Sen's daily

2010-06-07

Bahai paying for babies?

Editorial, 28 July (summarised)

Every week there are one or two new anti-Bahai stories that are pushed by the government-controlled media in Iran, and picked up by all the outlets that need to show their loyalty to the regime. A couple of weeks ago, the story doing the rounds was that Bahai couples in Iran were being paid by the Bahais to have babies. Sources such as Tabnak and Khabar carried the story, which is of course completely untrue. The Bahai community in Iran have had their assets seized, has been denied most forms of employment, and access to higher education, and the small business in which many of them earn their money are frequently closed (see the news page for day by day details). So the idea that they are in a position today to give happy parents a mortgage of 5 million tuman and a gift of 500 thousand tuman, is fanciful. But it’s just one more silly anti-Bahai story, of the sort that turn up every week. Or so I thought, until ….

According to the Associated Press story, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced a new policy to encourage population growth. Under the plan, each child born in the current Iranian year, which began March 21, will receive a deposit of $950 in a government bank account. The child will then receive $95 every year until reaching 18. Parents will be expected to pay matching amounts into the accounts.

I can’t help thinking that the the story that Iranian Bahais give young Bahai couples money when they have children, will serve to justify not giving the new state support for children to Bahai families.

I’m not against state support for poor families raising children, where it is given equally to people of all races and religions. Children are Very Important Citizens and many countries give similar support. The effect on family planning is another issue, that needs to be taken into account.
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Yaran to be detained at least 2 more months

Bahai News UK, 5 August

The judge presiding over the trial of seven Baha’i leaders in Iran has extended their detention by two months.
The seven were taken to the judge’s office on 28 July. The judge informed them in the presence of a member of their legal team that their detention had been extended for another two months as of 22 July.

Source
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Houman Bakhtavar and Behnam Mut’arefi begin their sentences

Khabarnavard, 3 August

Behnam Mut’arefi ( بهنام متعارفی ) began his 18-month sentence in Semnan prison on Saturday 31 July. He has been sentenced for propaganda against the regime and teaching the Bahai Faith. Houman Bakhtavar ( هومن بخت آور ) began his two-year sentence in Mashhad’s Vakil Abad prison on 2 August.

Sources: here and here
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“Bahai terrorists” arrested

Khabar online , 1 August

Khabar online, a government-controlled organ which often releases the anti-Bahai propaganda that is picked up by quasi-official agencies in Iran, is reporting the arrest of two members of a Bahai terrorist team in Taleghani Park in Tehran. They were supposedly working for the “global liberation army” and recruiting students. Khabar online is the source which recently claimed that Bahai couples in Iran were being paid by the Bahais to have babies (see ‘Call me a cynic‘).

Bahais have been accused of terrorism in Iran in the past, for instance following a bombing in a mosque in Shiraz in April 2008, which was at first attributed to Bahais. Later that accusation was dropped, but not before the 7 Yaran had been arrested on vaguer charges. It is likely that today’s story is entirely fabricated, and is preparing public opinion for harsh sentences against the Yaran.

Source (in Persian)
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More suspects sought for the murder of John Veira

Nospang, 30 July

Two more suspects are being sought in relation to the murder of John Veira, a Bahai who was the well-respected Director of Civil Aviation in Suriname. (See the earlier report here). Four people are under arrest. Police Commissioner Krishna Hussainali-Mathoera said that the Netherlands and French Guyana have been asked for legal assistance (probably referring to pending extradition requests).

Source (in Dutch)
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Afshin Heyratian in prison limbo

RAHANA, 28 July

Afshin Heyratian has been in prison limbo since 3 June. According to CHRR, he was involved in a group active in the field of child labour, and although it seems the other group members have been arrested, their names have not been disclosed yet. Almost 2 months since his arrest, Afshin Heyratian has made only one phone call, and has had two prison visits with his family on July 1 and July 22. He is currently detained in ward 209 of Evin prison.

Source
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Group of Christians arrested in Mashhad

HARANA, 26 July

HARANA reports the arrest of a group of 15 Christians from Mashhad on 9 July. The group was apparently traveling in a bus to visit Christians in another city. There is no word from two of those detained.

Source (in Persian)
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Bahai cemetery at Jiroft destroyed

RAHANA 24 July

In the past few days, people with heavy equipment have destroyed the Bahai cemetery at Jiroft, in Kerman (about 100km from Bam). Local officials have taken no action. In recent weeks, Bahai cemeteries in several towns in Iran have been attacked with earth-moving machinery.

Source (in Persian)
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Two Bahais excluded from a private university

Ey Baha blog, 26 July

Farid Ishraqi and Mukhtar Shakariyan ( فربد اشراقی و مختار شاکریان ), two Bahai students, had been accepted at Isfahan’s university of industry and mining, a private, full-fee university. University officials say they acted on higher orders. In 2004, Farid Ishraqi was expelled from another university in Isfahan because he was a Bahai. In the same year, Mukhtar Shakariyan was denied information about his results from the nation-wide university entrance examination.

Source (in Persian)
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Bahai detained in Abadan

RAHANA, 23 July

On 17 July, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Abadan raided the home of Hedayatullah Reza’i ( هدایت الله رضایی ), searched it and seized some home appliances. He and his wife and one child were taken to the offices of the Ministry. After interrogation, his wife and child were freed.

Source (in Persian)

and (lest we slip into thinking that the Bahais are the only ones oppressed in Iran): Christians are arrested almost daily as well – see RAHANA today — not to mention the Sufis and Sunnis and Jews and bloggers and human rights activists who suffer.
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Kaviz Nuzdehi begins his sentence

RAHANA, 23 July

Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), a Mashhad Bahai, has begun serving his sentence. He and Houman Bakhtavar, Nasrin Qadiri and Sima Rajyan were sentenced to two year’s imprisonment in Mashhad, on charges of propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, membership and activity in the Bahai Faith, advocating contact with foreigners after traveling outside the country, participating in illegal organisations, producing and distributing Bahai CDs and books.

Source (in Persian)
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Moshfegh Samandari released in Babol

RAHANA, 23 July

Moshfegh Samandari, a Bahai citizen and student activist in the city of Babol was released from prison on Wednesday 21 July. He was arrested on 1 May to start serving a 6-month prison term, for spreading the Bahai Faith, but he 75 days he was detained in Babol prison in May 2009 was deducted from the 6-month term.

Source
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Physical well-being of Rozita Vasseghi suffering

Iran Press Watch, 23 July

The physical well being of Rozita Vasseghi ( رزيتا واثقي ), a Bahai imprisoned in Mashhad’s Vakil Abad prison has been reported as very serious during the last family visit. She has been in solitary confinement for more than 125 days and has become very weak and thin, resulting in low blood pressure and severe pain in her palms and the soles of her feet. This pain has caused the movement of hands and feet to be very difficult and with severe pain. The Mashhad Intelligence Office, in response to the family, have merely stated that Rozita Vasseghi is not cooperating and her conditions (of detention) will not change until she does cooperate.

Rozita Vasseghi went into quarantine at Vakil Abad prison for 12 days, on April 13 (a month after her arrest), after which she was transferred back to solitary confinement at the Mashhad Ministry of Intelligence without any judicial order. This action was apparently taken so, while announcing her transfer to Vakil Abad prison, they could keep her in the detention facility of the Ministry of Intelligence, without a judicial order.

Another interesting aspect is that on June 14th a bond of 50 million tumans (3,800 euro) was obtained from the Vasseghi family for her release but so far no action has been taken in this regard, and no clear and satisfactory answer has been given by those responsible.

Full translation and source
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Bahai representations on Egypt’s personal status law

Daily news Egypt, 21 July

A delegation of Bahai activists has filed a memo with the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, asking to be included in the unified personal status law for non-Muslims. Raouf Hindi, spokesman for the Egyptian Bahais, told Daily News Egypt that “officials at the Ministry of Justice promised to review the memo before they decide whether to include it in the ongoing discussions [of the new law].” They presented a copy of a personal status law for Bahais, issued by their central committee in Egypt in 1932, as well as samples of Bahai marriage and divorce forms, as reference material for the Ministry.

Hindi said that Egyptian Bahais represent a significant number of Egyptian citizens and ignoring them is a clear violation of the constitution and international conventions. “Bahais still suffer a great deal on the issue of identification papers, especially national ID cards, as the civil status authority refuses to recognize the marriage or divorce contracts of Bahais and therefore it refuses to issue national ID cards for married, divorced and widowed Bahais,” he said.

Basma Moussa, a Professor at the faculty of medicine, told Daily News Egypt that Bahai personal status issues are different from personal status cases in Christianity or Islam. “The copy of the personal status law that we presented to the Ministry of Justice includes 53 articles that regulate personal status cases regarding Bahais including provisions related to marriage, divorce and inheritance.”

Moussa added that the most prominent differences between the Bahai religion and Islam and Christianity lie in marriage and divorce cases. “Eight witnesses must sign a marriage contract in order to verify it, and a temporary one-year divorce contract is issued before any divorce is finalized,” she said.

She added: “Inheritance is divided equally between men and women [in Bahaism].”

In June, following controversy over a court ruling regarding Christian divorcees remarrying, the Ministry of Justice formed a special committee to prepare and review a unified personal status law for non-Muslims. The draft was based on input from Egypt’s main churches, the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical churches. However, the Secular Copts and the Roman Catholics later submitted an alternative draft law to the Ministry, presenting their vision of what this personal status law should include.

Full story
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Bahai burial prevented in Mashhad

Pars Daily, 19 July

On 19 July, officials of the Behesht-e Reza cemetery refused to release the body of a Bahai woman, Marzieh Gholami Pordel ( مرضيه غلامي پردل ) for burial, until her relatives pay them 360 thousand tuman. The local government gave the plot to the Bahais of Mashhad for burials more than 30 years ago, and have never given any services, for example in relation to washing the bodies. Therefore the demand for payment can only be related to the oppression of the Bahais in Mashhad recently. A month ago, the Bahai cemetery in Mashhad was severely damaged by people using a front-end loader and other heavy machinery (see the report for 15 June below). Marzieh Gholami is the first Bahai in Mashhad to die since then. Her son, Firouz Pordel, was executed in 1984, for being a Bahai.

Source (in Persian)
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Sara Mahboubi free on bail

RAHANA, 19 July

Sara Mahboubi, a Baha’i student excluded from education, was released on bail on Sunday July 18 after 24 days of detention in Sari prison.

Source
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Another Bahai arrested in Sari

Pars Daily, 19 July

Qayyamaldin Thabetan ( قوام الدین ثابتیان ) was arrested at his home this morning, by officers of the Ministry of Intelligence. His home had previously been searched by officers of the Ministry, who at that time confiscated religious materials. It appears he may have been arrested for assisting educational rights activists. He requires urgent prostrate surgery.

Source (in Persian)
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Peyman Kashfi Najafabadi sentenced to 4 years

RAHANA, 17 July

Peyman Kashfi Najafabadi, a Bahai who was tried with his lawyer present on 15 June, has been sentenced to 4 years in prison. He is a computer engineer with no prior history of political activity. He had been charged Under Act 400 of the Islamic Penal Code on charges of membership in dissident political and groups and acting against the national security. An informed source claimed that the indictment was an exact copy of the Ministry of Intelligence letter in which Peyman Kashfi was regarded as an agent serving Israel’s goals. No representative of the prosecutor’s office was present: it appears the judge doubled as prosecutor. Peyman Kashfi was arrested in September 2009, and released on $100,000 bail after spending some time in detention. Before his arrest, his employer had been asked to dismiss him for blasphemy: the employer refused.

Full story
Fuller report in Persian: Khabarnavard
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Hooman Hourbod of Sari detained 4 days without charge

RAHANA, 18 July

Hooman Hourbod, an 18-year old Baha’i resident of Sari in Mazandaran province, has been detained without charge or an arrest warrant. Security agents in Sari raided and searcjed the house of his father on 30 June 2010. After questioning Hourbod’s family and relatives, they also asked a number of questions about the current Baha’i Organizations in Iran and the Baha’i faith. Although the agents were holding only the search warrant for Hooman’s father’s house, they asked Hooman to report to the local office of Ministry of Intelligence. They also interrogated his father for two hours on the same day. After that, Hooman Hourbod visited the Intelligence office of Sari twice and was interrogated on both occasions, until being arrested on 14 July 2010. Despite his family’s follow-up efforts, apparently he has not been charged yet, neither has he been released although his family was promised that he would be released on bail. Moreover, the agents have claimed that he is denied prison visits with his family for being of Baha’i faith. He was arrested without any written warrant.

Full story
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Bahrain’s HRW appoints a Jew and a Bahai to monitor elections

Zawya, 17 July

The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) has announced its decision to form a monitoring committee for the 2010 state elections. The panel will be headed by Menashe Cohen, a Jew, and Gada Ehsan, a Bahai. “We have a team of young volunteers who will monitor the elections and prepare a report. Our society has always backed the rights of minorities and with a Jewish- Bahraini and a Bahraini-Baha’i representing us, we are sending out a strong message of religious tolerance in the Kingdom,” Faisal Fulad, BHRWS head said.

Full report
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Employees of Bahais in Shiraz questioned

Rahana, 17 July

Recently, local trade officials in Shiraz, working through trade union channels, have been contacting the employees of members of religious minorities, and Bahais in particular, in Shiraz. The employees have been contacted verbally or in writing and invited to the Office of Business Administration to answer questions.

According to the RAHANA reporter, the Office of Business Administration has asked them illegal questions that are outside the scope of its responsibilities. The questions include personal information regarding the owner of the business license, his family and his relatives, his income, his tangible property, his traveling history, and relatives living abroad. They also asked for a copy of the birth certificate and the national identity card of the business licensee and members of the family.

Sources in Persian and English (the Persian first paragraph is ambiguous, as to whether it is employees of Bahais, or Bahai employees, who are being questioned. I have not followed the English version’s reading. Corrections are welcome)
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Two Bahais of Mashhad detained to serve their sentences

Iran Press News, 15 July

Nasrin Qadiri and Sima Rajyan ( نسرين قديری و سيما رجبيان ) are reported to have been detained, to begin serving two-year sentences at Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad.

Source (in Persian)
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Bahai cemetery in Boroujerd damaged

Bahai Community News Service (Persian), 14 July

It has been reported that once again, several truck-loads of soil have been dumped on the graves. A similar event occurred on 27 June this year. This time, a Bahai witnessed the event and was told by the truck driver the work was being done “on the indirect orders of the Mayor.” When approached, the Mayor appeared to know nothing about it and expressed regret. He gave orders to block the route used by the truck to enter the cemetery.

Source (in Persian)
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Davir Nabilzadeh sentenced, 5 years

HRANA, 13 July

Davir Nabilzadeh ( داور نبیل زاده ) a Bahai of Mashhad has been detained to begin serving a sentence of 5 years imprisonment, and transferred to Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad. Nine Bahais of Mashhad have been imprisoned recently, all on the same charges: see the reports on Noora Nabilzadeh ( نورا نبیل‌زاده), Nahid Qadiri ( ناهید قدیری ) and Rozita Vaseghi ( رزیتا واثقی ) below. Among the charges are traveling to Turkey to meet Bahai leaders, but Davir Nabilzadeh does not even have a passport!

Full report (in Persian)
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Susan Tabiyani sentenced

IHRV, 13 July

Susan Tabiyani ( سوسن تبیانی ) whose detention and transfer from her home town of Semnan to Evin prison in Tehran was reported below, has had her 18-month sentence for spreading propaganda against the regime and membership in a Bahai organization confirmed.

Source
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Student expelled at the point of graduating

RAHANA, 11 July

Bahai student Vessal Momtazi ( وصال ممتازی ) was admitted into the B.Sc. in Agriculture Engineering – Water Resources at Imam Khomeini International University in 2006, and was expelled in the Spring semester of 2010 when he had only a few final examinations to complete to graduate. The university has refused to issue a written, official dismissal letter. Despite meeting with Qazvin’s MP and writing a letter of appeal to the Ministry of Higher Education, he has not received any response about his education status.

Source
Khod-Neviis has a fuller account in Persian
13 July: RAHANA has an interview with him (in Persian) which recounts what life is like for those Bahais who somehow slip through the net and get admittance to a university or polytech. However he says he does not know why he was finally expelled, on the point of taking his final examinations. He says that almost all those he has encountered have been supportive, and has made many friends at the university during his four years there.
18 July: RAHANA’s report in English
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Latest on the situation in Ivel

Iran Press Watch, 7 July

Although more than a week has passed since the demolition of a number of houses of Bahais residing in the village of Ivel in Mazandaran, Bahai residents of this village have not been able to go back into the village, and all their efforts to this effect have been fruitless. According to HRA reporters, the main initiator of this demolition [whose identity has not been revealed by HRA] was able, through contacts in Tehran, to receive a permit for the demolitions from the Judicial Council of Tehran, and executed it within 12 hours. Residents of the village have informed HRA journalists that on the evening of Tuesday, June 22nd, this person started preparing for the demolition by renting a few trucks and loaders from a cement factory close to the village. However, due to the proximity of Muslim and Bahai houses, he did not use the loaders for the demolition, but hired a few workers to do the job. So far, Bahai complaints to the police and judicial institutions have not resulted in any resolution, nor are officials giving any clear answers regarding this situation.

However on July 3rd a hearing was held in Kiasar to investigate the complaints of two of the Bahais of Ivel regarding people who had attacked them and beaten them when these Bahais tried to return to the village. At the beginning to the hearing, a few people were trying to disrupt the trial by chanting “Death to Bahais, Israel’s Spies.” For this reason the judge had to interview each side separately. At the conclusion the judge told the Bahais that in interrogations police had conducted with the villagers, they all denied having participated in the demolition, and claimed that people from outside the village were responsible for the destruction.

8 July: HRA has a video on you-tube showing first of all the deserted homes standing in the village, one with “death to the Bahais” written on a wall, and then the same village with these homes reduced to rubble.
8 July: Rooz online has an article (in Persian) which, at the end, includes some personal accounts from Bahai villagers.

Source
6 July – one of the Bahai residents has written an open “letter of complaint” (in Persian) recounting the sufferings of the Bahais
12 July: RAHANA has an article on the arrest of one Christian in Mazandaran and the interrogation of several others, in the city of Rasht in neighbouring Guilan province. Once again it is the Ministry of Intelligence that is involved.
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“The Bahais in Iran” on BBC Persian Service

For anyone looking for the link to this excellent documentary
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Qaem Shahr Bahais summoned to Intelligence Ministry

RAHANA, 6 July

Several Bahai residents of Qaem Shahr in the northern Mazandaran province have been summoned to the local office of Intelligence Ministry during the past few days. Nejla No’khah (Ataeian) was summoned to the Intelligence Office on Qaem Shahr, and was released at 5 pm after several hours of interrogations. Changiz Oladi was also summoned to this office on June 14, and was released after being interrogated. Also, in two separate phone calls made on June 12 and June 13, Niusha No’khah, a resident of Tehran whose family live in Qaem Shahr, was asked to visit Qaem Shahr’s Intelligence Office as soon as possible. On June 19, Anisa Fadaeian and her father were notified by phone to be prepared to be summoned for interrogation withing the next few days. Finally, Mehria Bakhshian received a summons on June 20 to present herself to Qaem Shahr’s Intelligence Office. She visited this office the next day, June 21, and was released after an hour-long interrogation.

Full report
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Sara Mahboubi receives prison visit

RAHANA, 5 July

The family of Sara Mahboubi, an education-right activist and Bahai student banned from continuing her studies, visited her in Sari prison on Monday afternoon, July 5, 2010. Her arrest is reported below.

Full report
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Leaflet campaign against Bahais of Kashan and Aran-Bigdel

RAHANA, 1 July

Leaflets with the names and addresses of all local Baha’i opticians have been widely distributed in the cities of Kashan and Aran-Bigdel in central Iran. This indicates the involvement of government officials in a campaign to put pressure on Bahais in these regions.

RAHANA summary
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Prison visits for Yaran fortnightly

RAHANA, 30 June

Evin prison officials have reduced the regular prison visits of the 7 imprisoned leaders of the Iranian Baha’i community to once every 2 weeks.

RAHANA summary
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Artin Ghazanfari Sentenced to 1 Year

RAHANA, 29 June

Artin Ghazanfari, a Tehran Baha’i resident who was arrested on 3 January, 2010, has been sentenced to 1 year in prison. He has reportedly filed an appeal.

RAHANA summary
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Noora Nabilzadeh Charged

RAHANA, 3 July

Noora Nabilzadeh ( نورا نبیل‌زاده), a Bahai resident of Mashhad, was arrested on 21 June while playing music for children (see below, 21 June). On 27 June she was able to make a phone call, in which she said she had been formally charged (presumably with spreading the Bahai Faith).

RAHANA update
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Susan Tabiyani in Evin

HRA news agency, 2 July

Susan Tabiyani ( سوسن تبیانی ) whose detention and sentence was reported below, has been transferred from her home town of Semnan to Evin prison in Tehran.

Source
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Islamic Government, Domestic Crisis and the Bahai Community in Iran

Iran Press Watch, 1 July

Iran Press Watch now has a translation of an analysis of the Iranian Government’s current tactics in casting the Bahais as scapegoats, originally published in Persian by HRANA on 7 May. It focusses on the presentation of the Bahai 19-day feast as a meeting for anti-government activities, and the presentation of the political reform movement in Iran as Bahai-influenced. Events since have confirmed the latter: there has been a sustained effort in Iran’s government-controlled media to present the green movement as being in league with Bahais and zionists.

Full translation
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Nahid Qadiri tranferred

HRA news agency, 25 June

Ms. Nahid Qadiri ( ناهید قدیری ), a Bahai of Mashhad whose deteriorating health in prison is reported below, 16 June, was transferred to Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad on 24 June. This follows more than 100 days in solitary confinement in a prison belonging to the Ministry of Intelligence. Vakil Abad is a normal criminal facility, known especially for the number of executions by stoning carried out there. The transfer occurred the day after her family had provided 50 million tuman in bail for her release. She has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Rozita Vaseghi ( رزیتا واثقی ) who is also serving 5 years in prison is expected to be transferred to Vakil Abad in the coming days.

Source (in Persian)
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Bahai homes demolished in Evel

RAHANA, 24 June

A report indicates that the demolition of some 50 houses belong to Bahais in the village of Evel ( ایول) in Mazandaran commenced on 23 June 2010. The non-Bahai inhabitants of the village claim to have a locally-issued permission to demolish the houses. The Bahais had appealed to various authorities, including the Governor and the police, who are reported to have said the demolitions would not be legal. One person is reported to have been beaten during the demolition. One of the workers operating two front-end loaders on the site is quoted as saying they are demolishing about 50 Bahai homes.

It appears that all or most of the houses concerned have been empty for some time, perhaps in ocassional use or with a caretaker. The village has been the scene of severe anti-Bahaism in the past. The Bahai population of the village was expelled after the 1979 revolution, and some at least of the properties were confiscated. Many of the Bahais fled to Sari, but some may have continued to farm land in the area, without living in the village, as one report states that the person beaten during the demolitions was one of a group of Bahais who had returned to harvest some crop.

See also: Khabar Navard’s report (in Persian)
6 July – one of the Bahai residents has written an open “letter of complaint” (in Persian) recounting the sufferings of the Bahais
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Sara Mahbubi arrested in Sari

RAHANA, 24 June

Sara Mahbabi, whose home was searched in her absence (reported below, yesterday), was arrested this morning when she reported to the offices of the Ministry of Information in Sari.

Source (in Persian)
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Afshin Iqani sentenced

HRA news agency, 23 June

Afshin Iqani ( افشین ایقانی ), a Bahai of Semnan, has been sentenced to 4 years 3 months and 1 day in prison, for forming groups intended to disrupt national security, and propagating the Bahai Faith.

Source
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Bahai home raided in Sari

Khabar Navard blog, 22 June

On the morning of 19 June, officials posing as bank employees were permitted by the landlord to enter the home of Sara Mahbubi in Sari (provincial capital of Mazandaran province in the North). Sara had previously been expelled from university on suspicion of links with the Bahai Faith. She was travelling outside Sari at the time. They turned the house upside down and seized computers, books, CDs, and pictures relating to the Bahai Faith, as well as CD relating to family matters. They told the family that when Sara returned to Sari she should report to the Ministry of Information.

Source (in Persian)
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Noora Nabilzadeh arrested in Mashhad

RAHANA, 21 June

On 21 June Noora Nabilzadeh ( نورا نبیل‌زاده), a Bahai resident of Mashhad, went with her friends to a Mashhad orphanage to play music for a group of children. Nabilzadeh was arrested in the middle of the programme by agents from the Intelligence Ministry. The arrest warrant cited spreading the Bahai faith as the reason for her arrest. The agents then escorted Nabilzadeh to her house where they conducted a thorough search and seized books related to the Bahai Faith, computers, laptops and the cell phones of the entire family.

Source
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Navid Khanjani has presented his defense

RAHANA, 21 June

Navid Khanjani, a bahai human rights activist, presented his final defense in an interrogation session which held in the 3rd branch of the Evin magistrate court, Tehran. The charges include acting against national security, propaganda against the regime, disturbing public opinion, libel, instituting the Baha’i Education Rights Committee, and memberships of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters and the Human Rights Activists in Iran. His bail was raised from 50 million tuman ($50,000) to 100 million ($100,000) tuman.

Khanjani has denied the alleged charges. He has further stated that he was an Education Rights activist and his activities were lawful. He was detained on March 2nd in his father’s house in Isfahan. He was released on bail from Ward 2 of Evin Prison two months later.

Source
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Egyptian Bahais demand inclusion in unified personal status law

Daily News Egypt, 18 June

Egypt’s Bahais are demanding they be included in the unified personal status law for non-Muslims or in new legislation that includes them. Bahais in Egypt can’t document their marriages because the state doesn’t recognize them. The Supreme Administrative Court last year ruled in the Bahais’ favor, allowing them to receive National ID cards with a dash in the religion affiliation field. But the Interior Ministry’s civil status department agreed to implement the verdict only for unmarried Bahais, based on the fact that Bahai marriages aren’t officially recognized or documented.

Full report
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Bahai student expelled from Sari

Khabarnavard blog, 17 June

Nagin Siyahi ( نگین سیاحی ), has been expelled from the University of Sari, following the expulsion of two other Bahais students recently. She was in the second semester of a course in agriculture. At the same time, the university is preparing to hold seminars on the Bahai Faith, part of the accelerating spread of systematic institutionally-supported anti-Bahai propaganda throughout Iranian society in recent years.

Source (in Persian)
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Two Bahai women of Mazandaran held incommunicado

Pars Daily, 17 June

For some time, there has been no news of the condition of Shahnaz Ranjibar ( شهناز رنجبر ) of Qaemshahr and Mishtaq Samandari ( مشتاق سمندری ) of Babol, whose separate arrests on 7 June were reported below. Intelligence Ministry officials have also refused to accept clothing which the families of the prisoners sought to send to them. The Samandari family has been told that Mishtaq is accused of striving against Islam.

Source (in Persian)
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Reports from the Global Day of Action for Human Rights in Iran

Bahai World News Service, 18 June

The Baha’i World News Service has reports of events in South Africa, Berlin (nice photo: a well-choreographed event), Brazil, and of government statements by the European Union, the Prime Minister of Canada, the government of the United Kingdom, and by a Congressman and Deputy (i.e., MP) in Brazil.

Full report
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Two Bahais of Semnan begin their sentences

RAHANA, 16 June

As previously reported, Behman Mut`arefi ( بهنام متعارفی ) has been detained to begin his 18 month sentence. In addition, Susan Tabiyani ( سوسن تبیانی ) began serving her sentence on 8 June. Two other Bahais from Semnan, Sahba Rezvani and Munireh Manzuyan ( صهبا رضوانی و منیژه منزویان ) are imprisoned in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Source (in Persian)
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Mashhad Bahai suffers in prison

RAHANA, 16 June

The physical condition of Nahid Qadiri ( ناهید قدیری ) has deteriorated due to difficult conditions in prison. She is said to be suffering from severe back pains, due to back surgery she had just before entering prison, aggravated by lack of sleep and lack of an appropriate bed. The authorites have told her family that she will serve 5 years in prison, although they had told her that a new investigation has been opened, on charges of propagating the Bahai Faith. Seven other Bahais of Mashhad are serving long sentences. In some cases, the charge of ‘propagating the Bahai Faith’ has been dropped, and replaced by ‘propaganda against the regime.

Source (in Persian)
17 June, fuller account in English on Street Journalist
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Bahai cemetery in Mashhad vandalized

Bahai World News Service, 15 June

The Bahai cemetery in Mashhad was vandalized on the night of 29 May by unknown intruders who used a front-end loader and other heavy machinery. The cemetery’s walls, the mortuary, and the place where the prayers were recited were severely damaged.

The harassment of Bahai families in relation to burials, and the desecration of cemeteries, are clear indications that the persecution is based solely on religion and not the result of any threat posed by Bahais, as officials sometimes claim. In the past year or so, Bahai cemeteries in Tehran, Ghaemshahr, Marvdasht, Semnan, Sari, and Isfahan have been defaced, bulldozed, or in some way blocked to the Bahai community.

Full report
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It’s official: Iran’s religious minorities have no right to attend university

The official Fars News Agency, ISNA, and several other sources have published a statement from the head of Iran’s Central Office for Student Selection, Morteza Nurbakhsh, stating that students of the false religions and unrecognised religious minorities have no right to enter univerity, and if discovered there, should be referred to the Central Office for Student Selection.

~~~~~~~~~

Trial of Yaran ends?

Bahai World News Service, 15 June

The trial of seven Baha’i leaders imprisoned for more than two years in Iran seems to have come to a conclusion after three days of successive court hearings (12-14 June). The outcome is unclear, but they were returned to Evin prison in Tehran after the trial.

Full report
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Another Bahai home in Sari raided

HRA-News, 13 June

Six men in plain clothes, identifying themselves as “property officers” entered the home of Qavam-adin Thabetan ( قوام‌الدین ثابتیان ), a Bahai of Sari, on 9 June. With “rudeness and violence” they searched the house. They confiscated a large number of books and CDs, and a satellite receiver. Sari lies in Mazandaran province, where a large number of Bahais are imprisoned and the persecution of the Bahais is particularly severe.

Source (in Persian)
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Semnan Bahai imprisoned

RAHANA, 11 June

Behnam Muta`refi ( بهنام متعارفی ), a Bahai of Semnan previously sentenced to 18 month’s imprisonment, has been taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.

Source (in Persian)
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90 days solitary and counting: do not teach the Bahai Faith

Iran Press Watch, 10 June

Nahid Qadiri ( ناهيد قديری ), a Bahai of Mashhad, has been held in solitary confinement since 15 March 2010, and is reported to be under great pressure to sign an undertaking not to teach the Bahai Faith. At the time of his arrest he was entirely healthy, but since his arrest he has developed a heart condition. There is no official word on why he was arrested, and he has not been allowed to contact his family.

Source (in Persian)
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Bahai arrested in Babol

Pars Daily, 9 June

Moshtaq Samandari ( مشتاق سمندری ), a Bahai living in Babol, has been arrested after being summoned to the Prosecutor’s office. His brother Mushfaq ( مشفق سمندری ) was recently sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for his beliefs (see the report from 4 May below)

Source (in Persian)
English version (10 June)
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Threats against a Bahai in Shiraz

RAHANA, 9 June

Ruhollah Reza’i ( روح‌‌الله رضایی ), a Bahai of Shiraz, has previously received threats from unknown people, and has again received a threatening letter, this time mailed to him using the official envelope of the Governor of Fars Province. Several threats have been directed at him in the past year from unknown persons. He has twice been abducted by unknown persons and subjected to physical and psychological torture including cold, burning with cigarettes, and mock execution.

Source (in Persian)
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Bahai woman of Qaemshahr arrested

Khabar Navard blog, 8 June
RAHANA, 9 June

On Monday, 8 June, Shahnaz Ranjibar ( شهناز رنجبر ) was asked by telephone to report to the Intelligence Ministry’s office in Qaemshahr. She was arrested when she arrived. Her husband, Parviz Oladi, was first told by the local Intelligence Ministry officials that his wife was accused of membership in the Institute for Today’s Mothers, adding that she would be released if the activities of the institute proved to be legal. However, in a subsequent visit on Monday afternoon, Oladi was told that Rajbar would remain detained as a result of her non-cooperation with the interrogators.
Earlier on May 11, intelligence agents had searched the houses of Parviz Oladi and his brother Changiz. During the house search, Shahnaz Ranjbar was asked to report to the Intelligence Ministry the next day; however the agents contacted her later and told her to wait to be summoned.

The “Mothers Today” organisation is a registered non-profit organisation founded in 1998 and tasked with improving relationships within families.

Source (in Persian)
English report
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Legal process relating to the assassination of John Veira begins

NoSpang, 8 June

The investigating jude has begun the work of initial hearings of witnesses and the accused, following the liquidation-style shooting of John Veira, a Bahai who was the well-respected Director of Civil Aviation in Suriname. (See the earlier report here). Four people are under arrest, but the assassin is not among them.

Source (in Dutch)
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Sari University Expels Negin Sayahi over her Baha’i Faith

RAHANA, 8 June

Negin Sayahi, an honors student at Sari Agricultural Sciences University, has been expelled as result of her Baha’i faith. Sona Gholizadeh, a first year natural medicine student, and Naim Kamali, two other Baha’i students, were also expelled from Sari Medical Sciences University, in February 2010.

Source
~~~~~~~~~~~

Interview with Navid Khanjani details inhumane methods

PCED, 2 June

Navid Khanjani ( نوید خانجانی ) is a Bahai denied the right to education because of his faith, and also one of the founders of the Population to Combat Educational Discrimination, and a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters. He is free on bail at present and has given an interview detailing his experiences in Evin Prison in Tehran, including beatings and other pressure to persuade him to give a televised ‘confession’ to membership of revolutionary groups. It also throws some light on the relationships between the Revolutionary Guards and the Ministry of Intelligence.

For those who can read Persian, the first part of the interview is published here.
Iran Press Watch now has a full translation. It’s very informative

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