Sen's daily

News to January 26


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Two arrests in Qaemshahr

Iran Wire and HRANA, 26 Janury, 2020. –

Faraaneh Mansouri ( فرانه منصوری) and her husband Saamaan Shirvaani (سامان شیروانی), two Bahais from Qaemshahr, were arrested on January 23 while visiting the home of an old friend in the same city. The arrest was made by agents from the Intelligence Arm of the Revolutionary Guards. The agents came unnanounced over the wall of their friend’s house and forced their way inside. They showed an arrest warrant, and filmed the whole process. The agents searched the house and seized some belongings including a laptop computer, hard drive and mobile telephone, and arrested both the couple and the friend they were visiting. The friend was released a few hours later. The agents took Mr. Shirvaani with them to the couple’s home, which they also searched, but it is not known whether they seized any belongings since only Mr. Shirvani was with them, and he is being held incommunicado.

It is not known why this couple were arrested, or where they are being held. Their families have not been successful in obtaining further information. [Reading between the lines of these reports, it is possible that they were visiting a Muslim friend, and the security forces took action because they seek to minimize contacts between Bahais and Muslims. Some years ago, a Bahai named Faraaneh Mansuri was expelled from university in Tabriz because of her Bahai beliefs. I do not know whether it is the same person. ~ Sen]
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Shiraz city Councillor, Mehdi Haajati, released with a surety

HRANA, January 23, 2020. –

Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی), a member of Shiraz City Council in Iran who was imprisoned for trying to help Bahai constituents, has been released from Shiraz Prison after posting a surety. It is not clear from the report whether this ends his prison term. He began serving a one-year sentence on June 2, 2019, so he has served nine months, but a surety is not required if a prisoner is released before serving his full term.

His legal trouble started in September 2018, when, as he tweeted, “In the past ten days I have knocked on many doors to get two Bahai friends released from detention, without success. As long as we face foreign enemies, our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice”. He was charged with assisting Bahais, and sentenced to one year in prison and two years in exile in Tabas, a small city 800 km North-East of Shiraz.
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Review court in Kerman cuts sentences of four Bahais

HRANA, January 22, 2020. –

Over two years ago, a Revolutionary Court in Kerman sentenced Amrullah Khaalqiyaan (امرالله خالقیان), Ehasaanullah Amiri-niya (احسان الله امیری نیا), Nima Rajab-zaadeh (نیما رجب زاده) and Armaan Bandi (آرمان بندی) to five years in prison. The provincial Review Court has reduced that to four months in prison, on a charge of undermining internal security by teaching the Bahai Faith. The Review Court’s decision was signed by Muhammad Mohaqqeq (محمد محقق) and (Majid Zaynaldini-Neya جید زین الدینی نیا). It appears that the hearing of the Review Court was held on April 28, 2019, but the finding has only just been announced.
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Nine Bahais begin prison terms in Birjand

HRANA, Janury 16, 2020. –

On January 15, nine Bahais whose arrest and sentencing was reported previously began their sentences, ranging from two to four years, in Birjand Prison.
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Wahda Silaani bailed in Kerman

HRANA, January 15, 2020. –

Wahda Silaani (وحدا سیلانی) was freed on bail from Kerman Prison on January 15. Her bail was 100 million tumans (21,000 euros ; $US 24,000). She was arrested in her home in Kerman by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on December 29. The agents also seized some of her belongings. The charges against her are not yet known.
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`Ali Ahmadi’s 11-year sentence confirmed

HRANA, January 14, 2020. –

The Review Court for Mazandaran Province has upheld the 11-year sentence for Mr. `Ali Ahmadi (علی احمدی), a Bahai from Qaemshahr. Mr. Ahmadi was charged with propaganda against the regime and administering Bahai activities, and sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Qaemshahr. He was informed of his sentence on December 2, 2019, The Review Court confirmed the sentence two weeks later, without holding a sitting, based on the file provided by the Revolutionary Court. Earlier reports said that the Revolutionary Court considered the possession of Bahai religious texts as sufficient to justify the sentence.

Mr. Ahmadi was arrested on November 20, 2018, by agents who insulting his religious beliefs and calling him “unclean” and “Bahai dog.” They also seized some religious books mobile phone and computer. He was held in solitary confinement at the Kachou’i Detention Centre in Sari. He was freed on bail on January 2, 2019, after posting bail of 150 million tumans (31,000 euros ; $US 35,000).

This is the fifth time he has been arrested in the past ten years: On the first occasion he was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and on the second occasion he was acquitted. In 2011 he was arrested with two others and charged with participation in Bahai activities. A previous report said that he is also known as Cheragh-`Ali (چراغعلی) Ahmadi. Another states that he is 60 years old, and works as a rice trader.
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Sahba Farnoush sentenced to 16 years in prison

HRANA, January 11, 2020. –

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced Sahba Farnoush (صهبا فرنوش) to 16 years in prison. The verdict, from Judge Emaan Afshaari (قاضی ایمان افشاری), was announced to him in recent days. Mr. Farnoush, a Bahai from Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on November 15, 2015, and was freed on bail from Evin Prison in late December that year. Bail was set at two million rials (60,000 euros, $US 66,000). Mr. Farnoush is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on that day. Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence also closed down Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Mazandaran. The Ministry of Intelligence actions apparently related to Bahais commemorating the birth of Baha’u’llah, but the charges are not stated, and it is not clear why the court decided to issue a judgement on the case four years after Mr. Farnoush was bailed. He is now about 45 years old. His father was arrested and executed following the 1979 Revolution in Iran, and his property was confiscated. At that time, Sahba was five years old.
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Bahais in Iran denied new ID cards

Iran Wire, January 8, 2002. –

Since 2015, Iran has been progressively introducing a ‘smart’ form of the national ID card, with biometric data and a holographic photograph. At some point — apparently a few months ago — the application form for this card was changed, to remove the ‘other religion’ option, and anecdotal reports appeared of individual Bahais being denied a card unless they called themselves Muslims, Christians, Jews or Zoroastrians. Iranian ID cards are valid for seven years, but individuals with pre-2015 cards may need to apply for a smart ID to open a bank account or other specific transaction. I have not reported these individual stories because, as the Iran Wire report says:

It is unclear when or why the change came into effect or the reason – though at least one Iranian politician has taken credit for the development.

The Member of Parliament for Khomeini Shahr, Mohammad Javad Abtahi, said in January last year that he had called on the Interior Ministry to remove the option to list “Other Religions” on the national smart ID application form. Abtahi claimed that including “Other Religions” allowed “stray sects” to be treated as official.

The Iran Wire report gives examples of Bahais being denied ID cards, one of which says:

A Baha’i citizen from Shiraz told IranWire: “I went to a government service counter to register [for an ID card]. The cashier asked me for personal information such as name, surname, date of birth, name of father, mother, and so on, and filled out my registration form in the computer. Then he printed it out and gave it to me to sign. In the personal information column in the Religion section it was written: Islam. When I told him that I was not a Muslim, and to please state ‘Other Religions’ in my registration form instead of Islam, he replied the only religions in the form are Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. He said he was allowed to choose only one of these four.”

When the Baha’i citizen protested, the official said: “It’s not a problem; this is just for registering, it’s just a formality. No one will notice that you wrote Islam! … The new guidelines state that if the applicant does not choose one of these options, his or her registration will not be accepted.”

This change excludes non-religious persons, Bahais, and Iranian residents of Buddhist, Hindu and other backgrounds from opening bank accounts, and perhaps from obtaining a passport, and obtaining documents for the military draft. There are conflicting reports as to whether the matter may be corrected when new software is installed in a few months, or is deliberate policy change by the National Registration Office. The full Iran Wire report is here in English and here in Persian.
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Mitra Badrnezhad granted prison furlough in Ahwaz

HRANA, January 2, 2020. –

Mrs. Mitra Badrnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی), a Bahai serving a one-year sentence in Ahwaz, returned to prison on January 2 after a 10-day furlough. She began her sentence at the Sepidah Prison in Ahvaz on September 21, 2019. She was charged with membership of the Bahai organisation. Initially sentenced to five years in prison by a Revolutionary Court, her sentence was reduced to one year by the Review Court for Khuzestan Province. The circumstances of her arrest and interrogation are reported here.
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Kaamraan Shahidi sentenced : 5 years and confiscation of assets

HRANA, December 31, 2019. –

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced Kaamraan Shahidi (کامران شهیدی), a Bahai from Karaj, to five years in prison and the confiscation of his assets. The Judge was Muhammad Moqayesseh ( قاضی محمد مقیسه) a notorious abuser of human rights and legal procedures. Mr. Shahidi was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 25, 2017. His business, as a gold trader, was also shut down, and its entire holdings of gold — about 2 kilograms — were seized, along with some currency. The arresting agents also went to the home of his sister and daughter and seized all the gold, along with books and pictures relating to the Bahai Faith. He was held in solitary confinement for 21 days and interrogated closely. was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran on October 18, 2017. Bail was set at 500 million tumans (123,00 euros ; $US 145,000).
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One arrest in Kerman: Wahda Silani

HRANA, Decmber 29, 2019. –

Wahda Silaani (وحدا سیلانی), a Bahai from Kerman, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on December 29. The agents came to her home, which they searched. They seized some of her belongings, and took her away. It is not clear where she is being detained, or why she was arrested.
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Shahnam Jadhbani free in Gonbad

HRANA, December 2019. –

Shahnam Jadhbani ( شهنام جذبانی ), a Bahai from Minudasht, was released from Gonbad prison on December 28, much earlier than anticipated. He and his wife Shohreh Samimi ( شهره صمیمی ) were arrested in Minudasht in October 2012. Around the same time, 20 other Bahais were arrested in Golestan Province by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, acting without warrants. Many Bahai homes homes were searched, with the seizure of computers, books and family photo albums. Mr. Jadhbani was sentenced to eleven years in prison by Judge Mohsen Qadbari (قاضی محسن قنبری), on charges of “membership in the Bahai organisation, and propaganda against the regime and in favor of the Bahai Faith by participating in the Ruhi programme in Golestan province.” His wife was sentenced to nine years in prison by the same judge. The other Bahais arrested at that time were initially given very long sentences, but these were all reduced by the Review Court to less than two years, except that the Review Court did not at that time announce its decision on the cases of Mr. Jadhbani and his wife. Later the Review Court reduced his sentence to 15 months, on the charges of membership of the Bahai organisation and six months for participating in Ruhi classes. Sentences are normally served concurrently, so the longer sentence applies, but Mr. Jadhbani as served not fifteen but rather 19 months. The report does not indicate why neither this “section 134” rule regarding concurrent sentences, nor the provision for release after serving half of one’s sentence, was applied in his case.
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Sentences reduced for nine Bahais in Birjnand

HRANA, December 24, 2019. –

The Review Court for South Khorosan Province has reduced the long sentences handed down by a Revolutionary Court to nine Bahais. Behman Saalahi (بهمن صالحی), Khalil Malaaki (خلیل ملاکی), Bizhan Ahmadi (بیژن احمدی) and Saagher Mohammadi (ساغر محمدی) have been sentenced to four years in prison. Shayda Abedi (شیدا عابدی) has a three-year sentence. Firuz Ahmadi (فیروز احمدی), Simin Mohammadi (سیمین محمدی) and Maryam Mokhtaari ( مریم مختاری) have been sentenced to two years in prison. The ninth person in this report is Sohrab Malaaki (سهراب ملاکی), sentenced to three and a half years in prison. But in HRANA’s previous report on July 8 this year, the ninth person was Rafa’at Taalebi-fard (رفعت طالبی فرد). There is no explanation of why the name of the ninth person has changed.

The Revolutionary Court had sentenced all nine to five years on the charge of membership of the illegal and subversive Bahai organisation, and one year on a charge of propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith. The sentences are concurrent. The Revolutionary Court also ordered the confiscation of donations they had collected [from Bahais] during the 19th-day Feast for the affairs of the Bahai community in Birjand. The Review Court confirmed this confiscation.

Eight of the defendants were arrested in raids of 15 Bahai homes on the morning of October 21, 2017, but Shayda Abedi was arrested in Birjand on October 29. They were freed on bail individually, from November 18 to November 24. Although the nine Bahais were arrested on a Bahai Holy day (marking the Birth of the Bab), from the fact that so many homes were raided it appears that the Bahais had not gathered to celebrate the day, but were remembering the occasion separately in their homes.
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Noushin Hakimi to be bailed

HRANA, December 21, 2019. –

Noushin Hakimi-Noahnezhaad (نوشین حکیمی نوح نژاد), a Bahai from Bandar Lengeh, a port city near the straits of Hormuz, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on December 14, and detained in the Ministry’s detention facilities. On December 20, she was transferred to prison in Bandar Abbas, and contacted her family by telephone saying that bail had been authorized. There is no information so far as to what she will be charged with.
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Sentences reduced for 3 Bahais in Semnan

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, December 18, 2019. –

The Review Court has reduced the sentence of Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان) from ten years in prison and one year of exile to six years in prison; the sentence of Behnaam Eskandreyan (بهنام اسکندریان) from five years in prison and two years’ exclusion from the city of Semnan to three years and six months in prison; and the sentence of Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان) from five years in prison and two years’ exclusion from Semnan to two years and six months in prison. They were notified of their sentences on December 16. They were charged with “membership of illegal groups acting against national security” and “acting against national security through propaganda and organizational activities.” They were not allowed a lawyer during their detention. They 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, and have been detained since then (not released on bail, which is usual). Mr. Fenaa’eyan has previously served six months in prison for his Bahai beliefs. 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.
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Home searches, shop closures, and one arrest in Bandar Lengeh

HRANA, December 15, 2019. –

Noushin Hakimi-Noahnezhaad (نوشین حکیمی نوح نژاد), a Bahai from Bandar Lengeh, a port city near the straits of Hormuz, was arrested on December 14. The agents searched her home and seized some personal effects such as books and a mobile telephone. It is not known where she is being held or why she was arrested. Security agents also sealed the workplace and home of Erfaan Noahnezhaad (عرفان نوح نژاد), and sealed the optician’s shop of a son-in-law of the family, Wahid Zaraa`at-Kaar (وحید زراعت کار). Both are Bahais living in Bandar Lengeh. Mr. Zaraa`at-Kaar’s mobile telephone and laptop were seized.
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Peymaan Damashqi begins 6-month sentence

Iran Wire, December 12, 2019. –

On November 30, Peymaan Damashqi (پیمان دمشقی), a Bahai from Karaj, was summoned to Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj to begin a 6-month sentence on the charge of “propaganda against the regime in the form of promoting the Bahai Faith in cyberspace.” I previously reported that he was sentenced to one year in prison by the Revolutionary Court, in a 10-minute trial. On November 13, this was reduced to six months, by the Provincial Review Court, although neither the defendant nor his lawyer knew of the Review Court hearing.

Bahai prisoners, and other prisoners of conscience in Karaj, are usually sent to Raja’i Shahr prison: Ghezel Hesar has been for people who have actually committed a crime. It is Iran’s largest prison. Mr. Damashqi had asked to be imprisoned with the other Bahai men in Raja’i Shahr, but was told that Raja’i Shahr was for prisoners whose files were supervised by the Ministry of Intelligence, whereas his case fell under the Revolutionary Court. His lawyer said that he may have been sent to Ghezel Hesar because his sentence was short.
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Five Bahai businesses allowed to reopen in Chabahar

HRANA, December 10, 2019. –

After closure of almost 40 days, five business premises operated by Bahais in Chabahar, a port city on the Gulf of Oman in the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan, have been allowed to reopen. They were sealed by the judicial authorities on October 30. The owners had taken a day off work to celebrate a Bahai religious holiday. For details see the previous report
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Rouha Emaani transferred to Yazd prison

HRANA, December 10, 2019. –

Mrs. Rouha Emaani (روحا ایمانی), a Bahai prisoner of conscience serving a nine-month sentence in Kerman prison, was transferred to prison in Yazd on December 9. She was arrested on May 12, 2015, and released on bail on July 1, 2015. She began serving her sentence on September 3, 2019, so she has now served one third of her sentence and is eligible for conditional release. It is possible that this transfer relates to pending release. She was imprisoned in Kerman at her own request, to make it possible for her mother to visit her, but officials have several times threatened her with transfer or exile.
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Mother and daughter arrested, bailed, in Zahedan

HRANA, December 4, 2019. –

Mrs. Kimeya Poursaadeqeyan (کیمیا پورصادقیان) and her daughter Nasim Showqi (نسیم شوقی) were arrested in Zahedan on November 19, but this was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. They were freed on bail on December 4. At the time of their arrest, their home was searched. Agents seized a laptop computer and a quantity of handwritten notes.
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Nine Bahais from Baharestan, Isfahan Province, bailed

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, December 8, 2019. –

Nine of the ten Bahais arrested in Baharestan, 20km south of Isfahan, on November 29 have been released on bail. At the time of their arrest, there was media speculation that they would be blamed for instigating the fuel price protests, which I thought unlikely. Their quick release on bail confirms that these arrests were just routine harassment. Those released are Shahaab Ferdowsian (شهاب فردوسیان), Nasim Jaberi (نسیم جابری), Mehraanullah Daddi (مهران‌الله دادی), Qodous Lotfi (قدوس لطفی), Shahbaaz Baashi (شهباز باشی), Naasr Lotfi (ناصر لطفی), Saagher Manouchehrzaadeh (ساغر منوچهرزاده), Homa Manouchehrzaadeh (هما منوچهرزاده) and Soroush Azaadi (سروش آزادی). There is no mention in this report of Wahideh Niazmand (وحیده نیازمند).
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`Ali Ahmadi sentenced to eleven years in prison

HRANA, December 4, 2019. –

Mr. `Ali Ahmadi (علی احمدی), a Bahai from Qaemshahr, has been sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Qaemshahr to eleven years in prison for “propaganda against the regime.” He was informed of his sentence on December 2. He was arrested on November 20, 2018, by agents who insulting his religious beliefs and calling him “unclean” and “Bahai dog.” They also seized some religious books mobile phone and computer. He was freed on bail on January 2, 2019, after posting bail of 150 million tumans (31,000 euros ; $US 35,000).

This is the fifth time he has been arrested in the past ten years: On the first occasion he was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and on the second occasion he was acquitted. In 2011 he was arrested with two others and charged with participation in Bahai activities. A previous report said that he is also known as Cheragh-`Ali (چراغعلی) Ahmadi.
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Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestaani granted early release

HRANA, December 3, 2019. –

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestaani (حسن ممتاز سروستانی), a Bahai from Shiraz who began his five-year sentence in 2017, has been granted early release. He had been transferred from Shiraz to Evin Prison in Tehran, to receive medical treatment at a hospital in Tehran, and was released from Evin Prison on December 3. Mr. Sarvestaani 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), a notorious abuser of human rights, 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. On August 10 this year he was granted a short medical furlough. I have no record of when this furlough ended, but the current report says that he was released from Evin Prison.
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Destruction of Baha’i gravestones in Yazd

Iran Press Watch, Decmber 4, 2019. –

Reports indicate damage to a number of tombstones on Bahai graves in Yazd’s Golestan Javid (Bahai cemetery). It appears that stones and blocks were used. Unknown persons have damaged this cemetery several times over the years. The desecration of Bahai graves, and sometimes the total destruction of Bahai cemeteries, by irregular forces is a regular occurrence in Iran. Since the 1979 Revolution, state authorities have also closed Bahai cemeteries and used the sites for development projects, with the purpose of removing visible signs of the existence of a Bahai community.

For a discussion of the long history of symbolic violence directed at graves and bodies of Bahais and other in Iran, see Mehrdad Amanat, Set in Stone: Homeless Corpses and Desecrated Graves in Modern Iran (2012).
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Bardiyeh and Isma’il Farzaaneh bailed in Omidiyyeh

HRANA, December 7, 2019. –

I have previously reported that on November 29, Bardiyeh Farzaaneh (بردیا فرزانه) was arrested at his home in Omidiyyeh, Khuzestan Province. I missed a report that his nephew Isma’il Farzaaneh (اسماعیل فرزانه) was also arrested. They were released on bail on December 7.
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Mozhgaan Ahmadzaadeh sentenced to six months in Qaemshahr

HRANA, December 6, 2019. –

Mozhgaan Ahmadzaadeh-Fedaa’i (مژگان احمدزاده فدایی), a Bahai from Qaemshahr whose arrest was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily, has been sentenced to six months in prison by the Revolutionary Court, on the charge of propaganda against the regime. She was informed of the sentence on December 2. She was arrested on December 26 last year, when she was driving with her family to a garden they have on the outskirts of Qaemshahr. Her car was surrounded and stopped by four security agency cars. They took her back to her home, which was searched by eight agents. They seized three mobile telephones, a tablet computer, a computer, some flash drives, CD, prayer books, photographs of their children and some religious images. She was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility, where she was held in solitary confinement for interrogation for one week. She was bailed on January 2, 2019. She was tried by the revolutionary court on November 13, 2019. She has three children; the youngest has just started primary school.
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Sentences of Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani reduced to 6 months

HRANA, December 5, 2019. –

On December 2, Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani were informed that their five-year sentences have been reduced to six months by the Provincial Review Court for Kerman. They were exonerated of the charge of “membership of the Bahai organisation,” and sentenced to six months for “propaganda against the regime.” The review court hearing was held on November 9, and — unusually — the accused were allowed a lawyer. Mr. Mohammad-Madi `Erfaaneyaan (محمدهادی عرفانیان) represented them. Kiani Rezvaani is a Bahai student excluded from university with the excuse of a faulty file, the excuse used to bar Bahais from tertiary education in Iran.
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Fariba Ashtari arrested again

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, December 4, 2019. –

Mrs. Fariba Ashtari (فریبا اشتری), a Bahai from Yazd, was arrested in her home on December 2. She has already served a two-year sentence for her faith, beginning on February 21, 2015. She was released on January 13, 2017. An active Bahai, and a psychologist, she is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai community activities. Her husband Nasser Baaqeri (ناصر باقری) and her son Fa’iz Baaqeri (فایز باقری) have also been imprisoned for their faith. Fa’iz Baaqeri was 17 years old when he was arrested, along with his father, on February 28, 2015, a week after his mother began her two-year sentence. In November 2018 he was sentenced to three years in prison, and his father to nine months. Mr. Baaqeri began his sentence in late September 2019. So far as I know, Fa’iz Baaqeri is still free on bail, waiting to begin his sentence.

In the latest arrest, five security agents raided Mrs. Ashtari’s home, which they searched. They seized some Bahai books and her mobile phone and computer. Her relatives are concerned for her as she has a heart condition and has recently had two operations, and because there is no news about where she is being detained.
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Tenth Bahai arrested in Baharestan, Isfahan Province; one arrest in Omideyeh

HRANA, December 1. –

Following previous reports of the arrest of nine Bahais in Baharestan, Isfahan Province on November 29, HRANA reports that a tenth Bahai, Soroush Azaadi (سروش آزادی), was arrested on the same day. Also on November 29, Bardiyeh Farzaaneh (بردیا فرزانه) was arrested at his home in Omidiyyeh, Khuzestan Province. The agents seized some of his personal possessions.
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Keyhan Propaganda denounces President Khatami and others as Bahai pawns

Editorial, December 1, 2019. –

Keyhan, a government-controlled media outlet in Iran, has labelled Iran’s former Presidents Mohammad Khatami (سید محمد خاتمی) and Mir-Hossein Mousavi
(میرحسین موسوی), the former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi (مهدی کروبی) “and others” as “the hostages of Bahaism [who acted] in the uprising of 1388 (2009).” Mir-Hossein Mousavi is singled out as subservient to the Anglo-Zionist network of Bahaism (شبکه صهیونیستی- انگلیسی بهائیت). All three of these leaders are Islamic clerics, a class whose religious learning, according to the ideology of Khomeini, makes them uniquely fitted to rule the common people. All three have been approved as Presidential candidates by the Guardian Council. Keyhan’s claim that they were hostages to the Bahais therefore will be read as casting doubt on the country’s governing system and governing class, although Keyhan’s purpose was probably to give the impression that “outsiders” — and not everyday Iranians acting spontaneously — are responsible for the current unrest. A previous article in Fars News claimed that “most” of those arrested in the fuel price protests are Bahais. So far there is no evidence of any Bahais being engaged in the protests or of them being arrested afterwards to take the blame for the protests.
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Nine Bahais reported arrested in Isfahan

Radio Zameneh, November 30, 2019. –

Nine Bahais are reported to have been arrested in Isfahan on November 29: Shahaab Ferdowsian (شهاب فردوسیان), Nasim Jaberi (نسیم جابری), Mehraanullah Dadi (مهران‌الله دادی), Shahbaaz Baashi (شهباز باشی), Wahideh Niazmand (وحیده نیازمند), Nasr Lotfi (ناصر لطفی), Qodous Lotfi (قدوس لطفی), Sagher Manouchehrzaadeh (ساغر منوچهرزاده) and Homa Manouchehrzaadeh (هما منوچهرزاده). Their homes were searched and belongings were confiscated.

Radio Zameneh suggests that this could be related to an accusation made in government-sponsored media [such as Fars News], that Bahais were involved in the recent unrest over fuel price increases. I think this unlikely. (1) While none of those named is known to me, the names are not unlikely for the children of Bahai parents. If the authorities had arrested some rioters and launched a story that they were actually Bahais, they would probably be named Muhammad, Fatimah and Ali. (2) If the authorities arrested these Bahais in the hope of accusing them of causing the unrest, that story would face the obvious objection that the unrest arose spontaneously and simultaneously all over the country, immediately after the surprise announcement of price increases, while these nine were in Isfahan with the internet and telephones cut off across the country.

Therefore, pending further information, I am assuming that they were arrested for being Bahais, in the usual way, and will be charged with “propaganda.”
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Abbaas Taa’ef free on bail in Tehran

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, November 25, 2019. –

`Abbaas Taa’ef (عباس طائف), a Bahai from Tehran, was freed on bail from Evin Prison on November 25. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27. The agents searched his home and workplace and seized a laptop, mobile phone and some ID documents and some of his personal effects. His office, which is his workplace, has been sealed by the authorities. He suffers from heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.
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Sentences confirmed for 7 Bahais from Busehr

HRANA, November 21, 2019. –

The Review court has confirmed the three-year sentences of seven Bahais from Bushehr. They are Minou Reyaazati (مینو ریاضتی), Asadollah Jaaberi (اسدالله جابری) and his wife Ehteraam Shakhi(احترام شخی), Leqa Faraamarzi (لقا فرامرزی), Emaad Jaaberi (عماد جابری) and Puneh Naashari (پونه ناشری). All seven were arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Bushehr on February 15, 2018 (an earlier report said February 13). Their homes were thoroughly searched, and personal effects such as laptops, books, flash drives, external hard drives, and family photograph albums were seized. Emaad Jaaberi and Puneh Naashari (were released on bail on March 6 and the remaining five on March 13, 2018. Bail was set at 250 million tumans (53,000 euros ; $US 66,000).
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One arrest in Damavand

Iran Press Watch, November 21, 2019. –

Maryam Laqqa’i-Forsatipour (مریم لقائی فرصتی پور) was arrested on October 22 after being summoned to the Damavand Office of the Ministry of Intelligence. She has been taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention center known as Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Authorities also searched the home of this Bahai after her arrest and confiscated several personal belongings, including laptops and mobile phones belonging to her and her husband. As previously reported, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence also arrested Mitra Forsatipour (میترا فرصتی پور) in her home in Gilavand on October 21.
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New arrest in Karaj

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

Rajab Naaser (ناصر رجب), a Bahai from Gohardasht, a suburb of Karaj, was arrested in his home on November 16. Seven agents, without a court order, came to his home to arrest him. They also seized some personal effects, including a mobile phone. It is not know where he is being held.
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Samin Maqsudi goes to jail

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, November 9, 2019. –

Samin Maqsudi (ثمین مقصودی), a Bahai from Tehran, began her sentence in the women’s wing of Evin Prison on November 9. She was charged with participating in Bahai activities. The charges relate to her commemoration, in her own home, of the bicentennial of the birth of Baha’u’llah, on October 21, 2017. She was initially sentenced on May 21, 2018, by 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.” The Review Court for Tehran Province, headed by Judge Zargar (قاضی زرگر), confirmed the 5-year sentence in September this year.
~~~~~~~~~

Kiaana Sho`aari bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, November 7, 2019. –
Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی) has been released on bail from the Ministry of Intelligence detention centre in Shiraz. She was arrested on October 21, 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.
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Eighteen Bahai businesses sealed in Abadan

HRANA, November 3, 2019. –

On November 2, the police chief for Abadan, Mohsen Taqizaadeh ( محسن تقی زاده), announced that eighteen businesses had been shut down for failing to observe Islamic traditions, and the “offenders” files have been passed to the judicial authorities. The Bahai Faith is not mentioned, but given the timing it is certain that the businesses were operated by Bahais, who respect Islam but are not Muslims.
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Five Bahai businesses closed in Chabahar

HRANA, October 30, 2019. –

Five business premises operated by Bahais in Chabahar, a port city on the Gulf of Oman in the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan, were sealed by the jucidical authorities on October 30. The owners had taken a day off work to celebrate a Bahai religious holiday. According to the regulations, all businesses may close for up to 15 days in a year, without notifying the authorities, but Bahais are apparently subject to a different, unwritten rule, applied by the judiciary. The businesses are identified an an optician’s workshop run by Shamim Touhidi (شمیم توحیدی) and Habibullah Touhidi (حبیب الله توحیدی); a similar business run by Ahmad-Ali Shokati (احمدعلی شوکتی), an electrical business run by Behman Gholam-Reza’i (بهمن غلامرضایی), a plumbing goods shop run by Behzaad Gholam-Reza’i (بهزاد غلامرضایی), and a tile and ceramics shop run by Behrouz Gholam-Reza’i (بهروز غلامرضایی).
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Meeting raided, and Jamaal Saabet arrested, in Tehran

HRANA, October 29, 2019. –

Jamaal Saabet (جمال ثابت), a Bahai from Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 28. It is not known where he is being detained. The agents raided a private gathering in another home — entering by breaking down the door — and questioned the guests for some hours, searching the house and making video recordings. They confiscated some personal effects of the home owner, including CDs, flash drives, a laptop computer and books. Then they went to Mr. Saabet’s home, which they searched, and arrested him. He was arrested on a previous occasion [not reported on Sen’s Daily], and interrogated for 40 days.
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Two arrests in Shiraz

HRANA, October 30, 2019. –

On October 29, agents from the Fajr Corps Intelligence Service arrested Shahryaar `Ataareyaan (شهریار عطریان) and Poulaad Karami (پولاد کرمی) in Shiraz. A number of agents went to a home where Bahais were commemorating the birth of the Bab, and questioned and photographed (on video?) those attending for several hours. They confiscated twenty cell phones, three laptops, numerous books and pamphlets, prayer books, and signs and pictures relating to the Bahai Faith. The Fajr Corps Intelligence Service announced the arrests publicly, explaining that it was in relation to the birth of one of the Bahai “leaders.” A Shia news service adds that it was a “secret ceremony,” which was raided to “counter the Israeli-backed sect and prevent them from realizing the ominous interests of foreign countries and reconstructing their espionage pyramid.” Radio Farda adds that they will be charged with “insulting those mourning Imam Reza,” the eigth Shiah Imam who is buried in Mashhad, and is believed to have been poisoned by Caliph al-Ma’mun. His martyrdom is commemorated according to the lunar calendar, which means that this and other Shiah holy days will sometimes coincided with Bahai commemorations based on the solar calendar. This year, the Shiah commemoration fell on October 28.

On October 21, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested three Bahais in Shiraz : Farzaan Ma`sumi ( فرزان معصومی), Kiaana Sho`aari (کیانا شعاعی) 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. It was later claimed that they were holding a religious ceremony that would eclipse the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Karbala. That commemoration, which this year fell on October 20, marks 40 days after the death of Imam Husayn.
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Three Bahais in Semnan given long sentences

Voice of America, October 28, 2019. –

The Revolutionary Court in Semnan has sentenced three Bahais who were arrested on April 30 to ten years in prison on charges of “membership of illegal groups acting against national security” and “acting against national security through propaganda and organizational activities.” Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), who is 30 years old, has been sentenced to ten years in prison and one year exile in the town of Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan Province; Behnaam Eskandreyan (بهنام اسکندریان) and Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان), aged 20, have been sentenced to five years in prison and two years’ exclusion from the city of Semnan. They 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.
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Three new arrests in Shiraz

HRANA, October 22, 2019. –

فصهففIt is not known where those arrested are being detained.
~~~~~~~~~~

New arrest in Gilavand

HRANA, October 22, 2019. –

Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested Mitra Forsatipour (میترا فرصتی پور) in her home in Gilavand on October 22. Gilavand is a village in Tehran Province. The agents seized some personal items, including cell phones, laptops and a camera. She is being held in block 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. It is believed that she is to be charged with “propaganda against the regime.” Mrs Forsatipour’s grandmother, buried in Gilavand, was exhumed by unknown persons in 2017 (not to be confused with the exhumation of Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian (شمسی اقدسی اعظمیان) in October this year).
~~~~~~~~~~

‘Ataa-ollah Zafar bailed from Evin Prison

HRANA, October 20, 2019. –

Mr. Ataa-ollah Zaffar (عطاالله ظفر) was released from Evin prison “in recent days,” after about three weeks in detention. His family obtained his release following serious concerns about his health in detention.

On September 27, security agents raided a number of Bahai homes in Tehran and Karaj, seizing various personal effects. Behrouz Asadollah-zaadeh (بهروز اسدالله زاده) and Mr. Zafar (آقای ظفر) are among those whose homes were searched. Mr. Zafar was then arrested. At least five other Bahai homes were raided, and agents went to the home of Waliollah Qademiyaan (ولی‌الله قدمیان) to search it, but found nobody home. It appears that Mr. Asadollah-zaadeh, Mr. Zafar and Mr. Qademiyaan were involved with the Bahai cemetery in Tehran.
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Three more early releases in Isfahan

HRANA, October 16, 2019. –

HRANA has announced the early release of Mr. Sahaam Armin (سهام آرمین), and in a separate report, of Mrs. Bahaareh Dhini-Sobhaaniaan (بهاره ذینی صبحانیان) and Sepideh Rouhani (سپیده روحانی). They join Mrs. Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی), released a day earlier and incorrectly identified — in my first translation — as a man. These four releases leave four others — Afshin Bolbolaan (افشین بلبلان), Milaad Daavadaan (میلاد داوردان), Farhaang Sahba (فرهنگ صهبا) and Anush Raayneh (انوش راینه) in prison, of the eight Bahais from Baharestan, near Isfahan, who were arrested on September 23rd, 2018.
~~~~~~~~

Fuzhaan Rashidi released early in Isfahan

HRANA, October 16, 2019. –

Fuzhaan Rashidi (فوژان رشیدی) has been granted a conditional early release after serving just over one third of her three-year sentence. She was released from Esfahan prison on October 15. She and her recently-married husband Milaad Daavadaan (میلاد داوردان) were among a group of arrested Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. Milaad Daavadaan was sentenced to six years in prison. Fuzhaan Rashidi was sentenced in a Revolutionary Court to three years for “membership of the Bahai organisation” with a concurrent one-year sentence for “propaganda against the regime.” This was confirmed by the Review Court.
~~~~~~~~~

Two Bahais sentenced for internet postings

Iran Wire, October 14, 2019. –

On September 21, Paymaan Damashqi (پیمان دمشقی), a Bahai from Karaj, was sentenced to one year in prison by the Revolutionary Court. The trial, lasting less than 10 minutes, was held on September 19. The trial is reported to have taken place at both the Prosecutor’s office and the revolutionary court, suggesting that the Prosecutor also acted as Judge, which would be highly unusual. A relative said that Mr. Damsashqi did not accept the charge of “propaganda against the regime” and did not know what it was based on. Therefore he has not, thus far, made any comment on it himself. He was initially summoned in writing by the Police in Karaj in February this year. When he went to the Police station, his mobile telephone was confiscated and he was questioned for half an hour. He was told that he had posted an article entitled “Justice” under the pen-name “A certain Bahai”, and the use of this name constituted, indirectly, propaganda for the Bahai Faith. When he asked to see the article attributed to him, the interrogator refused. In April/May this year he was summoned to the Revolutionary Court (the ideological court) to hear the charges against him. During the hearing, the Judge twice asked him in writing [sic] “have you made propaganda for the Bahai Faith” to which he replied, “until now, nobody has asked me about Bahai.” The Judge offered him release on bail of 50 million tumans, but he was not able to pay that amount. Two days later he was released when the business licence of a friend was accepted as bail. Another source told IranWire that Mr. Damashqi had been sentenced because of a question — not an article — that he had posted, but the Judge had not disclosed what this question was. They [undefined] “told him that because he was a Bahai, a question about justice was propaganda against the regime. Mr. Damashqi, who is active in various groups, still cannot recall what question he asked, in which group, that has led to his punishment, but thinks it must have been in comments on a thread.

In recent days, Sima Behrouzi (سیما بهروزی) was sentenced to three months in prison in the Revolutionary Court of Yazd, presided over by Judge Dashtipour (قاضی دشتی‌پور). He was charged with membership of a group opposing the regime. The Judge did not find him guilty of the other charge, of circulating jokes in favour of opposition groups. He was summoned in writing by the Police in Yazd on March 20 this year, and questioned about this membership of Telegram groups. After some time he was summoned to Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court, and charged with “membership of a group opposed to the regime” and “propaganda in support of a group opposed to the regime.” Bail was set at 250 million tumans, which he could not provide, but he was released on bail two days later. On July 2, 2019, he was summoned to a hearing on August 18 at the Revolutionary Court. The summons specified the charges as “membership of the Bahai community,” and “Bahai propaganda.” The sentence, of three months in prison, was announced in the last week of September.

In recent years, a number of Bahais in Yazd have been sentenced for activities on internet. Shamim Etehaadi (شمیم اتحادی), a Bahai student excluded from tertiary education, was sentenced for filming a Bahai cemetery that had been destroyed by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. He was charged with propaganda against the regime, membership of Bahai organisations, insulting officials, spreading lies and having satellite receiving equipment. The charges relate to his supposed responsibility for a 4-minute video documenting the destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Yazd, which was shown on the Persian-language television network Manoto. He was sentenced to 3 years and three month in prison [previous report: 3 years], 74 lashes, a two-year ban on leaving Iran, and a fine of 40 million rials (1200 euros; $US 1600). He completed his sentence in June 2016. [The article continues with more examples of the persecution of the Bahais of Yazd for internet crimes].
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Neda Sabeti, Nooshin Afshar and Foroogh Farzaneh sentenced to 1-year terms

HRANA, October 12, 2019. –

Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار) and Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), Bahais living in Abadan and Ahvaz have each been sentenced to a one-year prison term on the charge of “propaganda against the regime” by the Revolutionary Court of Abadan. On May 6, 2019, they were arrested at their houses and were transferred to Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz on May 30, 2019.

Their prosecution was initiated by the Intelligence Corps of the IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) and during their interrogations, they were under pressure to make forced confession. On May 6, 2019, they were arrested at their homes by six agents of the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Ahvaz and Abadan. [My earlier report said they were agents from the Ministry of Intelligence ~ Sen] They were released a week after on May 13 but were rearrested for an unknown reason on the same day. They were released on bail on May 30, 2019.
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Passing of Ali Nakhjavani

The Bahai World News Service has announced the passing of ‘ali Nakhjavani, in France on October 11. He was 100 years old.
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Forum 2000 in Czechoslovakia to present Bahai community

Mistni Kultura, October 12, 2019. –

This year’s Forum 2000 Festival of Democracy in Prague will present the Bahai community. The 2019 Festival also marks 30 years of freedom in Eastern Europe. After November 1989, a number of organizations that were suppressed under Communist governments, including the Bahai community, were able to resume operations.

The Forum 2000 Foundation was founded in 1996 as a joint initiative of the Czech President Václav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel. Mr. Havel based his idea for Forum 2000 on the principle that, “it would be good if intelligent people, not only from the various ends of the earth, different continents, different cultures, from civilization’s religious circles, but also from different disciplines of human knowledge could come together somewhere in calm discussion.” This year’s Forum 2000 Conference, held under the theme Recovering the Promise of 1989, will take place in Prague on October 13-15, 2019.
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Farhaang Sahba, imprisoned in Isfahan, transferred for interrogation

Iran Press Watch, October 4, 2019. –

Farhaang Sahba, a Bahai serving a 5-year sentence in Isfahan prison, has been transferred to a solitary confinement cell of the IRGC’s Intelligence Unit, and is being subject to intense interrogation and psychological pressure. He was convicted of “membership in the Bahai organizations with an intent to act against national security,” with a one-year (concurrent) sentence for “propaganda against the regime through Bahai propaganda.”

Mr. Sahba was one of a groups of Bahais arrested in Baharestan, near Isfahan, on September 23rd, 2018, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. He was sentenced in November 2018, and I have no reports indicating when he began his sentence. The Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has now intervened, is an Iranian intelligence agency within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and is as powerful as the Ministry of Intelligence. Rivalry between the two agencies is not unknown.
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Azita Rafizaadeh released after four years

Voice of America, October 9, 2019. –

Azita Rafizaadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده) has been released from Evin Prison after serving a four-year sentence for teaching online classes in computer engineering to members of the Bahai Faith. Under Iran’s apartheid system, Bahais are banned from gaining advanced qualifications in tertiary institutions in Iran, although there is no formal law against teaching one’s skills to others. Nevertheless, she was charged with “undermining national security” for teaching at the Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). In January, 2018, she was offered prison furlough if she would sign a statement to repent for her work and promise that she will not work with the BIHE again. But she said she had done nothing to repent for.” Her husband Peyman Koushk-Baghi was also imprisoned in October 2015, for teaching at the BIHE.

Rafizadeh, 36, is a former BIHE student who returned to Iran after receiving a master’s degree in computer engineering from a university in India. She began teaching the subject at BIHE in 2002.

In 2014, Judge Moqisseh (قاضی مقیسه) of Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Rafizadeh to four years in prison and her husband to five years in prison on the charge of “membership in the illegal and misguided Bahai group with the aim of acting against national security through illegal activities at the BIHE educational institute.”

The imprisoned couple’s son, Bashir Koushk-Baghi, has been raised by another Bahai family.
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One arrest in Tehran

Voice of America, October 5, 2019. –

`Abbaas Taa’ef (عباس طائف), a Bahai from Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27. The agents searched his home and workplace and seized a laptop, mobile phone and some ID documents and some of his personal effects. As previously reported, security agents raided a number of other Bahai homes in Karaj and Tehran on the same day, and Mr. Zafar (آقای ظفر) was arrested. `Abbaas Taa’ef (or another Bahai with the same name) was arrested in Tehran in connection with the raids on the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in 2012.
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Raids and arrest in Tehran and Karaj

HRANA, September 29, 2019. –

On September 27, security agents raided a number of Bahai homes in Tehran and Karaj, seizing various personal effects. Behrouz Asadollah-zaadeh (بهروز اسدالله زاده) and Mr. Zafar (آقای ظفر) are among those whose homes were searched. Mr. Zafar was then arrested. At least five other Bahai homes were raided, and agents went to the home of Waliollah Qademiyaan (ولی‌الله قدمیان) to search it, but found nobody home. It appears that Mr. Asadollah-zaadeh, Mr. Zafar and Mr. Qademiyaan were involved with the Bahai cemetery in Tehran. HRANA expects information on more arrests to follow.
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Kimia Mostafavi and Kiaana Rezvaani sentenced to five years

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

The Revolutionary Court in Kerman has sentenced Kimia Mostafavi ( کیمیا مصطفوی) and Kiaana Rezvaani ( کیانا رضوانی) to five years in jail for membership in the Bahai organisation, and to one year for “propaganda against the regime and in favour of opposition groups.” However prisoners with concurrent sentences serve only the longer sentence. They were arrested in Kerman on Saturday, January 19, released on bail five days later.
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Samin Maqsudi sentenced to 5 years in prison


HRANA, September 22, 2019. –

The Review Court for Tehran Province, headed by Judge Zargar (قاضی زرگر), has confirmed the 5-year sentence of Samin Maqsudi (ثمین مقصودی), a Bahai from Tehran whose arrest and sentencing was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. She was initially sentenced on May 21, 2018, by 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.” She was charged with participating in Bahai activities. The charges relate to her commemoration, in her own home, of the bicentennial of the birth of Baha’u’llah, on October 21, 2017.
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Mitra Badrnezhad-Zahdi begins one-year sentence

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, September 21, 2019. –

Mrs. Mitra Badrnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی), a Bahai from Ahwaz, began her sentence at the Sepidah Prison in Ahvaz on September 21. A few days ago it was reported that the Khuzestan Court of Appeals had reduced her sentence from five years to one year. She was charged with membership of the Bahai organisation.
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As academic year begins, more Bahai students are excluded

Hesar news, September 19, 2019. –

As the new academic year begins in Iran, reports are coming in from across the country of Bahai students who have passed the university entrance examination (the ‘Concours’) but are refused enrollment in tertiary institutions because of their Bahai beliefs. One current collation of these reports has 22 names :
-1 سهند شیرازی، تهران؛
۲- مهتاب خادم، تهران؛
۳- نگین فروغی، شهرکرد؛
۴- وفا نوبخت، ساری؛
۵- بهزاد یزدانی، شیراز؛
۶- ترنم کمالی، شیراز؛
۷- تارا احسان، تهران؛
۸- آیلار روشن نهاد، ساری؛
۹- ارمغان عنایتی، سمنان؛
۱۰- سیاوش بلوچ قرائی، مشهد؛
۱۱- درسا مصطفوی، تهران؛
۱۲- آریا احسانی، کرج؛
۱۳- نوریه فردوسیان، اصفهان؛
۱۴- شایلین عقیلی، کرج؛
۱۵- نگار ایقانی، شیراز؛
۱۶- غزل الله وردی گرجی، ساری؛
۱۷- سراج صفریان، ساری؛
۱۸- شعله موفقی ایولی، ساری؛
۱۹- روژان احسانی، کاشان؛
۲۰- روژین کثیری، کرج؛
۲۱- مهسا فروهری، کرج؛
۲۲- شمیم ایدلخانی، اردبیل
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Parisa Sobhaaneyaan bailed from Evin Prison, brother arrested

HRANA, September 18, 2019. –

Parisa Sobhaaneyaan Najafaabaadi (پریسا سبحانیان نجف آبادی), a Bahai from the village of Mehrabad, near Rudehen, has been released on bail from Evin Prison, in Tehran, pending her trial. She was arrested on August 10. The agents who arrested her at her home also seized some books and other personal belongings. She was released on September 18, for bail of 500 million tumans (107,000 euros ; $US 119,000). Her brother, Seyaavash Sobhaaneyaan (سیاوش سبحانیان) was told at the time of her arrest that he should not leave town, and was arrested a few days later. This arrest was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. He remains in custody.
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Mitra Zahdi’s sentence reduced

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, September 17, 2019. –

The Khuzestan Court of Appeals has reduced the sentence of Mrs. Mitra Badrnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی), a Bahai from Ahwaz, from five years to one year. She was charged with membership of the Bahai organisation. She was arrested in Ahwaz on March 3, 2018, and taken for questioning to the Ministry of Intelligence. At the time of her arrest her home was searched and various religious items were discovered. She was released on May 14, 2019, on bail of 200 million tumans each (40,000 euros ; $US 47,500). In November, 2018, the Revolutionary Court in Ahwaz sentenced her to five years in prison. Her case appears to be linked to that of Mr. Farajollah Bengaaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله), who was arrested on March 28, 2018, in Shiraz and later transferred by the Ministry of Intelligence to Ahwaz. They were bailed o the same day for the same amount, and their sentences were the same.
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Three Tehran Bahais in Gilavand burial case bailed

HRANA, September 9, 2019. –

Mrs. Munireh Bavil-e Soflaa’i (منیره باویل سفلایی), Mrs. Minou Zamaanipour (مینو زمانی پور) and Mr. Ghollam-hoseyn Mazlumi (غلامحسین مظلومی), who were arrested in Gilavand, a village in Tehran Province, on August 10, were released from Tehran’s Evin Prison on September 4. Their bail was 300 million tumans each (64,000 euros ; $US 71,0000).

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.
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Minister of Education approves policy of barring Bahais from schools

Radio Farda, September 11, 2019. –

Iran Press Watch, following HRANA and other Persian sources, has reported that Borna Piraasteh (برنا پیراسته), an outstanding Bahai student at the Sa’adat School in Semnan, has been barred from re-enrolling in the third grade of high school after the summer break because of his Bahai beliefs. According to a Radio Farda report, after this news became public, the Minister of Education, Mohsen Haaji Mirzaa’i (محسن حاجی‌میرزایی) declared that all students belonging to “non-official” religions are barred from secondary schools, because this would constitute “propaganda.” He was speaking at a news conference connected to a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, but the report does not indicate whether Cabinet has approved his policy, which would involve barring all Bahai children from schools.

The Piraasteh family were informed that their son would not be allowed to enroll by the Principal, speaking by telephone. Initially they were told this was because some parents at the school had objected.
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Family home confiscated for Bahai beliefs

Kayhan London, September 7, 2019. –

The ‘Setaad’ (the Executive Headquarters of the Imam’s Directive / Committee for Implementing the Instructions of the Imam) has confiscated a home belonging to the Iraannezhaad family in the wealthy Niavaran district of Tehran. The house was the home of Mrs. Shraareh Farokhzaadi (خانم شراره فرخزادی), the widow of Cyrus Iraannezhaad (سیروس ایران‌نژاد). Agents from the Setaad arrived at the home and, in the space of four hours, removed all the family’s possessions and took control.

Cyrus Iraannezhaad was a businessman who was imprisoned In Evin Prison after the 1979 Revolution because of his Bahai beliefs. His property was seized at the time, along with the property of thousands of other Bahais across Iran. He suffered continual harassment after his release from Evin.

After his death, his sons, Siamak and Rayan (سیامک و ریان), sought to overturn the confiscation order, and suffered harassment. They have not only failed, the house that belonged to their father (presumably purchased after his release from prison) has also been expropriated. In September 2017, a Revolutionary Court ruled that that all the family’s property was expropriated because of their Bahai beliefs, and this ruling was confirmed in the Review Court. The ruling explicitly states that, because of their membership of the Bahai sect, all their property is expropriated in favour of the Setaad.

The Setaad is an organisation specifically set up in 1989 to expropriate and use property confiscated not only from Bahais, but also from Iranians living abroad and other targets of the Supreme Leader. It is subject to international sanctions, as “a massive network of front companies hiding [stolen] assets on behalf of … Iran’s leadership.”

Although most significant assets belonging to Bahais were expropriated after the Revolution, cemeteries and the assets of the small businesses by which most Bahai families live are regularly expropriated today, and there are occasional reports of a home or farm being expropriated. In November 2012, the home of the late Hussein al-Hourehzaadeh ( حسین الهوردیزاده ) in Mashhad was seized by the Setaad. A previous seizure order had targeted all the assets of his only daughter Munireh al-Hourehzaadeh, but not her father’s home. Three decades later that house, now the home of his grandchildren, was seized as well. In October 2015, fifty hectares of land and the livestock on it, belonging to Zia’ullah Muta`aarifi (ضیاء الله متعارفی), a 65-year-old Bahai from Semnan, was confiscated. Farmland and multiple homes have been seized by the Setaad in the village of Kata, in the province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, and in the village of Evel ( ایول) in Mazandaran, not to mention all the cases in which individual farms and rural homes have been seized.
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Abu-Fadl Ansaari bailed in Karaj

Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience, September 8, 2019. –

Abu-Fadl Ansaari (ابوالفضل انصاری) was released on bail in Karaj on September 8. He was arrested at his home in Karaj on August 3 and held in Raja’i Shahr prison.
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Farid Moqadam-Ziraki bailed in Birjand

Campaign or prisoners of conscience, September 9, 2019. –

On September 7, Farid Moqadam-Ziraki (فرید مقدم زیرکی), a Bahai from Birjand, was released from detention after posting bail of 150 million tumans (32,000 euros ; $US 35,000). He was arrested on August 3 by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, who searched his home and seized his personal effects. He faces charges of “aggravating the economic sanctions against Iran” and “undermining national security.” He was interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence for 26 days before being transferred to Birjand’s Prison.
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New arrest in Shiraz

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, September 5, 2019. –

Shahnaaz Saabet (شهناز ثابت), a Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested in her home on September 1. Security agents searched her home and seized many of her personal effects, including including her ID card, a passport, bank cards, mobile telephone and some books and photos. The agents were also filming the search. There is no information about where she is being detained.
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Rouhaa Emaani begins prison sentence in Kerman

HRANA, September 3, 2019. –

Mrs. Rouhaa Emaani (روحا ایمانی), from Kerman, was arrested on September 3, and taken to begin her nine-month prison sentence. Mrs. Emaani was arrested in Yazd during a raid on her home on May 12, 2015, and released on bail on July 1, 2015. She was sentenced by a Revolutionary Court — as is usually the case for Bahais. Revolutionary Courts try ideological offences and have a single judge and no fixed procedures.
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Ru’in Kohansaal and Ruhollah Zibaa’i bailed in Karaj

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, September 2, 2019. –

According to two separate reports, on September 2, Ruhollah Zibaa’i (روح‌الله زیبایی) and Ru’in Kohansaal (روئین کهنسال) were released on bail from Raja’i Shahr prison, in Karaj, where they have been detained for one month. They were arrested in Karaj, on August 3 and 4, respectively, along with Abu-Fadl Ansaari (ابوالفضل انصاری), arrested on August 3. On the same day, 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. Government-sponsored media have also claimed that Mr. Zibaa’i’s arrest was in relation to a scheme to tighten the economic sanctions. He is described as conducting business activities in the Alborz and Southern Khorasan provinces. Other reports speak of a number of Bahais and people who have associated with Bahais being summoned for questioning in Alborz Province, but no further details are available at present.

The physical condition of Mr. Zibaa’i and Mr. Ansaari is not good. Mr. Zibaa’i has been released on bail “temporarily” rather than “pending trial,” suggesting that this may be a medical release. Mr. Kohansaal has been bailed pending his trial. It appears that Mr. Ansaari is still being detained. He suffers from a heart condition and has recently had a pacemaker fitted.
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Passing of Dr. Udo Schaefer

Announcement, from Dr. Armin Eschraghi

Dear friends,
the German Bahai scholar and author Dr. Udo Schaefer passed away this morning (August 30) in his 93rd year. His contributions to Bahai scholarship, particularly to the areas of ethics and theology, as well as his invaluable services in defending the Faith over many decades will no doubt be fondly remembered and thoroughly appreciated by future generations. His deep familiarity with both the Bahai Writings as well as ‘European’ philosophical and theological discourses, his original approach, his sharp mind and logic, as well as his unique writing style, all combined with steadfastness and unshakable loyalty to the Cause, will continue to inspire Bahai scholars around the world. Those who have known him, will add his modesty, his humour and wit and his generosity.

He will be dearly missed. Please pray for his family and for his soul´s progress in the next world.
A befitting obituary will no doubt be shared in due course.
Warm regards
Armin

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Arrest and continuing detention in Karaj

Campaign for prisoners of conscience, August 27, 2019. –

Ru’in Kohansaal (روئین کهنسال), a Bahai from Karaj, was arrested in the street on August 4, but this arrest was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. He is still undergoing interrogation at a detention centre in Karaj. There is no official news, although a relative living outside Iran suggested that the authorities viewed his Bahai beliefs as a threat to the Islamic Republic.
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New arrest in Mehrabad, Tehran Province

HRANA, August 18, 2019. –

Parisa Sobhaaneyaan Najafaabaadi (پریسا سبحانیان نجف آبادی), a Bahai from the village of Mehrabad, near Rudehen, was arrested on August 10. The agents who arrested her at her home also seized some books and other personal belongings. It is not known where she is being detained.
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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.
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Raid on the home of Jamaalodin Khaanjaani

HRANA, 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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 and William Sear’s Thief in the Night.
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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.”
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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.
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NSA of the UK looking to buy temple land near London

Editorial, August 6, 2019.

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the United Kingdom is seeking to buy about two hectares of land, no more than 15 miles from Greater London, for a temple site. The purchase is intended to be completed by April, 2021, and is expected to cost up to two million pounds. The Assembly is presently holding 656,000 pounds in a Temple Fund, and a small riverbank site at Sonning, Berkshire. A residential training centre is also planned, and could be combined with the temple on a larger site. I have placed a plain text version of the National Assembly’s announcement in the “documents archive” section of my Bahai Studies site.
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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).

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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 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.
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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.
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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 tuman (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 Ziba’i was detained following the raids and arrests targeting the BIHE.
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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.
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Bahai man missing 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.
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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.
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Supporter of a supporter of Bahai rights sentenced to prison

VOA news, July 15, 2019. –

Mehdi Moqaddari (مهدی مقدری), a member of the city council of Isfahan, has been sentenced to two years in prison, and a two-year from political activities, membership of the Council and of political parties, and from internet activities. He was charged with propaganda against the regime and disturbing public opinion, after speaking out in support of women’s right to ride bicycles and in support of Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی), a member of Shiraz city council who began a one-year sentence on June 2 this year. Mr. Haajati in turn was accused of supporting Bahais, after he tried to pursue the case of two Bahais who had been arrested in Shiraz.
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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.
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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, 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 childrens’ music schools in Shiraz were shut down for employing Bahais to teach. The schools were not owned or run by Bahais, but Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zaadeh taught there. Previous reports said that she was teaching music, but 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. Elaheh Sami`zaadeh was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s “Facility 100” interrogation centre. The agents who raided the 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 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.”
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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.
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Nine Bahais in Birjand sentenced: five years in prison

HRANA, July 8, 2019. –

The Birjand Revolutionary Court has sentenced nine Bahais to six years in prison, and has seized the donations they had collected [from Bahais] for the affairs of the Bahai community in Birjand. They were sentenced to five years on the charge of membership of the illegal and subversive Bahai organisation, and one year on a charge of propaganda against the regime in the form of teaching the Bahai Faith. The sentences are concurrent.

The trial was held on July 3, without a defence lawyer. Only state-approved lawyers may present a defence in trials on national security matters in Iran, and their lawyer, Mazdak E`tamaad (مزدک اعتماد زاده) was not approved. Eight of the defendants were arrested in raids of 15 Bahai homes on the morning of October 21, 2017, but Shayda Abedi (شیدا عابدی) was arrested in Birjand on October 29. Although the nine Bahais were arrested on a Bahai Holy day (marking the Birth of the Bab), from the fact that so many homes were raided it appears that the Bahais had not gathered to celebrate the day, but were remembering the occasion separately in their homes.

The eight Bahais arrested on October 21 are: Firuz Ahmadi (فیروز احمدی), Khalil Malaaki (خلیل ملاکی), Simim Mohammadi (سیمین محمدی), Bizhan Ahmadi (بیژن احمدی), Maryam Mokhtaari ( مریم مختاری), Saagher Mohammadi (ساغر محمدی), Rafa’at Talebi-
fard (رفعت طالبی فرد) and Behman Saalahi (بهمن صالحی).
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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).
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For older news, see the “old news” archive.

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