Sen's daily

News to August 12

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Pictures from a funeral

Editorial, August 12, 2018.

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

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

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

Mehrdad Heyrani free after 3 month’s interrogation

Kalameh TV, August 11, 2018. –

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

Two Bahais begin their sentences in Yazd

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

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

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

Nika Khalusi ends her prison term

HRANA, August 5, 2018. –

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

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


Three Bahais lose employment in Shiraz

Hamid Rezataghpour, July 31, 2018. –

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

Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and Farzad Delaram begin prison sentences

Shahrvandyar, July 28, 2018. –

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

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

Bahai student expelled from University in Isfahan

Shahrvanyar (Facebook), July 27, 2018. –

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

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

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi sentenced to one year in prison, one year in exile

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

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

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

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

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

Two Bahais sentenced in Yazd, five others have suspended sentences

HRANA, July 26, 2018. –

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

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

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

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

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

Bahai student expelled in Kerman

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), July 18, 2018. –

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

Fataneh Nabilzadeh begins her sentence

Shahrvandyar, July 18, 2018. –

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

Bahai student expelled in Karaj

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

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

Business closed and one arrest in Abadan

Shahrvandyar (Facebook), July 14, 2018. =

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

Sheida Qoddusi granted prison furlough

Iran Press Watch, June 29, 2018. –

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

Plot to seize property from a Bahai in Mahabad

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

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

For older news, see the “old news” archive.


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