Sen's daily

News to June 15


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Dorsa Dehqaani arrested in Shiraz

HRANA, June 14, 2021. –

Late in the day of June 14, security forces arrested Dorsa Dehqaani (درسا دهقانی) at Shiraz railway station. They took her to her home in Shiraz, which they searched. They seized some personal effects mobile phones and Bahai books, pictures and artifacts, and took her away. It is not known where she is being detained.

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


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Home raid and arrest in Shiraz

HRANA, June 14, 2021. –

On June 15, security forces arrested Sina Kamali Sarvestaani (سینا کمالى سروستانی) in front of his home in Shiraz. They searched his home and seized personal effects such as books, as well as all the electronic devices belonging to his family. It is not known where he is being detained.
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Shahrzaad Nazifi sentenced: 8 years

HRANA, June 8, 2021. – 

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known sportswoman and trainer in women’s motorcross, to eight years in prison. She was also banned from leaving Iran for two years, and sentenced to three month’s community service, four hours per day, providing services to the intellectually handicapped.  She was tried in absentia by Judge Eymaan Afshaari (قاضی ایمان افشاری). The trial was held recently and the sentence was communicated to her “defence” lawyer after the fact. The charge is said to be “managing illegal groups and gangs with the aim of disrupting national security.” The ruling cited her “bad motives and desire to destroy the religious system.” 

Her home was first raided on November 10, 2018. She was arrested at a motocross track on November 18, 2018. Security forces then raided her home again and siezed all the family’s awards, titles and prizes, as well as documents related to motorcycle races. They also seized mobile telephones, laptops and books. She was released on bail 15 days later. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 164,000). 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.
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Sa`id `Aabadi and Vahid Daana bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, June 2, 2021. –

Sa`id `Aabadi (سعید عابدی) and Vahid Daana (وحید دانا) were released on bail from Adelabad prison in Shiraz on June 1. They were arrested on April 28, during raids on their homes.
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Sentences confirmed for 4 Bahais from Varamin

HRANA, May 30, 2021. –

The Review Court for Tehran Province had confirmed the 3-year sentences of Mrs. Mona Mehraabi (مونا محرابی), Elhaam Karam-Pisheh (الهام کرم پیشه), Afsaaneh Yaadgaar-Ardestaani ( افسانه یادگار اردستانی) and Mr. Ehsaan-Allah Yaadgaar-Ardestaani (احسان الله یادگار اردستانی). They were charged with membership in an illegal organization with the aim of disrupting national security. The Judge of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran who handed down the 3-year sentences, Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad, said that the accused identified impoverished people and children who were abused or deprived of schooling, and gave them education, and that they made brochures for the Red Crescent (Red Cross) and International Children’s Day. Before the trial by Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad, in September or October 2018, they had been sentenced by a revolutionary court in Tehran in a secret trial without a hearing or defence, to five years in prison. Two other Bahais were sentenced to five years in the secret trial of 2018: Safa Forqani-Araani (صفا فرقانی ارانی) and Mehrdaad Forqani-Araani (مهرداد فرقانی ارانی). I have no information about what happened to them.

Mrs. Elhaam Karam-Pisheh and Mona Mehraabi were arrested on February 16, 2015, in a raid on a meeting in Tehran where six Bahais were present. All were separately interrogated in the house, and the two women were arrested in accordance with a warrant and taken away in a car from the Ministry of Intelligence. During the search, which lasted five hours, all the books, pictures and religious symbols of those present, as well as computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, were seized. One report adds that the officers demanded that those present should sign undertakings not to participate in Bahai meetings. Mr. Ehsaan Yaadgaar was arrested in a neighbouring home at the same time, and again religious materials were seized, along with some gold coins. He was told to present himself to the public prosecutor’s office in Varamin (the capital of Varamin County in Tehran Province). He did so, and was released after several hours. He was again arrested in early March, 2015, and taken to Evin Prison for questioning before being released. Mrs. Safa Forqani-Araani was arrested in a raid on her home [apparently in Tehran] on February 17, 2015, and her father Mehrdaad was arrested at his home in Varamin an hour later.
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Six Bahais sentenced in Borazjan: 10 years in prison

HRANA, May 26, 2021. –

A Revolutionary Court in Borazjan, the chief city of Dashtestan county, Bushehr Province, has sentenced Borhan Ismaa`ili (برهان اسماعیلی), Maryam Bashir (مریم بشیر), Faraanak Shaykhi (فرانک شیخی), Haayedeh Raam (هایده رام), Minu Bashir (مینو بشیر) and Darna Ismaa`ili (درنا اسماعیلی). The sentence was announced on May 19. The court theoretically imposed even longer sentences. Mr. Borhan Ismaa`ili was sentenced to eleven years on the charge of “propaganda against the regime by spreading the beliefs of the Bahai sect and acting against دشفهخدشم security by disseminating Bahai ideas.” The five women were sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison on the charge of “Supportion propaganda against the regime by spreading the beliefs of the Bahai sect, producing and publishing vulgar images in cyberspace and on social networks, and acting against the security of the country by publishing and propagating Bahai ideas.” All the Bahai materials seized in home raids in January 2017 were also ordered confiscated. The court findings cited the accused’s involvement with child education and membership of the counter-revolutionary web site, Facebook. If the Review Court upholds these sentences, the accused will serve ten years in prison.

The report says that the accused are from Shiraz and Borazjan, but does not explain further. My records indicate that Faraanak Shaykhi is the wife of Borhan Ismaa`ili, and that Darna Ismaa`ili is their daughter.
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Tehran review court confirms sentences of 3 years and 7 months

HRANA, May 2021. –

Mrs. Marvash `Adaalati `Ali-Abaadi (مهوش عدالتی علی آبادی), Mrs. Sepideh Keshaavarz (سپیده کشاور) and Mr. Farid Ismaa`ili (فرید اسماعیلی) have been sentenced to three years and seven months in prison by the Review Court for Tehran Province. The were charged with “collusion intended to undermine national security by conducting Bahai activities.” The Revolutionary Court, under Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad (قاضی محمدرضا عموزاد), had also given them concurrent sentences of eight months in prison for “promoting the Bahai Faith.” The Review Court has not confirmed those sentences, but it makes no practical difference.
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Five more detainees bailed in Baharestan

HRANA, May 2021. –

Five more of the Bahai women recently arrested in, or in relation to, the city of Baharestan in Isfahan Province were bailed on May 22. They are Noushin Hemmat (نوشین همت), Shouraangiz Behaamin (شورانگیز بهامین), Saara Shakib (سارا شکیب), Azita Rezvaani ( آزیتا رضوانی) and Sho`lah Ashuri (شعله آشوری). Bail was set at 200 million tumans (39,000 euros ; $US 47,000). Previously, Saanaaz Raasteh (ساناز راسته) and Firouzeh Rastinejaad (فیروزه راستی نژاد) were bailed on May 20; Ruya Azaadkhush (رویا آزاد خوش)and Nasreen Khaademi (نسرین خادمی) were bailed on May 18, and Maryam Khursandi (مریم خورسندی) on May 17. All were released from Dawlatabad prison in Isfahan city. Mozhgaan Pourshafi` (مژگان پورشفیع) remains in detention. The arrests and home raids across Baharestan began on April 25.
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Eight Bahais return to prison in Bandar Abbas

HRANA, May 18, 2021. –

In Bandar Abbas, eight Bahai prisoners who were granted furlough on April 14 returned to prison on April 24. Previous reports did not indicate how long the furlough would be, but ten days is quite normal. The prisoners are Arash Raasekhi (آرش راسخی), Omid Afaaqi (امید آفاقی), Mehrollah Afshaar (مهرالله افشار), Nasim Qanawaateyaan (نسیم قنواتیان), Adib Haqq-pazhuh (ادیب حق پژوه), Farhaad Amri (فرهاد امری), Maaraal Raasti (مارال راستی) and Mahnaaz Jaan-Nethaar (مهناز جان نثار). They began their one and two-year sentences in late February and early April, and the report does not indicate why they would be granted furlough so soon. A previous report on Sen’s Daily has details of their trials and sentences.
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Three detainees bailed in Baharestan cluster

HRANA, May 19, 2021. –

Roya Azaadkhoush (رویا آزادخوش) and Nasrin Khaademi (نسرین خادمی), Bahais from Baharestan, were bailed from Isfahan’s Dolatabad Prison on May 18. On May 17, Maryam Khorsandi (مریم خورسندی) was bailed. These three arrests were not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, although it was known that their homes were searched on April 25. They were arrested on the same day. HRANA has also raised the number of Bahai homes raided in Baharestan to 29, from its previous report of 28. Sho`lah Ashuri (شعله آشوری), a Bahai from Baharestan who was arrested in Hendijan, in Khuzestan Province, has been transferred to detention in Baharestan.
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Kiaana Sho`aari’s trial begins in Shiraz

HRANA, May 15, 2021. –

The trial of Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی), a Bahai from Shiraz, began today, May 15. She was notified of her impending trial yesterday. At the hearing, at a Revolutionary Court, her case was referred back to the Prosecutor’s Office for revision. On May 5 she was summoned to the court to hear that she would be tried for “forming dissident groups with the intention of disrupting national security, membership of dissident groups with the intention of disrupting security, and propaganda against the regime.”

She was arrested on October 21, 2019, when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested her and two other Bahais in Shiraz : Farzaan Ma`sumi ( فرزان معصومی) and Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی). The agents also searched their homes, along with the homes of a number of other Bahais in Shiraz, and seized personal effects such as computers, mobile phones and laptops. She was released on bail about two weeks later.
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Atosa Ahmadaa’i sentenced: 4 years

HRANA, May 13, 2021. –

Atosa Ahmadaa’i Rafsanjaani ( آتسا احمدآئی رفسنجانی), a Bahai from Tehran, has been sentenced to eight years in prison by a Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Afshaari (قاضی افشاری). The trial was held on February 28. Mrs Ahmadaa’i was sentenced to four years in prison for forming a group to undermine state security, because she had applied to the Ministry of the Interior for permission to establish an NGO focussing on the empowerment of women who have no support. The Ministry declined her application because of her Bahai beliefs. She was also sentenced to three years in prison fro “assembly and collusion to undermine state security” and to one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime.” Sentences in Iran are normally concurrent.

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 released on bail on March 6, 2019. Bail was set at 200 million tumans (39,000 euros ; $US 47,000). Her case file was passed to Judge Amouzaad (قاضی عموزاد), where it remained for the next two years, until Judge Afshaari, in another branch of the court, commandeered the file, simply because the accused was a Bahai. Judge Afshaari held a trial at which he insulted Mrs Ahmadaa’i and treated her lawyer badly, and issued a judgement in the case without detailed examination. The only evidence was her application to form an NGO for women.
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Three detainees bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, May 7 and May 8, 2021. –

Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی), Siyaamak Honavar (سیامک هنرور) and Qaasem Ma`sumi (قاسم معصومی) have been freed on bail in Shiraz. They are among the Bahais arrested in Shiraz on April 6. Mr. Ma`sumi was released from Adelabad prison on the evening of May 6. Soroush Abadi was released on bail of 800 million tumans (156,000 euros ; $US 190,000) on May 8. He was initially detained by the Ministry of Intelligence at their ‘Facility 100’ interrogation unit, and then taken to the high-security block at Adelabad prison, and then moved to the prisoner of conscience block on May 5. Mr. Honavar was also bailed on May 8.
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Mo’in Mohammadi summoned to prison in Yazd

HRANA, May 7, 2021. –

On May 6, Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی) was summoned to the punishments implementation office and told he must report to prison within 10 days. 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. In July, the Review Court for the Province of Yazd reduced his sentence, for “propaganda against the regime” to one year of electronic surveillance by wearing a tracking bracelet. He was required to remain within the city of Yazd and the associated industrial park where he works.

The Prosecutor objected to the Review Court’s decision and the case was re-tried in Iran’s Supreme Court, which overturned the Review Court decision and returned the case to the Revolutionary Court where the Judge sentenced him to the maximum penalty for membership of groups opposed to the regime — 31 months and 16 days — but deducted the 12 months he wore an ankle bracelet to give a sentence of 19 months and 16 days.
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Sa`id Ettehaad bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, May 5, 2021. –

Sa`id Ettehaad (سعید اتحاد), one of the many Bahais arrested in Shiraz in April, was released on bail on May 5. He was arrested during the raids on Bahai homes in Shiraz on April 6.
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Another Bahai from Baharestan arrested, in Hendijan

HRANA, May 5, 2021. –

On May 5, agents from the security forces raided the home of Sho`lah Ashuri (شعله آشوری) in the city of Hendijan, in Iran’s Khuzestan Province, and arrested her. They also seized her mobile phone and a quantity of books, printed materials and images relating to the Bahai Faith. They gained entry by climbing over the wall, at a time when Mrs. Ashuri’s husband was not at home. Mrs. Ashuri is from Baharestan, in Isfahan Province, where ten Bahais have been arrested recently and numerous Bahai homes have been raided, including the home of her father. She moved to Hendijan two years ago.
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Shahnaaz Saabet released

HRANA, May 4, 2021. –

Shahnaaz Saabet (شهناز ثابت) was released from prison in Shiraz, where she was serving a two-year sentence. This follows the acceptance of her request for a new hearing. She began her sentence on October 6, 2020, so she has served seven months.

Mrs. Saabet was arrested in her home in Shiraz on September 1, 2019. She was initially sentenced to six years in prison, by Judge Sayyid Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی سید محمود ساداتی), on charges of “propaganda against the regime and membership in anti-regime group.” This was reduced to two years by the Review Court.
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Farzandi Ardakaani and Sadiqeh Aqdasi bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, May 3, 2021. –

Behrouz Farzandi Ardakaani (بهروز فرزندی اردکانی) and Sadiqeh Aqdasi (صدیقه اقدسی) were freed on bail on May 3. They were arrested on April 5 and 6 respectively, during a wave of home raids and arrests targetting the Bahai community in Shiraz. They were held in solitary confinement and under interrogation by the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence arm, and were then taken to the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Facility 100. Mr. Vahid Daana (وحید دانا) and Sa`id `Aabadi (سعید عابدی) are also being held in Facility 100, in solitary confinement. Their arrest in late April was reported previously.

Mr. Ardakaani’s name was previously reported as Farzandi Ardakaani (فرزندی اردکانی). He is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and was held as a prisoner of war, and suffers from neurological and hearing problems caused by blast waves, as well as a heart disorder.
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More homes searched, tenth Bahai woman arrested, in Baharestan cluster

HRANA, April 30, 2021. –

On April 30, Shouraangiz Behaamin (شورانگیز بهامین), a Bahai from Baharestan [NB there seems to be a typo in the HRANA report: ابن شهر must be این سهر, ] was arrested at her father’s house in the village of Garuzeh in the Province of Kohgilyeh and Boyer-Ahmad. Her home in Baharestan had been searched by security agents on April 25, and her husband Mehrdaad Azhir (مهرداد آژیر) was beaten, but Mrs Behaamin was not present.

HRANA has also confirmed the identities of 28 Bahais whose homes in Baharestan and Isfahan have been raided in recent days. Many personal effects were seized during the raids, including money, Bahai materials, passports and degrees and certificates.
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Sa`id `Aabadi and Vahid Daana again arrested in Shiraz

Iran Wire, April 29, 2021. –

On April 28, agents from the security forces raided the homes of Sa`id `Aabadi (سعید عابدی) and Vahid Daana (وحید دانا) and arrested them. Mr. Daana and Mr. `Ebadi, and other Bahais, were arrested in Shiraz on August 5, 2014. They were released on bail on September 28 and October 21, respectively. They were sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, 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). Neither the defendants nor their lawyers were informed of that trial. Their respective places of exile were Arsanjan and Darab. In December, 2018, the Review Court for Fars Province reduced those sentences to six months in prison. In February 2019, while they were waiting their turn for a place in prison, they were among the five Bahais from Shiraz who benefited from amnesties for prisoners of conscience marking February 11, the anniversary of the fall of the Pahlavi Monarchy. They were advised, via their lawyer, that they would not be required to serve their sentences.
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Ninth arrest in Baharestan cluster; Afshin Vajdani released

HRANA, April 26, 2021. –

Maryam Khorsandi (مریم خورسندی), a Bahai from Baharestan who has recently moved to Isfahan city, was arrested there on April 25. As previously reported, thirteen Bahai homes were raided, and eight Bahais were arrested, in Baharestan, Isfahan, on the morning of April 25. Agents entered the family home by climbing a wall, searched it and seized mobile telephones, laptops, and books and images relating to the Bahai Faith. They also seized 50,000 dollars [sic] in cash, belonging to Mrs. Khorsandi’s brother who had recently returned to Iran and intended to buy a home. Mrs. Khorsandi is in the midst of a course of chemotherapy, but when she was taken away, no medicines were taken with her.

Afshin Vajdaani (افشین وجدانی), one of the eight Bahais arrested in Baharestan, Isfahan Province on April 25, was released a few hours after his arrest. The families of the detainees have no information about the reasons for the arrests and where they are being held.
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Home searches and arrests in Baharestan, Isfahan Province

HRANA, April 25, 2021. –

Thirteen Bahai homes were raided, and eight Bahais were arrested, in Baharestan, Isfahan, on the morning of April 25. Those arrested are named as Saara Shakib (سارا شکیب), Firouzeh Rastinejaad (فیروزه راستی نژاد), Saanaaz Raasteh (ساناز راسته), Azita Rezvaani ( آزیتا رضوانی), Mozhgaan Pourshafi` (مژگان پورشفیع), Nasreen Khaademi (نسرین خادمی), Afshin Vajdaani (افشین وجدانی) and his wife Noushin Hemmat (نوشین همت). The names of those arrested have been confirmed, but HRANA is still fact-checking on the names of the home-owners who were targetted in the raid.

It is not known where these eight are being detained. During the home raids, agents seized laptops and cell phones and printed materials, some of them relating to the Bahai Faith. They also took family photographs and CDs. There was some violence during the raid on Saara Shakib’s house. The agents at her home also had a warrant for Samira Shakib (سمیرا شکیب). The other raids were also violent, and in one case a door was broken down because there was nobody home.

Saara Shakib’s brother, Sina Shakib (سینا شکیب), a fourth semester student of statistics and applications at the University of Isfahan, was recently expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. In 2016, Saara Shakib was a new student of Statistics and Applications at the Kashan campus of Iran’s National University. She was expelled first from the student accommodation, and then from the University, because of her Bahai beliefs. Another sister, Samira Shakib, was barred from enrolling in a tertiary institution, when her file was marked “incomplete.” The siblings’ mother was also barred from university.
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Authorities close Bahai cemetery in Tehran

Iran Press Watch, April 22, 2021. –

Iranian authorities have banned the Bahais of Tehran from burying their loved ones in a space previously allocated to them in Tehran’s Khavaran cemetery. After the 1979 Revolution, the Iranian government began to desecrate, and in some cases demolish, Bahai cemeteries in Tehran and all around the country.
In 1981, the central Bahai cemetery in Tehran was confiscated, and more than 15,000 graves were demolished. Later a parcel of land in this cemetery was assigned to the Bahais, but the government refused to sell the property to the Bahais and has since substantially increased the price of each burial plot.

The cemetery land assigned to the Bahais would have been sufficient for several decades. However, agents from the Security Office of the Behesht-e Zahra Organization, which manages Khavaran, have now banned the community from using these plots. The Security Officer reportedly issued threats against Bahais who were attempting to use the allocated land.

The Bahais are now being forced to choose between impossible options. One is to use the narrow gaps between existing graves to bury their loved ones, the other is to use a mass burial site authorities claim to have recently emptied. This site is known to be the burial place of thousands of political prisoners killed in early years of the Islamic revolution, and at least 50 martyred Bahais.

“Prohibiting individuals from burying their loved ones in a befitting manner, when they are already in grief, is beyond inhumane,” said Diane Ala’i, Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva. “The Bahais respect the resting places of all and, given that over many decades the Bahai community has faced the desecration of its own cemeteries, they do not want anyone to experience the same pain by burying their dead where others [the political prisoners] recently lay.”
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Manizheh A`zamiyaan arrested and released in Babol

HRANA, April 19, 2021. –

On April 13, security forces in Babol, a city on the Caspian Coast, arrested Mrs. Manizheh A`zamiyaan (منیژه اعظمیان). Next day, she was released on bail of 50 million tumans (10,000 euros ; $US 12,000). Four days before her arrest, security forces raided her home and seized some personal effects including mobile phones, computer hard drives, flash drives, and pictures, books and other printed matter relating to the Bahai Faith. After the morning search, the agents asked her to go to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Babol for interrogation. She did so, and was questioned for several hours. This was repeated several times in the days before her arrest. Mrs. A`zamiyaan is 52 years old. Intelligence agents also contacted several of her contacts, stored on her mobile phone, and summoned them for questioning about their contacts with Mrs. A`zamiyaan.
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Murder of Ataa’ollah Rezvaani to be investigated

HRANA, April 19, 2021. –

Seven years and seven months after the murder of Ataa’ollah Rezvaani (طاالله رضوانی) in Bandar Abbas, the case has been referred to the Prosecutor for a new investigation. Mr. Rezvaani, a well-known member of the Bahai community in Bandar Abbas, was killed on August 24, 2013. He was shot in the head and the body was found in his car in a desert area. The police initially claimed this was suicide, but the weapon was not found, and his cell phone was also taken. He was lured from his home by a call to his cell phone. The case has languished since then in the hands of the court, who have shown no inclination to investigate, which suggests the involvement of a person or persons that the court regarded as untouchable.

Mr. Rezvani was well-known as a Bahai. For three years he was one of the three Bahais who served as local facilitators (Khademin) for the Bahais in the area, which would have involved interactions with local authorities on behalf of the Bahais, on matters such as burials. His life had previously been threatened by fanatical elements within the city administration, by the office of the Imam Jam`eh and by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was loved and respected by the people of Bandar Abbas for his honesty and helpfulness. As a young man, he was expelled from his engineering studies at university because he was a Bahai. He became an expert in water purification, and his work took him to other cities. In the period before his death, agents of the Ministry of Intelligence had been pressuring him to leave the city, and he was receiving menacing telephone calls from unknown persons.
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Mo’in Mohammadi again sentenced to prison

HRANA, April 2021. –

A Revolutionary Court in Yazd has sentenced Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی) to 19 months and 16 days in prison, based on a case file for which he has already been tried, sentenced, had his sentence reduced by the Review Court to electronic monitoring by wearing a tracking bracelet for one year, and has served out that penalty. The trial judge in the resentencing is Amir-Hossein Qarehqaani (قاضی امیرحسین قره قانی).

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. In July, the Review Court for the Province of Yazd reduced his sentence, for “propaganda against the regime” to one year of electronic surveillance by wearing a tracking bracelet. He was required to remain within the city of Yazd and the associated industrial park where he works. The Review Court acquitted him of another charge of membership of groups opposed to the regime.

The Prosecutor objected to the Review Court’s decision and the case was re-tried in Iran’s Supreme Court, which overturned the Review Court decision and returned the case to the Revolutionary Court where the Judge has sentenced him to the maximum penalty for membership of groups opposed to the regime — 31 months and 16 days — but has deducted the 12 months he wore an ankle bracelet to give a sentence of 19 months and 16 days. The Revolutionary Court also sentenced him to 7 months and 16 days for propaganda against the regime, but this time is not added to his sentence because the two sentences are concurrent, as usual under Iranian law. Mr. Mohammadi was not aware of the Prosecutor’s objection or the Supreme Court trial, and was therefore not represented or defended. The Supreme Court’s decision has not been formally notified, let alone explained.
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Eight Bahais free on furlough in Bandar Abbas

HRANA, April 15, 2021. –

Arash Raasekhi (آرش راسخی), Omid Afaaqi (امید آفاقی), Mehrollah Afshaar (مهرالله افشار), Nasim Qanawaateyaan (نسیم قنواتیان), Adib Haqq-pazhuh (ادیب حق پژوه), Farhaad Amri (فرهاد امری), Maaraal Raasti (مارال راستی) and Mahnaaz Jaan-Nethaar (مهناز جان نثار) were released from prison on April 14. They began their one and two-year sentences in late February and early April, and the report does not indicate why they would be granted furlough so soon. A previous report on Sen’s Daily has details of their trials and sentences.
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Another home raided in Shiraz

HRANA, April 8, 2021. –

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

HRANA, April 6, 2021. –

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

HRANA, April 7, 2021. –

Sa`id Ettehaad (سعید اتحاد), Qaasem Ma`sumi (قاسم معصومی), Siyaamak Honavar (سیامک هنرور), Soroush Abaadi (سروش آبادی), Sadiqeh Aqdasi (صدیقه اقدسی) and `Aliyyeh Farutan (عالیه فروتن) were arrested in home raids in Shiraz on April 6, and Farzandi Ardakaani (فرزندی اردکانی) was arrested the previous evening. During the raids, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence seized their personal effects such as books and electronic devices. They were arrested and taken to a detention centre. Soroush Abaadi was one of three Bahais arrested on October 21, 2019: it was later claimed that the three Bahais were holding a religious ceremony intended to eclipse the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Karbala. [!]
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Nine Bahais summoned to prison in Andisheh and Karaj

HRANA, April 8, 2021. –

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

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

HRANA, April 3, 2021. –

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

HRANA, March 12, 2021. –

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

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

During these raids a number of other Bahais in Tehran were questioned, but they are not mentioned in this report.
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Iran to tighten repression of Bahais and Sufis in Mazandaran Province

HRANA, March 10, 2021. –

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

HRANA, March 2021. –

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

HRANA, February 23, 2021. –

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

HRANA, February 23, 2021. –

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

HRANA, February 21, 2021. –

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

Afsaaneh Emaami (افسانه امامی) was arrested at her home on the evening of February 2, 2019. Agents searched her house thoroughly and confiscated her mobile phone, computer, books, and essays. Hamid Nasseri was arrested on the street in front of his business on March 11, 2019, and Saeed was arrested on the same day after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother and wife.

She was released on bail of 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ) on March 16, 2019, and Saeed and Hamid were released for the same bail amount on April 18 and 24, respectively.
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Sentences confirmed for Bandar Abbas eight

Iran Wire, February 8, 2021. –

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

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

The eight are being made to attend these sessions in order to have their beliefs scrutinized and denigrated. This sentence is itself also a clear violation of the twenty-third principle of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which states: “Enquiry into beliefs is prohibited and no one shall be subjected to belligerence and interrogation because of having a belief.”
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Five Bahai women begin 1-year sentences in Mashhad

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

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

The summonses were issued on January 28 and each of the five women has been given 10 days to report for imprisonment. This comes at the same time as a severe outbreak of coronavirus at Vakilabad Prison, and also amid a recent wave of persecution of Bahais and members of other ethnic and religious minorities in Iran.
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Touraj Amini begins his 6-month sentence

HRANA, January 30, 2021. –

On January 29, Bahai researcher and author Touraj Amini ( تورج امینی) was summoned to the Prosecutor’s office and taken to Karaj Central Prison, near Tehran, to begin his six-month sentence. He was originally sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj to one year in prison and two years of exile from the city, but this was reduced by the Alborz Provincial Review Court. On August 4, 2019, security forces searched his home, seizing books and notes and a laptop, and he was previously detained for a short time, in March 2008. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime,” although his books were cited as evidence, and they relate to the Qajar and Pahlavi periods, not the present regime.

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

HRANA, January 29, 2021. –

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

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

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

HRANA, January 24, 2021. –

Mazhdeh Eqteraafi (مژده اقترافی) and her husband Houshmand Taalebi (هوشمند طالبی), Bahais from Vilashahr, were released from prison in Isfahan on January 24. They have been detained since August 23, 2020. After their arrest, officers went to the Bahai couple’s home and searched it, confiscating laptops, cell phones, books, and an acoustic “Dastgah” keyboard. Two cars and a truck belonging to the family were also confiscated. During their interrogation, they were charged with propaganda against the regime and links to foreign governments.
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Sufeya Mobini’s sentence reduced to five years

HRANA, January 21, 2021. –

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

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

HRANA (twice), January 2021. –

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

Ms. Fattaahi, who began a Master’s degree in International Law at Urmia Azad University about two years ago, received a message on the university website on January 17, saying that she was barred from defending her dissertation and continuing postgraduate studies because of her adherence to the Bahai Faith. This message refers to a letter dated December 29, 2099 regarding the the exclusion of Bahai students and the expulsion of Ms. Fattaaahi. The report does not explain who wrote the letter: implicitly it comes from the Ministry of Intelligence to the University.
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House raid in Karaj

HRANA, January 12, 2021. –

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

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