan (Maazgun, مازگان) in Kashan County, and seized all the items related to making rose-water. He was told that he was not entitled to continue this work. He was told that he would have “problems” with security agencies if the media reported this action. Maazgaan is a village that has had a substantial Bahai population for many years past.

The present action presumably means that making rose-water has been added to the list of occupations that Bahais are barred from, under Iran’s apartheid system. Because Bahais in Iran are excluded from employment in the civil service, education and health, and other major sectors, many of them start small shops or workshops in sectors where this is permitted, but the rules they must obey have been kept secret. The list of occupations that are barred to Bahais also changes at the whims of unidentified authorities. A leaked copy of the list, dating from April 8, 2010, clarifies which economic sectors are forbidden for Bahais. This order from the chief of police to police bureaus all over the country instructs them to constrain, limit and police the activities of Bahais in the specified fields, and ensure the Bahais do not constitute a significant presence in society.

The order specifies that Bahais should not be allowed to earn high incomes, but may work or be employed at the standard minimum income. 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 refers to the widespread Iranian 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), cafe, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee.

Since this order was issued, the optometry sector has apparently been added to the list, on or before December 2014. In addition to these limitations on where Bahais may work, the Ministry of Intelligence has pressured Muslims to cut social and economic ties with Bahais, and Bahai businesses across Iran have been shut down where they close to observe the Bahai Holy Days.

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

May 10, 2019

Home search and summons in Isfahan

HRANA, May 8, 2019. –

On May 8, the home of 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.

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

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.

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