Sen's daily

2012-01-03

January to March, 2012

Summary of recent harassment incidents

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 26

In February, the windows of a Bahai home in Baharestan were broken for the second time. (Source). In Isfahan, on January 18, Mr. Eshsan Abrihimi and his father-in-;aw, Heshmetollah Ruhani ( احسان ابراهیمی و حشمت الله روحانی ) were summoned to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence and told to bring the operating license of their business with them. The result of the meeting was, that their businesses were closed until Mr Abrihimi promises that the Bahai Faith will not be taught in his shops. (Source) In Kermanshah, the businesses of four Bahais were thoroughly searched recently, and the owners were later asked for the names of any Bahais they employed. (Source). In the town of Qorveh, in Kurdistan province, fourteen Bahais were interrogated separately by the local office of the Ministry of Intelligence. Their names are given as Ms. Samira Khadem ( سمیرا خادم ) and her mother, Mr. Leqa’i ( لقائی ) and his wife and son, Mr. Kambiz Eqadmiyan ( کامبیز اقدامیان ) and his wife, two sons and a son-in-law, Mr. Behnam Eqdamiyan ( بهنام اقدامیان ) and his wife, Mr. Fe’ez Salahi ( فانز صالحی ) and his wife, and Ms. Peygah Azizi ( پگاه عزّتی ) [Which makes 15]. They were asked about Bahai meetings, the participants and how the meetings are run, and the names of relatives living outside Iran, their income and living situation, and willingness to travel outside Iran, work status, and participation in Ruhi training institutes. In April 2011, Mr. Kambiz was summoned for two successive days of interrogation regarding the affairs of the Bahai community in Qorveh. (Source) [In January, there were similar interrogations of more than 30 Bahais in the regions of Sari and Rasht, again asking about their willingness to leave Iran. -Sen]
~~~~~~~~~~

Two Bahai children expelled from school in Najafabad

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 26

In February, two children were expelled from school in Najafabad. This followed a public information meeting held by the chief of police, in which it was said that the Bahai Faith spreads moral corruption. The parents of these children objected, and were supported by a number of Muslim parents who were also present. After the meeting, the parents complained about the behaviour of the chief of police, to the school’s administration and to the Office for Supervising Education. The next day the children were abruptly expelled. When they went to the Office for Supervising Education, they were told that Bahais had no right to talk about their religion, where other parents were present, so that others would not discover that they were Bahais and become Bahais themselves, which would be a humiliation for them. The parents then went to the General Office for Supervising Education in Isfahan, with no results. The expulsion of the children was confirmed, and their parents were told to enroll them in another school.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

New raids on Bahai homes in Shiraz

Private email source, April 9

Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence have again raided the home of three Bahais in Shiraz, and also raided the home of Mr. Ramin Mahbubi and Mrs. Adhita Khani-Ashnaií ( ی رامین محبوبی و آذیتا خانی آشنائی ) two other Bahais from Shiraz who were present during the first raid. The raids too place on April 7 and 8. The agents seized religious books, laptops, computers, family photo albums and other effects. They also went to the home of Mr. Kurush Eyrevan ( کوروش ایروان ), but he was not at home.
~~~~~~

Another Bahai business closed in Semnan

Khabar Navard, April 7

On February 18, local authorities revoked the operating licence of a business belonging to `Ali Tabiyaniyan (علی تبیانیان). The reason given was “violations,” without specifying what rule might have been broken. Enquiries did not result in clarity, until eventually it was explained that “the order came from above; we are not responsible.” For some years, the Bahais of Semnan have been under economic pressure and other forms of repression, intended to encourage them to leave Iran or got to other cities, so as to cut the links between Bahais and other Iranians, and so “stop them spreading their lies.” The repression in Semnan, especially in the past four years, has included repeated arrests, unfair trials and long prison sentences, arson, breaking the windows of homes and cars, graffiti slogans, the destruction of cemeteries, repeated interrogations, the closing of shops and other businesses and other ways in which Bahais can earn a living, and the harassment and defamation of Baha’i children in schools.

Source (in Persian)

Update May 6: Khabarnavard reports that, following the cancellation of the business licence, the shop was physically closed down on May 3.
~~~~~~~

Historic Christian cemetery in Kerman vandalised

Mohabat News, April 5

A Christian cemetery in Kerman province has been completely destroyed. The destruction follows the demolition, at night, of a historic church in Kerman and the vandalism of others. The cemetery, in the grounds of an old fortress, was said by local people to be more than 200 years old. Muhammad Mahdi Afzali (محمدمهدی افضلی), Director of public relations for the Cultural Heritage of Kerman, said that “the cemetery has been destroyed by the local authority and the Cultural Heritage foundation to facilitate projects around this fort, and the fort of Ardeshir.” But in an interview with a government news agency, he denied this.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Iqan Shahidi to begin sentence

PCED, April 6

Iqan Shahidi ( ایقان شهیدی ), a Bahai active in the struggle for equal educational
opportunities, has been summoned to Evin Prison in Tehran to begin serving his 5-year sentence. He is at present free on bail, which would be forfeit if he did not answer the summons. The review court has already confirmed his sentence. He was charged with membership of an illegal organisation, the Committee for the Right to Education (PCED), propaganda against the regime, and membership of the Bahai community.

Source (in Persian)

Update, April 11: Khabar Navard reports that Iqan Shahidi has been transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison, on the Western outskirts of Tehran.
~~~~~~~~~~~

Erfan Shoja’i free on bail

HRANA, April 4

Erfan Shoja’i ( عرفان شجاعی ), a Bahai from Kerman who was arrested on February 19, was released on bail on March 25. He was arrested outside his house, which was then searched. Numerous personal effects were seized by the agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. His arrest relates to the celebration of Iranian Bahai Youth day on January 5: he organised a meeting to mark that day, which was held at the home of another Bahai in Kerman.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another arrest in the Mashhad

HRANA, April 3

On April 2, Negar Mulkzadeh ( نگار ملک زاده ), a Bahai resident of Mashhad, reported to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in response to a summons, and was arrested. It is not known where she is being held. She was one of the Bahais involved in organising a handicrafts exhibition to raise money for the disadvantaged, on February 17. Ten Bahais were arrested at the exhibition, held in a private home. To date, six have been released after one month’s detention, and four remain in prison. Their names are Houriyyeh Mohsani, Negin Ahmadiyan, Noghmeh Dhabiheyan and Shayan Tafazzoli (حوریه محسنی، نگین احمدیان، نغمه ذبیحیان و شایان تفضلی).

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

United4Iran and Bahais demonstrate for prisoners of conscience in Iran

Sen’s Daily, April 1

Today, the seven Bahai Yaran or facilitators, who are serving 20-year sentences in Raja’i Shahr prison near Tehran, have been imprisoned for a total of 10,000 days (almost 4 years each). The human rights organisation United4Iran decided to seek publicity for their plight, and the imprisonment of the human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and women’s rights activist Bahareh Hedayat, by organising simultaneous events in 10 cities around the world (Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris, New Delhi, Washington, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Capetown, Wellington, and Amsterdam).

In Amsterdam, the event was supported by the Dutch Bahai community. The participants used the bridges and canals of Amsterdam to good effect to call attention to the plight of the Yaran, and other prisoners of conscience. Rather than carrying banners (not very practical in Amsterdam’s narrow streets), the participants were accompanied on the water by a boat bearing a large billboard. The faces of the seven Yaran on the billboard are composed of thousands of micro-thumbnail photos: portraits of some of Iran’s many prisoners of conscience. Passers-by (and readers of this blog) are asked to join a letter-writing campaign organised by United 4 Iran. A few of Amsterdam’s thousand bridges were used for photo shoots.
~~~~~~~~

No clarity for 10 Bahais detained in Shiraz

HRANA, March 31

Twelve Baha’is from Shiraz remain in prison, in a state of uncertainty. Ten of them have been imprisoned for the past two months. They are Yekta Fahandezh, Mezhdeh Falah, Mazhgan `Amadi, Eyman Rahmat-Penah, Nima Dehqan Munshadi, Farshid Yazdani, Farid `Amadi, Sina Sarikhani, Sam Jaberi and Houman Zara`i, ( یکتا فهندژ، مژده فلاح، مژگان عمادی، ایمان رحمت پناه، نیما دهقان منشادی، فرشید یزدانی، فرید عمادی، سینا ساریخانی، سام جابری، هومن زارعی ). In addition, Kavus Samimi and Kambiz Habibi ( کاووس صمیمی و کامبیز حبیبی ) have been in prison for the past two weeks, in similar uncertainty. Mrs. Yekta Fahandezh, Mezhdeh Falah and Mazhgan `Amadi have all been transferred to Adel Abad prison.

After repeated attempts, the families of these Bahais were able to meet the judge on March 24, at the end of the public holiday marking the Iranian new year. He too had no clear information about the situation of the prisoners. Thus far, the families’ have not been able to arrange a new meeting with the judge, and the prosecutor.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~

Four Bahai prisoners denied leave

HRANA, March 30

Four Bahais from Shiraz serving 10-month sentences in prison have been denied parole or short-term prison leave since the beginning of their sentences. Vahdat Dana, Afshin Ehsaniyan, Keyvan Kerami and Farham Ma`sumi (وحدت دانا، افشین احسنیان، کیوان کرمی و فرهام معصومی ) have served more than four months in Pir Banu prison. Although the judicial authorities had told them they would be allowed leave after fifty days (one sixth of their sentences), and despite repeated enquiries from their families, no leave has been granted. Vahdat Dana suffers from a heart condition, and Keyvan Kerami has severe kidney stones, but they have not been given leave for treatment. The conditional release of Keyvan Kerami and Farham Ma`sumi has also been disputed, although Mr. Kerami has served 7 months and Mr. Ma`sumi has served 6 months of 10-month sentences, and under the Prisons Act, prisoners who have served half their sentences can be given conditional leave.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Natolli Derakshan free on bail

PCED, March 28

Natolli Derakshan( ناتولی درخشان ), a Bahai poet and writer living in Sari, has been released on bail of 200 million rials (13,000 euros, $US18,000). He was arrested at his home by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence on February 21, and released on March 27. The charge against him is said to be “propaganda against the regime.” Last year he published an open letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, drawing attention to human rights violations against the Bahais and in Iran, the exclusion of Bahai youth from tertiary education, and the false denials of these facts by Iran’s representatives at the United Nations. Mr. Derakshan himself is excluded from tertiary education because he is a Bahai.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~

Bakhtiyar Rasekhi transferred to an unknown destination

HRANA, March 22

Bakhtiyar Rasekhi (بختیار راسخی) is one of four Bahais from Kerman who have been detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in the city since January 5. He has been transferred to an unknown destination, and in the 75 days of his detention has had no contact with his family except for a 5-minute meeting with his daughter and two telephone calls with his family. His wife and daughter, Farhnaz Na`imi and Farin Rahimi ( فرحناز نعیمی و فرین رحیمی ) were among those detained when agents from the security forces raided a home where the Bahais were marking the day of Iranian Youth.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

Shiraz arrestees transferred to prisons

HRANA, March 22

On March 16, the 10 Bahais arrested in Shiraz in early March were transferred from detention centre 100 in Shiraz to Kayan Abad prison (for women) and Adel Abad prison. Their families received a court letter allowing them to visit their imprisoned relatives, but after waiting at the prisons for hours they were allowed just 10 minutes of contact.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Israel renews tax-exempt status of Bahai World Center

Jerusalem Post, March 20

Israel’s Justice Ministry has announced that it has renewed a deal with the Bahai World Center exempting it from indirect taxes for another five-year term. The tax arrangement was originally agreed upon between the state and the Bahai movement in 1987.

The Justice Ministry said that the government views the Bahai holy places as among the most important tourist sites in the whole country, and underlined the importance of the relationship with the Bahai World Centre, especially for the activities that it has done to help develop the Galilee region

The government will transfer funds equivalent to any indirect [tax] outlays incurred by the World Bahai Center or any of its associated non-profit organizations for activities it carries out in operating and developing the sites.

Full story
~~~~~~

Who owns enlarging shoreline by the Wilmette Temple?

Chicago Tribune, March 22

In 1951, the Bahais bought a property known as the Marshall land, on the lake shore at Wilmette near to the Bahai House of Worship. At the time it had a sliver of beach along the lake shore. It’s now about two acres, thanks either to a natural accumulation of sand or perhaps some man-made help. The ownership of the new land became controversial when a Wilmette Park District official said it would enhance the value of an adjacent boat harbor.

Who owns the new property depends on whether it was created artificially — and by whom — or if it developed naturally. If it developed naturally, state officials say it simply becomes additional Baha’i property. But if it’s been man-made, and as a result of a Baha’i effort, it defaults to the state of Illinois.

Ron Gould, national properties manager for the Baha’i Faith, said he isn’t sure how the property grew. The organization doesn’t have records on that parcel of the land and insists it wasn’t involved in any expansion. “We certainly are under the impression that it’s our property,” Gould said. “That’s a private beach, and we do use it and we intend to keep using it.”

Full story
~~~~~~

Report on the status of Bahai prisoners in Iran

HRANA, March 20

The Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA) reports that, as Now Ruz approaches, 67 Bahai prisoners remain in detention in Iran. Of these, 43 are sentenced prisoners, serving a total of 260 years in prison, and 24 are in detention in the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence. Many others were in prison or detained during the course of the year, but were freed as they completed their sentences, or are free on bail pending their sentences. A number of Bahais, including Sho`aleh Ta’ef and Mehran Bandi ( شعله طائف و مهران بندی ) are in internal exile, having completed their time in prison.

The known prisoners at present are:

Tehran (Evin – for women):
1 – Fariba Kamalabadi (sentence of 20 years)فریبا کمال آبادی
2 – Mahvash Sabet (20 years) مهوش ثابت
3 – Nowshin Khadem (4 years) نوشین خادم
4 – Manijheh Nasrollahi (3 years) منیژه نصرالهی

Tehran (Evin – Section 350):
5 – Shahram Chinayan (8 years) شهرام چینیان
6 – Payman Kashfi (4 years) پیمان کشفی
7 – Afshin Hirtiyan (4 years) افشین حیرتیان
8 – Shahrukh Ta’if (4 years) شاهرخ طائف
9 – Foad Khanjani (4 years) فواد خانجانی
10 – Didar Ra’ufi (3 years) دیدار رئوفی
11 – Sama Nourani (1 year) سما نورانی

Karaj (Rajai Shahr prison):
12 – Jamaluddin Khanjani (20 years) جمال الدین خانجانی
13 – Vahid Tizfahm (20 years) وحید تیزفهم
14 – Afif Na`imi (20 years) عفیف نعیمی
15 – Behruz Tavakkoli (20 years) بهروز توکلی
16 – Sa`id Reza’i (20 years) سعید رضایی
17 – Kamran Morteza’i (5 years) کامران مرتضایی
18 – Mahmud Badevam (4 years) محمود بادوام
19 – Farhad Sedaqi (4 years) فرهاد صدقی
20 – Ramin Zeba’i (4 years) رامین زیبایی
21 – Riaz Sobhani (4 years) ریاض سبحانی
22 – Kamran Rahimian (sentenced to 4 years – subject to appeal) کامران رحیمیان

Mashhad:
23 – Davar Nabilzadeh (5 years) داور نبیل زاده
24 – Jalayer Wahdat (5 years) جلایر وحدت
25 – Sima Eshraqi (5 years) سیما اشراقی
26 – Rozita Waseqi (5 years) رزیتا واثقی
27 – Nahid Qadiri (5 years) ناهید قدیری
28 – Sima Rajabiyan (2 years) سیما رجبیان
29 – Nasrin Qadiri (2 years) نسرین قدیری
30 – Kaviz Nuzdehi (2 years) کاویز نوزدهی
31 – Houman Bakhtavar (2 years) هومن بخت آور
32 – Ezzatollah Ahmadiyan (in detention) عزت الله احمدیان
33 – Shahzad Khalili (in detention) شهزاد خلیلی
34 – Houriyyeh Mohsani (in detention) حوریه محسنی
35 – Negin Ahmadiyan (in detention)نگین احمدیان
36 – Arman Mokhtari (in detention) آرمان مختاری
37 – Noghmeh Dhabihayan (in detention) نغمه ذبیحیان
38 – Shayan Tafazzoli (in detention) شایان تفضلی

Shiraz:
39 – Keyvan Karami (sentenced to 10 months) کیوان کرمی
40 – Wahdat Dana (10 months) وحدت دانا
41 – Afshin Ahsanayan (10 months) افشین احسنیان
42 – Farham Ma`sumi (10 months) فرهام معصومی
43 – Nima Dehqani (in detention) نیما دهقان
44 – Yekta Fahandezh (in detention) یکتا فهندژ
45 – Mazhgan `Amadi (in detention) مژگان عمادی
46 – Sam Jaberi (in detention) سام جابری
47 – Sina Sarikhani (in detention) سینا ساریخانی
48 – Farid `Amadi (in detention) فرید عمادی
49 – Mezhdeh Falah (in detention) مژده فلاح
50 – Farshid Yazdani (in detention) فرشید یزدانی
51 – Eyman Rahmat-Penah (temporary detention) ایمان رحمت پناه
52 – Houman Zara`i (in detention) هومن زارعی
53 – Kambiz Habibi (in detention) کامبیز حبیبی
54 – Kavus Samimi (in detention) کاووس صمیمی

Semnan:
55 – Afshin Iqany (4 years and 3 months) افشین ایقانی
56 – Behfar Khanjani (4 years) بهفر خانجانی
57 – Siamak Iqany (3 years) سیامک ایقانی
58 – Nader Kesa’i (3 years) نادر کسایی
59 – `Ali Ehsani (2 years) علی احسانی

Kerman:
60 – `Erfan Shoja`i (in detention) عرفان شجاعی
61 – Bakhtiyar Rasekhi (temporary detention) بختیار راسخی
62 – Farhnaz Na`imi (in detention) فرحناز نعیمی
63 – Farin Rasekhi(temporary detention) فرین راسخی

Sari:
64 – Houshang Fana’ayan (sentenced to 4 years) هوشنگ فناییان
65 – Anwar Muslimi (1 year) انور مسلمی
66 – Natoly Derakhshan (temporary detention) ناتولی درخشان

Yasuj:
67 – `Ali Baksh-bazhar Afkan (2 years and 6 months) علی بخش بذر افکن

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Three Bahais free on bail in Mashhad

HRANA, March 18

On March 17, Navid Nabili, Behnaz Hudadzadeh and Fattaneh Hajipour ( نوید نبیلی، بهناز حدادزاده و فتانه حاجی پور ) were released on bail of 60 million tuman (40,000 euros / 53,000 US dollars). They were among ten Bahais arrested a month ago, in connection with an exhibition of handcrafts to raise funds for disadvantaged children.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

More Bahai homes targetted in Shiraz

CHRR, March 17

On the morning of March 17, security agents raided the home shared by seven Bahais in Shiraz. Their personal effects and religious materials were seized. It is said that Kavus Samimi and Kambiz Habibi (کاووس صمیمی و کامبیز حبیبی), two of the residents, were arrested and taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention centre 100 in Shiraz. Security agents also went to a number of other Bahai homes in the city, but did not search them because the Bahais were not at home.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Two Bahais in Mashhad sentenced

HRANA, March 17

Dari Amri ( دری امری ), a Bahai resident of Mashhad, has been sentenced to one year in prison for ‘propaganda against the regime by teaching the Bahai Faith.’ He was arrested last summer, and was released on bail after several months in prison. Mona Reza’i ( و مونا رضایی ), another Bahai from Mashhad who was named as the second defendant in the same case, has also been sentenced to one year in prison, but with the sentence suspended for several years. She was also arrested last summer, and was freed on bail after 10 days in prison.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~

National judo representative barred from competitions and university

HRANA, and PCED March 16

Khashayar Zara`i (خشایار زارعی), a member of Iran’s national judo team, and highly ranked among the youth and young adults, has been expelled from his university, because of his Bahai beliefs. He was in the first semester of a course in architecture at the University of Shiraz. On March 12 he was informed, at the University’s administrative office, that he had been expelled, and enquiries since then have been fruitless. He has been selected for the national judo team three times, but is barred from participating in Asian and world competitions.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled from Yazd University

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 4

Mr. Meshkat Shadepour ( مشکات شادپور ), a student of computer studies at the Imam `Ali University in Yazd, has been expelled because of his religious beliefs.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Continued detentions for 10 in Shiraz; two freed

RAHANA, March 10

Samira Momtazian and Payam Taslimi ( سمیرا ممتازیان و پیام تسلیمی ), two of the Bahais arrested in Shiraz early on February 3 and 5, have been released on bail of 100 million tumans ($US90,000 / 67,000 euros). There have been concerns about Payam Taslimi’s health in prison, because he has thyroid cancer and requires medical treatment. Samira Momtazian’s name was previously reported as Samitra ( سمیترا ممتازیان ).

Ten other Bahais arrested at the same time remain in prison. The families of those arrested have inquired with all the authorities in Shiraz, and some have gone to Tehran to enquire there. An official at the revolutionary court in Tehran told one of the Bahais, “the Bahais in Iran have no right even to life itself being a Bahai is a crime.”

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Bahai school pupil expelled for her beliefs

PCED, March 11

Afrouz Dhabihi ( افروز ذبیحی ), a senior secondary school student in Sari, has been expelled from a school for talented students because of her Bahai beliefs. In the current year, she participated in the school’s highest level examination and achieved a first grade pass. She was also the school’s top student in examinations run in the province by the Organisation for the Development of Talented Students, and first in the province in a physics competion. She completed the first semester of the year with a school grade of 19.82.

Previously, in her fifth year of primary school and third year of secondary school, she had been denied admittance to the school for gifted students because of her Bahai beliefs. Two sisters and a brother have also been excluded in the past from tertiary education and the school for gifted students, although they had obtained the necessary qualifications. Her father also was expelled from the Department of Mathematics, and her mother from a course in Nursing, because of their Bahai beliefs. Recently, a confidential instruction to schools to identify Bahai students was leaked.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Afif Naeimi transferred to hospital

HRANA, March 10

Afif Naeimi ( عفیف نعیمی ), one of the seven Bahai Yaran or facilitators serving 20-year sentences in Raja’i Shahr prison near Tehran, was transferred from jail to hospital for a CT scan on March 7. He is suffering from an inflammation of the lymph glands in his throat, acerbated by lack of medical care.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Four Bahais sentenced in Mashhad

HRANA, March 10

Four Bahai residents of Mashhad have been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Their names are given as Anisa Dehqani, Kivan Dehqani, Ayah Anvari and Sanaz Tafazzoli (انیسا دهقانی، کیوان دهقانی، آیه انوری و ساناز تفضلی). They were charged with membership of the Bahai Administration and propaganda against the regime. They were tried on February 22 and 23. A fourth accused, Farhoud Eshtiyaq ( فرهود اشتیاق ), was sent by the court to face trial in Isfahan, where he lives. In fact, four of the five accused in this case are from Isfahan. Kivan Dehqani and Ayah Anvari were arrested in Isfahan on June 27, 2011, and sent to the Ministry of Intelligence in Mashhad. Anisa Dehqani lives in Isfahan, and was arrested in the street in Mashhad when she was there on a visit. Sanaz Tafazzoli however lives in Mashhad: she was arrested there on June 27, 2011.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~

Detention orders for Kerman 3 extended

RAHANA, March 10

Three Bahais from Kerman are to be held in custody for a further two months, following the extension of their detention orders. Bakhtiyar Rasekhi (بختیار راسخی) and his wife and daughter, Farhnaz Na`imi and Farin Rahimi ( فرحناز نعیمی و فرین رحیمی ) have already been detained, because of their religious beliefs, for more than two months. They were arrested when agents from the security forces raided a home where the Bahais were marking the day of Iranian Youth. Last week, Farhnaz Na`imi and Farin Rahimi were transferred to the general wing of Kerman Prison, after fifty days in solitary detention. Mr. Rasekhi remains in solitary confinement. The RAHANA report does not provide any new information about Erfan Shoja’i ( عرفان شجاعی ), a fourth Bahai from Kerman, who was arrested on February 20.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Sharam Chiniyan Meyandoab sent to Evin prison

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 4

Mr. Sharam Chiniyan Meyandoab (شهرام چینیان میان دو آب), a Bahai resident of Hassan Abad, who as previously reported was sentenced to 70 lashes and 8 years in prison, on a charge of insulting Islam, has had his sentence confirmed by the review court. He has been summoned to begin serving his sentence, and sent to Evin prison. He was first arrested in March 2009 and released on March 3, 2010, after using his business license as bail. It appears that the accusation of insulting Islam was raised by his neighbour, following a legal dispute regarding the use of a right of way.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

New information on the detention and release of Amilia Esmailipour

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 4

New information has emerged about the detention and release of Amilia Esmailipour (امیلیا اسماعیل پور) in Gonabad. Previously it was reported that her shop and home were searched and she was imprisoned for 48 hours on a charge of “illicit relations.” It is now clear that her shop and home were searched by officials from the Ministry of Intelligence and the Office of Public Places, and she was held for five days before being released on bail of 100 million tumans ($US90,000 / 67,000 euros). The officials who came to her house had a court order and said she was charges with promoting the Bahai Faith. During her trial the charge was “inviting people to corruption, prostitution and illicit relations” – which is how the regime commonly refers to membership of the Bahai community. A few days after her release, officials closed her business, and she was forced to leave the premises.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

A new administrative difficulty for Iran’s youth

Bahai News Service (Persian), March 6

The recent introduction of a new electronic form, by the Ministry of Defence, prevents Bahai youth in Iran from applying for exemption for military service. The question about “religion” in the form allows only the options Muslim, Zoroastrian, Christian or Jewish. So Bahais, Hindus, and people of no religion cannot complete the form. Baha’i youth who have reported this problem to the conscription office were told that the form was controlled by the central office for conscription, and that this office would be consulted about the possibility of adding “other” to the possible answers. However there has been no response or change so far. Those who reported this problem are now known to the authorities as Bahais. If they cannot obtain a certificate of exemption, their exemption may become invalid.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

14 Bahais summoned in Qorveh

RAHANA, March 8

In recent months, 14 Bahai residents of the city of Qorveh, in Iranian Kurdistan, have been summoned to the local offices of the Ministry of Intelligence. They were questioned about Bahai meetings in the city, who participates in them and how they are organised, and were asked for the names of their relatives in other countries, what ncome they (the people questioned) had, their relationships with non-Bahais, and how interested they would be in leaving Iran.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Two Bahais arrested in Mashhad

HRANA, March 7

On the morning of March 7, agents of Iranian Intelligence searched the homes of two Bahais in Mashhad, Houriyyeh Mohsani (حوریه محسنی) and Negin Ahmadiyan (نگین احمدیان), seizing computers, CDs, books and religious images. They then arrested the two ladies, and took them to an unknown place. Eight other Bahais from Mashhad have been detained for more than two weeks.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Abdolfattah Soltani jailed for 18 years

The Guardian, March 4

Abdolfattah Soltani, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who, with Shirin Ebadi, defended the seven “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran), has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by a Tehran court. He was also banned from exercising his profession for 20 years and will be sent to a remote prison in the city of Borazjan, about 620 miles south-west of Tehran, where it will be difficult for his family to visit him.

Soltani, 58, co-founded a human rights group with Iranian Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. He was arrested last year and has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison. The family will seek to appeal against the ruling. His daughter Maede Soltani says he was charged with co-founding the Center for Human Rights Defenders, spreading anti-government propaganda, endangering national security and accepting an illegal prize – a reference to a German human rights prize he was awarded in 2009.

Full story.
CHRR report in Persian
~~~~~

Iranian schools ordered to identify Bahai pupils

HRANA, February 27

Iran’s Ministry of Education has issued a directive to the country’s schools, to identify and report to the Ministry any Bahai pupils at their schools. HRANA has obtained a copy of a document sent to the schools in Tehran district, demanding that they implement this directive.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Student expelled in Sari

PCED, February

Yasmin Fana’eyan (یاسمن فنائیان), a Bahai in her first year of a course in accountancy at the Peyam-e Nour University in Sari, has been expelled because of her adherence to Bahai beliefs. She was reprimanded for her beliefs several times in the course of the first term of her study, and expelled at the end of the term.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Fourth Bahai arrested in Kerman

HRANA, February 26

Erfan Shoja’i ( عرفان شجاعی ), a Bahai resident of Kerman, was arrested on February 20. He was arrested outside his home, which was then searched. His computer and a number of books were seized. Court officials said that his arrest related to the cases of three other Bahais arrested in Kerman on January 6, when security forces raided the home of Bakhtiyar Rasekhi (بختیار راسخی), taking videos and photographs of the Bahai youth there, and arresting Mr. Rasekhi and his wife and daughter, Farhnaz Na`imi and Farin Rasekhi ( فرحناز نعیمی و فرین راسخی ).

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

Student expelled in Babol

PCED, February 25

Shahin Mousu’i ( شاهین موسوی ), a Bahai student of Civil Engineering at the non-profit Tabri University in Babol, has been expelled because of his religious beliefs. University officials first denied him entry to classes, and referred him to a supervisory board. Later he was barred from the University, and told he should take the matter up with the Ministry of Science. However neither the Ministry nor the supervisory board has responded to his questions. A number of Bahai students have been expelled in this way in the past month, from universities in Isfahan, Mashhad and other places.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Bahai arrested in Shiraz

HRANA, February 23

Houman Zara`i ( هومن زارعی ), a Bahai resident of Shiraz, was arrested in his workplace on the morning of February 23. They had first gone to his home, but he was already at work. He was taken to Detention centre 100 in Shiraz.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

No news of the eleven Bahais arrested in Shiraz

RAHANA, February 25

More than two weeks after they were arrested, on February 3 and 6, there is still no news of the condition of eleven Bahais arrested in Shiraz, despite continuing enquiries from their families. There are concerns about the health of Payam Taslimi ( پیام تسلیمی ), who has thyroid cancer and requires medical treatment.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Taraneh Turabi sentenced: 5 years and 10 months

Taraneh Turabi ( ترانه ترابی ), a Bahai resident of Semnan, has been sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison on charges of “setting up and running an illegal group with organisational goals (meaning, a group relating to the Bahai community), which benefit foreigners and those dissatisfied with the regime (referring to the fact that persecuting the Bahais gives the IRI a bad name internationally, and fuels dissatisfaction at home); membership of an illegal group (the Bahai religion) whose aim is to attract Muslims and promote organisational goals in opposition to the regime and favourable to foreigners; and propaganda against the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic, to the benefit of foreigners.”

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

Two Bahais in Mashhad sentenced

HRANA,

Zhila Rezvani and Sa`ideh Faroughi ( ژیلا رضوانی و سعیده فروغی ), two Bahais living in Mashhad, have been given 4-month sentences for teaching the Bahai Faith, the sentences suspended for five years. They were arrested in June 2011, and released on bail soon after, pending trial.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Baha’i writer arrested in Sari

RAHANA, February 22

Natolli Derakshan( ناتولی درخشان ), a Bahai poet and writer living in Sari, was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence on February 21. Seven agents searched his home and took away all his books, as well as religious CDs and pictures, pictures of his family, and a box of a book of his poetry, which was published with permission from the Ministry of Culture. The home of his father, in the village of Ivel, was one of about 50 Bahai homes in the village which were destroyed last summer. Mr. Derakshan is excluded from tertiary education because he is a Bahai.

Source (in Persian)

March 2: HRANA reports that bail has been set, although his family are unaware of the details.
~~~~~~~~

Eight Bahai youth arrested in Mashhad

RAHANA, February 18

On February 17, security forces in Mashhad arrested eight Bahai youth who were holding a handicrafts exhibition in the home of one of the Bahais. The names of those arrested are reported as Ezatollah Ahmadian, Shayan Tafazzoli, Navid Nabili, Shahrzad Khalili, Fattaneh Hajipour, Arman Mukhtari, Behnaz Hudadzadeh and Noghmeh Dhabiheyan-Esami ( عزت الله احمدیان، شایان تفضلی، نوید نبیلی، شهرزاد خلیلی، فتانه حاجی پور، آرمان مختاری، بهناز حدادزاده و نغمه ذبیحیان اسامی ). Other participants in the exhibition were given forms and required to fill in their personal details. There has been an increase in house searches and arrests of Bahais in Iran in recent weeks.

Source (in Persian)

February 20: Khabarnavard adds that the handicrafts exhibition was being held to raise money for those in need, and that officials in Mashhad recently arrested some Bahai youth who were holding a presentation on methods of giving up smoking, in a park.
~~~~~~~

Salafi spokesman in Egypt: “Bahais threaten national security”

Egypt Independent, February 18

Abdel Moneim al-Shahat, a spokesperson for the Salafi movement in Alexandria and unsuccessful parliamentary candidate, said that the state should protect itself from those who claim that the Baha’i faith is a religion.

“We will prosecute the Bahai’s on charge of treason,” Shahat said, in a telephone call with the host of the al-Haqiqa (The Truth) TV program. “We as Salafis refuse to deal with Baha’is, because they do not exist by virtue of their faith.”

According to Shahat, Bahai’s are not entitled to rights under Islam because they do not belong and are not recognized by the religion, and any new constitution should not include an amendment protecting their rights. He cited an Al-Azhar ruling that said Baha’is are not Muslims.

Baha’is, who number between 500 and 2,000 in Egypt, call their faith’s 19th-century founder, Bahaa, a prophet — sacrilege to Muslims who believe Mohamed to be God’s final messenger. [Bahais also preach the separation of religion and politics, as a religious teaching, which does not endear them to the Salafists, or to Iran’s theocratic regime ~Sen]

Baha’is face systematic discrimination in Egypt. In 2008, Baha’is won the right to obtain government identity papers so long as they omit any reference to their faith, but it is still not possible for them to register their marriages, which means that married Bahais also cannot obtain identity cards, necessary for numerous daily transactions.

Full story (in English)
~~~~~

Bahai student expelled in Amol

PCED, February 15

Shima Moufeqi ( شیما موفقی ), a Bahai studying management at the private, non-profit, University of North Amol, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. First, university officials prevented her attending classes, and referred her to the university’s disciplinary body. After that, university security staff prevented her entering the university, saying she should go to the Ministry of Science. Her inquiries have not been answered.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Robe of Abdu’l-Baha displayed at royal interfaith audience

February 16

In one of the Queen’s first public engagements to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee year, an interfaith reception held at Lambeth Palace, Queen Elizabeth II has spoken of her belief that the Church of England has “a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths” in the UK. She argued the Church’s role was not to “defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions” and that the concept of an established Church was “occasionally misunderstood” and “commonly under-appreciated”.

The Queen and Prince Philip were greeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, before meeting representatives of the Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian communities, as well as Christian representatives. Each community presented a treasured object or text of importance to their faith. The Bahai representatives displayed a black robe worn by Abdu’l-Baha.

Sources: BBC and the Archbishop of Canterbury‘s web site.
~~~~~~~~

Summary of persecutions in Sari, Qaemshahr, Gorgan and Gonabad

Bahai News Service (Persian), February 11

A number of similar abuses of the human and civil rights of Bahais occured in the provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan from January 2 to 12. More than 60% of the workshops of Bahais in Sari and Qaemshahr, and a number in Gorgan and Gonabad — a total of more than 50 sites — were searched, leading to threats or arrests of the Bahais. Officials even searched the homes of Bahais whose shops had been shut down more than two years ago. In Gonabad, the shop and home of Amalia Esmailipour ( املیا اسماعیل‌پور ) was searched and she was imprisoned for 48 hours on a charge of “illicit relations.”

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Two Bahais sentenced in Semnan province

RAHANA, February 15

Goudarz Bidaqi (گودرز بیدقی ), a Bahai resident of Sangesar, in Semnan province has been sentenced to one year in prison and three years of exile from the province, on the charge of “propaganda against the regime.” He was arrested in March, 2010. His daughter, Roufiya Bidaqi ( روفیا بیدقی ), has also been sentenced to one year in prison, on charges of propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai activities. She was arrested in her shop in November 2010. The family business has been closed by the authorities, without a clear reason, since April 2011, and its licence has been revoked. Sangesar is a town lying about 180 km East of Tehran.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Four more arrests in Shiraz

As previously reported, on February 3 more than 30 Bahai homes in Shiraz were searched in simultaneous raids, and 8 Bahais were arrested, while others were summoned. On February 7, four more Bahais were arrested: Samitra Momtazian, Farshid Yazdani, Eyman Rahmat-Penah and Farid `Amadi (سمیترا ممتازیان، فرشید یزدانی، ایمان رحمت پناه و فرید عمادی). Eyman Rahmat-Penah and Farid `Amadi were among the four who were previously reported to have been summoned to appear at detention centre 100 on February 4. In addition, Tahireh Nawruzi and Sa’id Dehqan ( طاهره نوروزی و سعید دهقان نیز) have been summoned (the latter apparently for a second time, since he was among those summoned previously). Their homes were among those searched in the raids.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled from Tehran University

PCED, February 9

Sayyid Keyan Hashemi Dehaj ( سید کیان هاشمی دهج ), a Bahai student in the third semester of a course on water-related agricultural engineering at Tehran University has been expelled following a direct instruction from the Ministry of Intelligence. The reason given was that he is a follower of the Bahai Faith. According to an official of the Student Disciplinary Committee, at the Ministry of Science, “there is a law in which Bahais can not continue studying.” Mr. Hashemi Dehaj reported that the officials who implemented his expulsion insulted him and his religion.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Multiple arrests of Bahais in Shiraz

PCED, February 3

This morning, agents of the security services raided the homes of Bahais in Shiraz, and there were widespread arrests. Among those detained were Nima Dehqan, Mezhdeh Falah, Mazhgan `Amadi, Sam Jaberi, Sina Sarikhani, Bijan Falah and Zhinous Fana’iyan (نیما دهقان، مژده فلاح، مژگان عمادی، سام جابری، سینا ساریخانی، بیژن فلاح، ژینوس فنائیان). Reports indicate that more than these 7 Bahais were arrested.

Source (in Persian)

February 5: It appears that more than 30 Bahai homes were searched in simultaneous raids, between 7 a.m. and noon on Friday, and that at least 11 Bahais have been arrested. Bijan Falah, who is named above, was not one of those arrested. The updated list contains eight names: Mezhdeh Falah, Mazhgan `Amadi, Nima Dehqani, Sina Sarikhani, Zhinous Fana’iyan, Sam Jaberi, and three not previously mentioned: Yekta Fahandezh, Fa’ezeh Tashakkur and Noura Falah (مژده فلاح، مژگان عمادی، نیما دهقان، سینا ساریخانی، یکتا فهندژ، سام جابری، فائزه تشکر، نورا فلاح و ژینوس فنائیان). They are being held in detention centre 100 in Shiraz, although four of them were briefly released before being detained again and transferred to Centre 100. Numerous personal possessions, computers, CDs, photographs and books were seized. A number of the Bahais whose homes were searched, including Rozita Eslami, Eyman Rahmat-Penah, Farid `Amadi and Sa’id Dehqan (رزیتا اسلامی، ایمان رحمت پناه، فرید عمادی و سعید دهقان) were summoned to detention centre 100 on February 4.
~~~~~~

Kamran Rahimiyan and Faran Hesami sentenced: 4 years

PCED, January 31

Kamran Rahimiyan and Faran Hesami (کامران رحیمیان و فاران حسامی), a Bahai couple who are among those arrested during the crackdown on the Bahai Open University (BIHE), have both been sentenced to four years in prison. They were charged with “membership of the Bahai community, and “meeting and colluding to disturb national security.” They were arrested on September 13, 2011, and held in Evin Prison in Tehran. Faran Hesami was freed on bail in late November; her husband was held in Evin prison in Tehran, but was transfered to Rajai Shahr prison, in Karaj, after the couple’s trial on December 14 and 15.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Sentence of Iqan Shahidi confirmed

PCED, January 31

The review court has confirmed the sentence of 5 years in prison imposed on Iqan Shahidi (ایقان شهیدی), a Bahai student of Kermanshah who has been excluded from education. He was arrested on March 2, 2010, along with Navid Khanjani and Sama Nourani (نوید خانجانی و سما نورانی), and held in Evin prison. During his detention he was under physical and psychological pressure to make a televised confession. He was released on bail of 50 million tuman (about 350 euros) on May 11. He is charged with “membership of the illegal Association for the Right to Education,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “membership of the Bahai community.”

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~

Sadaf Thabetayan sentenced: 2 years

HRANA, January 31

Sadaf Thabetayan ( صدف ثابتیان ), one of the Bahais arrested in the raids targetting the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), has been sentenced in Tehran to two years in prison. She is from Sari, and was arrested there, along with two other Bahais, but was moved to Tehran. After being interrogated there, she was released on bail, in June 2011. The hearing to determine her sentence was held on January 8.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~

Bahrain officially registers the Association of the Bahais

Al-Awsat news, January 9

The Minister of Human Rights and Social Development in Bahrain, Fatima al-Balushi (فاطمة البلوشي) has decided to register the Bahai Social Association (الجمعية البهائية الاجتماعية) in the register of community foundations, and social and cultural associations. The Association of Bahais was founded by 12 Bahais. The rules provide that the Association may not engage in politics or in financial speculation, and may not be affiliated with any association based outside the Kingdom of Bahrain, without prior permission from the Ministry of Social Development. The association’s purposes are to contribute to the development of human resources for community service; to promote a culture of service to humanity; active participation in societal dialogue on the development of a united and fraternal society, in coordination with the competent government agencies; the education and training of children, with the approval of the competent authorities; communication, coordination and participation in service projects with agencies concerned with children and youth within Bahrain and abroad, in coordination with the relevant government agencies.

It intends to organise training sessions, workshops and seminars, and conferences aimed at enhancing skills and capabilities, with an emphasis on programmes for children and youth; to implement volunteer activities in social services, to invite specialists from inside and outside Bahrain to participate in the process of learning and training; to create a web site to identify the community association and its activities and objectives; and to cooperate with official institutions and NGOs in relation to its objectives; to participate in events organized by the local authorities or civil society, which are not inconsistent with the objectives of the Association.

Source (in Arabic)
~~~~~~~~

Elham Ruzbehi sentenced: 3 years

HRANA, January 28

Elham Ruzbehi (الهام روزبهی), a Bahai from Semnan, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison. She was arrested, with several other Bahais, on March 12, 2011, following a search of her home and the seizure of some of her personal effects. She was pregnant at the time. She was later released on bail, but on November 1, the Persian-language Bahai News Service reported that she had been summoned to the local office of the Ministry of Intelligence, along with two other Bahai residents of Semnan, and interrogated for two hours before being released. The present verdict is based on that interrogation. She is the sister in law of Mr. Behnam Mut’arefi (بهنام متعارفی), who has been in prison since July, 2010.

Five other Bahais are presently serving prison sentenced in Semnan, and one Bahai from Semnan is in prison in Evin Prison, in Tehran.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

Bahai home raided in Sari

RAHANA, January 22

On January 21, six agents of the Ministry of Intelligence broke down the door of the home of Enayatullah Sana’i (عنایت الله سنایی), a Bahai author and poet living in Sari, and seized a number of religious books, CDs and tapes. Since Mr. Sana’i was not at home, they could not arrest him. His home had also been raided in August 2011: on that occasion with such brutality that his eardrum was ruptured.

RAHANA, (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sentences of BIHE teachers confirmed

The prison sentences previously given to six of the staff of the Bahai Open University (BIHE) have been confirmed by the review court in Tehran. Kamran Morteza’i (کامران مرتضایی) was sentenced to five years in prison, while Mr. Riaz Sobhani, Ramin Ziba’i, Farhad Sadeqi, Mahmud Badevam, and Mrs. Nushin Khadem (ریاض سبحانی، رامین زیبائی، فرهاد صدقی، محمود بادوام و نوشین خادم) were sentenced to four years in prison. A seventh member of staff who was arrested at the same time, Vahid Mahmudi (وحید محمودی), was also sentenced to five years in prison: this sentence was reduced and suspended by the review court, and he was released on January 8.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

Sanandaj Bahais pressured to abandon cemetery

Zandehbad Kurdistan Blog, January 17

This blog reports that in recent days the authorities have pressured Bahai families in Sanandaj and other towns in the region. Twelve Bahai families in Sanandaj have been summoned and questioned, and pressured to abandon the cemetery known as “Golestan Javid” in the village of Hassan Abad, which is held in the name of one of these families. Their homes have also been searched, and computers, photographs and books have been seized.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

Shahrukh Ta’ef begins his 4-year sentence

RAHANA, January 17

Mr. Shahrukh Ta’ef ( شاهرخ طائف ), a Bahai of Tehran, has been summoned to Evin Prison to begin serving a four-year sentence. He has been found guilty of “membership of the Bahai community.” He was arrested on January 14, 2009, following a search of his home, and was held in solitary confinement until March 18, 2009, when he was released on bail.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

Fu’ad Khanjani’s 4-year sentence begins

PCED, January 17

Fu’ad Khanjani ( فؤاد خانجانی ), a Bahai student excluded from tertiary education, has begun serving his 4-year prison sentence, in Evin Prison in Tehran. He had been studying Industrial Management in Isfahan, but was expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. He was arrested on April 27, 2010, and released on bail a few days later. He had previously been arrested on March 2, 2010. His father, `Ala-aldin Khanjani (علاءالدین خانجانی) and other members of the extended family have also been arrested. His grandfather, Jamal-aldin Khanjani (جمال‌الدین خانجانی) is presently serving a 20-year sentence in Rajai Shahr prison, near Tehran. All have been imprisoned for their religious beliefs.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled from Bojnourd University

CHRR, January 12

Shervin Fallah ( شروین فلاح), a first-year Bahai student of building technologies at the Technical Institute of Bojnourd, was informed orally on January 10 that he had been expelled because of his Bahai beliefs. In the previous two years, he had been excluded from the School of Architecture, but in October 2011 he was accepted in the course for building technologies. So far this academic year, more than 20 Bahai students have been expelled in Iran, while dozens more have been refused admission on the grounds that their applications are “incomplete.”

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Unsuitable conditions for Hoshang Fana’ayan in Sari prison

CHRR, January 14

Hoshang Fana’ayan ( هوشنگ فنائیان ), a 48-year old Bahai from Amol who is serving a sentence in the city prison of Sari, suffers from kidney stones but was initially not hospitalised, despite his serious physical condition. He was only hospitalised briefly after he had expelled the stone, and his family were not informed. Despite his physical condition he has been denied prison leave, under various pretexts. He is being held in substandard conditions, in terms of hygiene, temperature and food, but prison authorities have thus far not taken any steps to improve them. He is also said to be under pressure from prison authorities with respect to his contacts with other prisoners. This presumably means his contacts have been restricted. He is serving a four year sentence for propaganda against the regime, membership of the Bahai community and participating in religious activities, and insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~

Vahid Mahmoudi free

Khabar Navard, January 11

Vahid Mahmoudi (وحید محمودی), one of the staff at the Bahai Open University (BIHE), was released from Raja’i Shahr prison, near Tehran, on January 8, after 235 days in prison. As previously reported, he has been given a suspended sentence of four and a half years in prison, plus six months in prison, which he has already served since his arrest.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~

Another Bahai refused burial in Tabriz

RAHANA, January 12

The management of the Wadi Rahmat cemetery in Tabriz — which is ironically named after the quality of mercy — have refused to allow the burial of a Bahai there, instead requesting that the body be taken to another city. Bahai religious practices require a body to be buried within one hour’s travel of the place of death. Muhammad Husayn Barqi (محمد حسین برقی), a Bahai resident of Tabriz, had a stroke and died in his home on January 6. The family washed the body and wrapped it in a shroud, according to Bahai rites, and reported the death to the local authorities. The authorities order that the body should be taken to the Wadi Rahmat cemetery. One day later, the cemetery authorities told the family that the body should be taken to the city of Miandoab, about 160 km south of Tabriz. His children responded that his Will stipulated that he should be buried in the place where he died, and they were not willing to take him to another town. The body is now in cold storage in the morgue.

The management of this cemetery previously denied permission for Khalil Nourmuhammadi Shisheban (خلیل نورمحمدی شیشوان), who died in Tabriz on October 25, 2011, to be buried there according to Bahai rites. Bahais have been buried in the Wadi Rahmat cemetery, according to Bahai rites, since 1969, and the Bahais of Tabriz share in the cost of construction and maintenance of the cemetery.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled from Gorgan University

PCED, January 2

Dorsa Allahvardi (درسا اله‌وردی), a first-year student of Mechanical Engineering for Agricultural Machinery, has been expelled from Gorgan University. On November 21 she was informed by telephone that her file would be reviewed because it was “incomplete.” On November 23, she was informed that she had been expelled from the University because of her Bahai beliefs. So far this academic year, more than 20 Bahai students have been expelled from universities in Iran because of their religious beliefs.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bahai business closed down in Sari

RAHANA, January 9

On January 5, after a visit by the security forces to the trading premises of Arman Safa’i (آرمان صفایی), a Bahai resident of Sari, a laptop on which financial information was stored was seized, on the pretext that there was music on it. Although the security forces could not find any irregularities, they ordered the business to close down, although the legal dues had been paid and the business was functioning in accordance with its licence.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Three arrests in Kerman

RAHANA, January 9

On the evening of January 6, when the Bahais of Iran mark the day of Iranian Youth, agents from the security forces raided a home in Kerman belonging to Bakhtiyar Rasekhi (بختیار راسخی) in an illegal and offensive way, taking videos and photographs of the Bahai youth, and dispersed the meeting. They then spent several hours searching the home, before arresting Mr. Rasekhi and his wife and daughter. Three days later, there is still no news of where they are being held.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~

Bahai student expelled from Zahedan University

RAHANA, January 9

Shekofeh Mavdi (شکوفه مودی), a Bahai student in the first term of a degree in information engineering at the Payam-e Nur University in Zahedan, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. She received a letter on December 31, saying that she had been expelled. Enquiries revealed that the decision had been made in Tehran, and was because of her Bahai beliefs.

Source (in Persian)
~~~~~~~~~~

Bahais seek state recognition in Hungary

MSNBC, January 6

In accordance with a new church law approved at the end of last year, 82 religious groups, including the Bahai community, have asked to be officially recognized by Parliament. They will need to gain approval from a two-thirds majority of lawmakers to retain special tax, labor and other privileges. “Neither communities nor individuals are under any constraints in the practice of their religion in Hungary,” Bence Retvari, state secretary at the Justice Ministry told the Associated Press last month. “The real objective of this law is to regularize the system of state subsidies and tax benefits, which was being abused.”

Full story
~~~~~~~

Three Bahais arrested in Semnan

HRANA, January 5

At 9 a.m. this morning, security forces raided the home of `Adalat and Faramraz Firuzzayan(عدالت و فرامرز فیرروزیان). They searched the house, seized personal effects, a computer and some religious books before arresting them and taking them away. Their present location is unknown. The two had previously suffered from economic pressure, when the well on their agricultural land was closed, leading to the loss of their crop. At present at least 10 Bahais of Semnan are under arrest or imprisoned, while the business belonging to five Bahais have been closed.

Source (in Persian)

Update, January 8. Rahana adds the name of another Bahai arrested in Semnan. Erfan Ehsani (عرفان احسانی) was arrested on December 31.
~~~~~~~~~

Increasing pressure on the Bahais in the north of Iran

CHRR, January 2

In recent weeks, more than 30 Bahais in the regions of Sari and Rasht have been summoned and interrogated in order to pressure them to leave the country. Officials in Sari have been visiting the businesses operated by Bahais and searching them, and summoning some of the Bahais. In addition, in the past few days, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence went to the businesses of Aresto Nobakht, Ali Baba Nobakht and Aref Goli (ارسطو نوبخت، علی بابا نوبخت و عارف گلی), asking about the capital of their businesses and why they did not leave Iran. Last Friday, December 30, Bahais who had gathered for the Feast of Masa’il in a neighbourhood of Sari were observed and filmed as they arrived and departed.

At the same time, reports from Rasht suggest that in recent weeks the Ministry of Intelligence has summoned numerous members of Bahai families and questioned them about their homes and places of business, income, religious ceremonies (“feasts”), the names of other Bahais living in Rasht, and other religious questions.

Source (in Persian)

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: