Sen's daily

2012-04-06

April to June, 2012

Neda Sabeti summoned in Abadan

HRANA, June 29

Early on June 16, Neda Sabeti ( ندا ثابتی ), a Bahai resident of Abadan, was instructed by telephone to go to the provincial office of the Ministry of Intelligence, in the city of Khorramshahr, at 11 a.m.. The two cities are about 20 km apart. When she got there, she was left waiting for a long time, and then required to fill in numerous forms. She was then released, and was told, “The programme has changed. You will me summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence office in Abadan soon, to answer some questions.”
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Pressure on Bahai farmers and villagers around Kata escalates

PCED, June 28

Bahais in the village of Kata, in the province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, have been unable to engage in work on their farms because of actions of government officials. Farms have also been confiscated, and Bahais have not been allowed to care for the crops growing on their farms. In the past 30 years, this community of several thousand Bahais has been subjected to government-orchestrated attacks. These attacks have intensified in recent years, including beatings, the looting of property, property confiscations, and imprisonment. Court summons, and in some cases imprisonment, have been used to force the Bahais to sell their land and leave the area. Resistance to the forced sales has led only to increased pressure. In the past year, all the land of the Bahais has been confiscated, except for one acre (0.4 hectares) allowed per Bahai family, for subsistence farming. In recent months, groups of local people organised at the local level have been making daily home visits to the Bahais to recite anti-Bahai slogans. In recent days the slogan-shouting has escalated to entering and looting the homes of the Bahais, to the extent that they are now left without the basic means of subsistence. On June 25, when a number of Bahai farmers were working in their fields, police arrived with a court warrant allowing the seizure of possessions and properties belonging to Bahais, and arrested a number of the Bahai farmers. Government officials also required all tractor owners in the area to promise not to plough land for Bahais.

Witnesses and local people have said that the confiscation of land occurs each year at the initiative of an Executive Committee, and every year, during the harvest, government officials arrive with order to seize farmland. This Executive Committee is one of the quasi-government bodies which answers to the Supreme Leader, not to the government. They control a large part of the economy and are effectively above the law.
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Another arrest in Semnan

HRANA, June 26

Taher Eskandriyan ( طاهر اسکندریان ), a Bahai resident of Semnan, was arrested on June 23, by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who arrived at his home and searched it. They seized some religious books he had. There is no news of where he is being held. In 2009 he served a six-month sentence in Semnan prison.
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Termination of Black Men’s Gatherings

Editorial, June 23

The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States has issued a letter requiring that the Black Men’s Gatherings, a long-standing and positive feature of Bahai community life in the United States, should cease. The reason is not clear, except that the Universal House of Justice thinks this is “timely.” However the decision does not appear to affect other gatherings, such as those of Persian friends.

I have placed the text in the documents archive on my Bahai Studies blog, here, along with the earlier message from the Universal House of Justice to the Black Men’s Gathering, dated 4 December 2011. That latter is also available as a PDF here.
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Bahai student expelled from Tehran University

100 letters for freedom (blog), June 21

Shaqaa’eq Agahi ( شقایق آگاه ), a graduate studying process design for chemical engineering, has been expelled from Tehran University at the end of her fourth semester of study. Her expulsion was announced in a letter that came directly from the Ministry of Science. The reason was “accepting improper religious beliefs.”
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Detention of Faran Khan Yaghma extended

PCED, June 20

The detention order for Faran Khan Yaghma ( فاران خوان یغما ), a Bahai being held by the Ministry of Intelligence in Sari, has been extended for another week. He was arrested on June 9, at his father’s home. He has been charged with propaganda against the regime, publishing lies and disturbing public opinion. His family have not yet been allowed to meet him. In 2006, when Faran Khan Yaghma had completed the sixth semester of a degree in pure mathematics at the University of Babolsar, he was expelled from the university because of his religious beliefs.
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Keyvan Rahimiyan sentenced: 5 years and a heavy fine

HRANA, June 22

Keyvan Rahimiyan ( کیوان رحیمیان ), a Bahai from Tehran and one of the teachers at the Bahai Open University (BIHE) in Iran, has been sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of 97 million rials (6,300 euro, 7,900 US dollars). He was charged with collaborating with the Bahai Open University. Sentence was handed down on June 12, and he has 20 days to appeal the sentence. He was freed on bail on September 21, 2011.

His brother Kamran Rahimiyan ( کامران رحیمیان ) is already serving a four-year sentence in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, near Tehran. Their father, Rahim Rahimiyan ( رحیم رحیمیان ) was executed for being a Bahai following the 1979 revolution in Iran.
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Review court in Semnan slashes two sentences, and quashes one

HRANA, June 22

Zahra Nik-A’in, a Bahai resident of Semnan who was sentenced to seven years in prison in November 2011, on charges of propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai religious activities, has had her sentence reduced to 23 months in prison. The court also reduced the original 5-year sentence for Shohreh A`zami-Kasa’i (شهره شهره اعظمی ) to eight months in prison. She was charged with membership of the Bahai community. Mr. Sepehr Sobhani ( سپهر سبحانی ), who had been sentenced to one year in prison for propaganda against the regime, was acquitted by the review court.
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Four Bahais freed on bail in Shiraz

PCED, June 15

Farid `Amadi, Nima Dehqan, Houman Zara`i and Sarir Sadeqi ( فرید عمادی، نیما دهقان، هومن زارعی و سریر صادقی ) have been freed on bail in Shiraz. The bail was said to be 5 billion rials (320,000 euros, 410,000 US dollars) each.

Sarir Sadeqi, a Bahai resident of Karaj, was arrested in his home on April 8, and later transported to the Ministry of Intelligence’s Facility 100 in Shiraz. He was subjected to psychological pressure there.

Farid `Amadi, Nima Dehqan, and Houman Zara`i are Bahai residents of Shiraz, who have been imprisoned at Facility 100 and in Adel Abad prison in Shiraz. Their homes were among 30 Bahai homes raided on February 2. Twelve Bahais were arrested at the time, of whom nine were released in late June, for a bail of 1 billion tuman (62,000 euros; 81,000 USD) each.
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One Bahai on trial in Semnan

HRANA, June 14

Afrasayab Sobhani ( افراسیاب سبحانی ), a Bahai from Semnan who was arrested on May 14 following a search of his home and business, has been tried in the Revolutionary Court on charges of propaganda against the system and membership of the Bahai administration. He has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest. He has already served five years in prison for his beliefs, in the 1980’s. He is the 23rd Bahai to be tried for Bahai religious beliefs in Semnan in the past 3 years.

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Five Bahais released from prison in Shiraz and Mashhad

PCED, June 13

On June 12, Afshin Ehsani and Farham Ma`sumi ( افشین احسنیان و فرهام معصومی ) were released from prison in Shiraz after completing their 10-month sentences. On June 13, three Bahais were released Vakilabad prison in Mashhad after completing two-year sentences. Their names are Nasrin Qadiri, Sima Rajabiyan and Kaviz Nuzdehi ( نسرین قدیری و سیما رجبیان و کاویز نوزدهی ).
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Abdolfattah Soltani sentenced to 13 years

Radio Free Europe, June 13

The review court in Tehran has reduced the sentence of Abdolfattah Soltani, a leading human rights lawyer in Iran, to 13 years. He was originally sentenced to 18 years in prison. He defended Bahais in a number of cases, including that of the seven Yaran and volunteers at the Bahai Open University (Baha’i Institute for Higher Education).
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Keyvan Kerami released from prison

PCED, June 11

Keyvan Kerami ( کیوان کرمی ), a Bahai prisoner in Shiraz, was free on May 28, at the end of a 10-month sentence, He began his sentence on November 30, 2011, initially in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Centre 100. He suffered from severe kidney stones while in prison, but was not given furlough during his sentence.
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`Adel Fana’ayan begins another prison term

HRANA, June 11

`Adel Fana’ayan ( عادل فناییان ), a Bahai resident of Semnan was arrested on June 10, and taken to Semnan’s central prison to begin serving a 6-year sentence for “propaganda against the regime” and “actions against national security.” This is the sixth time he has been imprisoned since the 1979 revolution. On several occasions, the businesses he was operating in Semnan have been closed by authorities.
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Two Bahai businesses closed in Semnan

HRANA, June 12

On May 27, a vertical blinds factory belonging to Fariborz Wahdat-Sho`ar ( فریبرز وحدت شعار ), and a lens-making shop belonging to Afrasayab Khanjani ( افراسیاب خانجانی ), both Bahais living in Semnan, were shut down by the authorities. No clear reason has been given, but it is likely they were shut down because they have closed for the day on a Bahai Holy Day. The two businesses together employed at least 70 workers, of whom 14 were Bahais. They are now out of work. In recent months, 14 shops and workshops belonging to Bahais have been closed, or had their operating licences withdrawn, in Semnan alone, leaving some 50 Bahais (and an unspecified number of other Iranians) out of work.
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Seven Bahais questioned in Semnan

HRANA, June 12

Seven Bahais living in Semnan province have been summoned, in telephone calls, to go to the Ministry of Intelligence in Semnan. When they answered the summons, they were interrogated from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. The questions were mainly about Bahai administration and a “virtues” class for 10-year old children.

The Bahais who were summoned are
– Behdokht Khanjani ( بهدخت خانجانی ) who is the sister of Behfar Khanjani ( بهفر خانجانی ), and the wife of `Ali Ehsani ( علی احسانی ), who are both imprisoned in Semnan.
– Shamil Pirasteh ( شمیل پیراسته ), the husband of Behfar Khanjani.
– Mahvash Sobhani ( مهوش سبحانی )
– Shahdokht Khanjani ( شهدخت خانجانی )
– Elham Ma`ani ( الهام معانی )
-Amelia Rashidi ( املیا رشیدی )
– Tanaz Firuzeyan ( طناز فیروزیان ), who is 18 years old.
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Another Bahai arrested in Sari

HRANA, June 10

On June 9, at 7.30 in the morning, five agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in
Sari province arrested Faran Khan Yaghma ( فاران خوان یغما ) at his home. It is not known where he is being held. The agents searched his home and seized religious books and images and a computer, cursing and insulting the Bahai Faith while doing so. When Mr Khan Yaghma, Faran’s 60-year old father, wished to enter the agents blocked his way and they only allowed him through when he insisted that he was the head of the family. Then one of them cursed him, and they slapped him around and lifted him by
hands and feet, threw him in the kitchen and blocked the exit.

In 2006, when Faran Khan Yaghma had completed the sixth semester of a degree in pure mathematics at the University of Babolsar, he was expelled from the university because of his religious beliefs.
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Bahai student expelled at Kherameh campus of Payam-e Nour University

PCED, June 9

Sepideh Vaziri-Porhaqiqi ( سپیده وزیری پور حقیقی ), a Bahai in the second semester of a course in Industrial Engineering at the Kherameh campus of Payam-e Nour University (in Fars province), has been expelled from the University because of her religious beliefs. The security staff at the university have denied her access to the university since May 22, and her name has been removed from the university rolls, and her student card has been cancelled. Further enquires about the reason for her expulsion have remained unanswered. She was told that she has never been enrolled at the university.
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Vahdat Dana transfered to Ministry of Intelligence custody

HRANA, June 7

Vahdat Dana ( وحدت دانا ), one of four Bahais from Shiraz who are serving 10-month sentences in Pir Banu prison, was transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence facility known as Unit 100, although his parole had recently been approved by the prison’s Director and Board. The reasons for this are not clear. He has served 8 months of his sentence, and suffers from a heart condition. Recently he has suffered from physical weakness and pain as well.
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Holy Day celebration raided in Tenakbon: one arrest

PCED, June 8

Sa`id Azimi ( سعید عظیمی ), a Bahai was arrested in the early hours of May 29, and has been taken to Tenakbon prison. Security forces had gone to the home of Muhammad `Ali Ahrari ( محمدعلی احراری ), in the town of Nashtarud on the Caspian coast, where seven Bahais had gathered to commemorate the passing of Baha’u’llah in 1892. The agents said that the prayer meeting was illegal. They arrested Mr. Azimi and made the others sign promises not to participate in Bahai activities. Two of those present refused to sign, and were later summoned to the office of the Ministry of Information in the town.

During the last three years, Mr. Gholami, Head of the Intelligence Ministry in Tenakbon, has been pressuring, threatening and arresting Bahais in towns such as Ramsar, Tenakbon, Mashtarud, `Abbas Abad, Salman Shahr, Chalus and Nowshahr on the grounds that “religious rituals and religious ceremonies such as the nineteen-day feast” are forbidden, although these spiritual meetings are personal matters, separate from the formal Bahai administration, which has been disbanded in Iran.
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Siamak Iqani’s health deteriorates

Khabar Navard, June 3

Siamak Iqani ( سیامک ایقانی ) is a Bahai serving a 3-year sentence in Semnan prison. His sentence began on November 6, 2009. From the beginning of his sentence he has suffered severe respiratory problems due to the unfavourable conditions in prison, and his transfer to a section for prisoners who smoke and addicts. For the past 3 months he has also been suffering from rheumatism, because of the conditions in the prison. Despite his illness and the pain he suffers, prison authorities will not allow him a furlough. He has two children, aged 9 and 3, and his wife Anisa Fana’ayan ( انیسا فناییان ) has also been sentenced to imprisonment, for four years and 4 months. [The sentence was announced in late May, and so far as I know, she has not yet been summoned to prison. ~ Sen]
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Wahed Khuloosi sentenced: 5 years

HRANA, June 6

Wahed Khuloosi ( واحد خلوصی ), a Bahai student who has been excluded from higher education, has been sentenced in a Tehran court to five years in prison. His lawyer was notified of the sentence on June 6. The charges were “meeting and collusion with the intent to commit acts against national security,” “membership of the Bahai community, effective action in it, and widespread teaching of the Bahai Faith; membership of the Committee for the Right of Education, links to the Committee of Human Rights Activists in Iran, and participation in propaganda against the regime.”
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Riaz Sobhani refused medical leave

International Campaign for Human Rights, June 1

66-year old Riaz Sobhani, currently in prison for financially assisting the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), was refused medical leave after his recent heart surgery. His son, Naim Sobhani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his father was transferred to the hospital for his surgery in chains.

Naim Sobhani told the Campaign that two days after his surgery, his father was transferred back to Rajaee Shahr prison on 27 May, after being denied medical furlough.

Full story (in English)
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One Bahai arrested in Birjand

HRANA, June 1

Shahram Mokhtari ( شهرام مختاری ), a Bahai from Birjand (South Khorasan) was arrested on April 24. He was held in temporary detention by the Ministry of Intelligence in Birjand for one month, and then transferred to the quarantine wing in Birjand prison. His family has still had no clear indication from officials of what charges he may face. Initially it was said that the reasons for his arrest were a complaint laid against him by another individual, and teaching the Bahai Faith. Later the main charge was said to be “propaganda against the regime,” and more recently his wife has been told that the original complaint was one laid by the Ministry of Intelligence. The quarantine wing of the prison is one normally used to hold prisoners for up to 48 hours before they enter the general wing of the prison. It has no sanitation facilities, and no provision for eating and sleeping. Another Bahai, the 85-year-old Muhammad Hussein Nakh`i ( محمد حسین نخعی ), is being held in the general wing of the same prison.

Update, June 6: HRANA reports that Mr. Mohktari is still being held in the quarantine wing. He has now spent more than one month living in a space that is not designed for long-term detention, since it has no sleeping, washing or eating facilities.
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Omid Firuzeyan’s sentence announced

Khabar Navard, May 28

Omid Firuzeyan ( امید فیروزیان ), a Bahai resident of Semnan, has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison. He was arrested in January 2012, was held for two months before being released on bail, and was tried on May 6. He was found guilty of propaganda against the regime, membership in groups (meaning, participation in non-Shia religious activities), and the intention to undermine national security.
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Zhinous Nourani and Roufiya Bidaqi begin serving their sentences

HRANA, May 30

Zhinous Nourani and Roufiya Bidaqi ( ژینوس نورانی و روفیا بیدقی ), Bahai residents of Semnan province, began serving their one-year sentences on May 27. Their sentences had been confirmed by the review court, and they were summoned and arrested. They are being held in the general women’s block of Semnan prison, where conditions are poor as more than 90% of the prisoners are serving terms related to drug use, and the facilities are crowded, with more than 70 prisoners in one room.
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Review court confirms 5-year sentences for Noura Nabilzadeh and Sonya Ahmadi

HRANA, May 29

The review court for the province of Khurasan has confirmed the 5-year sentences imposed on Noura Nabilzadeh and Sonya Ahmadi ( نورا نبیل زاده و سونیا احمدی ), two Bahai women from Mashhad. They were charged with teaching the Bahai Faith and membership of the Bahai community. It is notable that the sentence was announced to the enforcement authorities, without informing the two women’s lawyer.
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Sadaf Thabetayan begins her sentence

PCED, May 28

Sadaf Thabetayan ( صدف ثابتیان ), one of the Bahais arrested in the raids targetting the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), was arrested in Tehran on May 27, and taken to Evin prison to begin serving her two-year sentence. She is reported to have been arrested at the airport, as she was leaving for a holiday abroad. She had not been banned from travel, and was not due to begin her sentence until June 12.

Sadaf Thabetayan is from Sari, and was arrested there, along with two other Bahais, in June 2009, but was later moved to Tehran. She has been free on bail since June 2011.
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Puya Tabiyaniyan sentenced: six years and six months

HRANA, May 28

Puya Tabiyaniyan ( پویتبیانیانا ), a Bahai resident of Semnan, has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison. The sentence was apparently handed down in April, 2012. He was one of a number of Bahais arrrested in Semnan in February 2011, and was freed on bail after one month in prison. He has been imprisoned for his faith previously. In the winter of 2008-9 he was arrested, and sentenced to two years in prison. He was released after serving 14 months in prison.
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One arrest in Isfahan

HRANA, May 28

`Atefeh Anvari ( عاطفه انوری ), a Bahai resident of Isfahan was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 10. He was arrested outside his house at 7.30 in the morning. They searched the house and confiscated religious books and a telephone, and other personal effects. They told his family that he would be released on the same day, once he had answered some questions. But 24 hours later, it emerged that he had been taken to Dastgard prison in Isfahan. His family made further enquiries, and the revolutionary court in Isfahan said that it had no knowledge of his case. However on May 27 his family received permission to visit him.
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Two arrests in Bandar Abbas

PCED, May 27

On the morning of May 26, security officials arrested Mehnaz Jan-tasar and Basimeh Aqaqi ( مهناز جان تثار و بسیمه آفاقی ), two Bahai women living in Bandar Abbas. The officers searched their home, confiscated some personal possessions, and took them away. It is not known where they are being held, or what the charges may be.
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Entire Christian congregation arrested in Karaj

HRANA, May 27

Yesterday (a Saturday), security forces in Karaj raided a meeting of one of the congregations of the “Church in Iran” ( کلیسای ایران ) and insulted, beat and arrested those present. A church spokesperson said “before they arrested those who were present, the agents terrorized them and forced them to confess, in front of the agents’ cameras, that they had links to Zionist organisations and supported the policies of the Israeli government. Christian churches in Karaj have been subjected to harassment by security forces, arrests and economic discrimination for the past several years.
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Bahais among asylum seekers on hunger strike in Denmark

DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation), May 25

Eleven Iranian asylum seekers moved into the St Stephen’s Church in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, recently and are on hunger strike to draw attention to their unhappy situation. The Iranians, who are aged between 20 and 35, have been living in Danish asylum centres for years and are afraid of being sent back to Iran. Four of the eleven are Christian, two are Bahais and the other five are Muslims. The church’s web site indicates that several were tortured in Iran, and one of them has had mental health problems in Denmark because of the fear of being sent home.

The church council and clergy recently met to discuss the situation, but were unable to come to a decision. “It is a completely new situation, and we need more time to consider what to do and to take advice,” Ivan Larsen told DR. They will be allowed to remain in the church for the time being.

Full story (in English)
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Bahai man aged 85 arrested (updated)

Khabar Navard, May 16

At noon on May 14, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in South Khorasan province, acting without a warrant, searched the home of Muhammad Hussein Nakh`i ( محمد حسین نخعی ) in the small town of Khusf. They seized some Bahai books, an album of family photographs and a telephone book, and took Mr. Nakh`i for questioning. He was later arrested. Mr. Nakh`i is 85 years old, and his wife is 88 years old. He has already served five years in prison for being a Bahai, following the 1979 revolution in Iran.

Update, May 25: HRANA reports that his family have still not received any official word or explanation about him, although he has now been detained for 10 days. However the judicial authorities have indicated that the case is serious and his detention will be prolonged. His family have approached various lawyers, but no lawyer in the district is willing to represent Mr. Nakh`i, in view of the consequences suffered by lawyers who have in the past agreed to represent Bahai clients.
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Yekta Fahandezh expelled from university in Shiraz

PCED, May 22

Yekta Fahandezh ( یکتا فهندژ ), a Bahai student in the seventh semester of a degree in English language and literature, has been expelled from Payam Noor University in Shiraz because of her religious beliefs. Her inquiries about this have not been answered. An official in the university’s security office said they were required to say nothing at all about the expulsion, or provide her with any evidence at all that she had been expelled,but “You know that your problem is your religious beliefs.” In recent years, the Ministry of Intelligence has been identifying Bahai students, and pressuring the universities and the monitoring organisation, to ensure that Bahai students are expelled. [A Bahai by the name of Yekta Fahandezh was among the eleven Bahais arrested in Shiraz in early February. It is not certain that this is the same person.]
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Anisa Fana’ayan sentenced: 4 years and 4 months

HRANA, May 20

Anisa Fana’ayan ( انیسا فناییان ), a Bahai resident of Semnan, has been sentenced to 4 years and 4 months in prison, on a charge of adhering to, and propagating, the Bahai Faith. She was tried on April 9. Her husband Siamak Iqani ( سیامک ایقانی ) is serving a 3-year sentence in Semnan prison. The couple’s business has also been closed down. They have two children, aged 2 and 7. Anisa Fana’ayan’s mother, Sahba Rezvani(صهبا رضوانی) was recently released from Evin prison, having served a three-year sentence. Muhammad Hussein Nakh`i ( محمد حسین نخعی ), an 85-year old Bahai who was arrested on May 14, is Mrs. Rezvani’s uncle.
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More arrests in Najafabad, Isfahan province

HRANA, May 19

On May 15, six agents from the Ministry of Intelligence searched a Bahai home in Najafabad, close to the city of Isfahan, and after a brief interrogation of those who were present, detained four Bahais, a Muslim man and his wife and two children. All were taken to Dastgerd prison (Dastgerd is a town near Isfahan). The names of the four Bahais are given as Behram Fardowsian, Mona Pir-`Ali, Sho`eleh Afshari and `Azim Tabibi ( بهرام فردوسیان، منا پیرعلی، شعله افشاری و اعظم طبیبی ). While the house was being searched, another Bahai man, Arash Haqiqi ( آرش حقیقی ) arrived at the house. The agents asked him to sign a list of the items being confiscated, and subjected him to blows and curses when he refused.
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Total of seven sentenced in Bam child care case

PCED, May 18

Saman Astuvari, `Ali Divsalar, Sahar Beyram Abadi, Sara Hajj-Abrahimi and Nahale Shahidi ( سامان استوار، علی دیو سالار، سحر بیرم آبادی، سارا حاج ابراهیمی و نهاله شهیدی ), all Bahais involved in care of underpriviledged children, have been sentenced to two years imprisonment and a two-year suspended sentence, while Nayusha Badi`i Thabet, Shamis Nourani and Soulemaz Qasemi( نیوشا بدیع ثابت، شمیس نورانی و سولماز قاسمی ) have been sentenced to one year in prison and a one-year suspended sentence. All are child care workers, who were charged with undermining national security by teaching the Bahai Faith. It is notable that `Ali Divsalar and Sara Hajj-Abrahimi are not themselves Bahais, but were active in an organisation providing care and education to underprivileged children in Bam. The others were active in providing pre-school education for children in the villages around Bam, following the earthquake.

This report updates the earlier report of the sentences handed out to Saman Astuvari, Nahale Shahidi and Sahar Beyram Abadi.
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Two more freed on bail in Mashhad handicrafts case

Bahai News Service (Persian), May 9

Negin Ahmadiyan and Houriyyeh Mohsani, ( نگین احمدیان و حوریه نعمتی ), two of the Bahais arrested in Mashhad in relation to a handicrafts exhibition. were freed on bail on April 4 and April 8.
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Bahai man aged 85 arrested

Khabar Navard, May 16

At noon on May 14, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in South Khorasan province, acting without a warrant, searched the home of Muhammad Hussein Nakh`i ( محمد حسین نخعی ) in the small town of Khusf. They seized some Bahai books, an album of family photographs and a telephone book, and took Mr. Nakh`i for questioning. He was later arrested. Mr. Nakh`i is 85 years old, and his wife is 88 years old. He has already served five years in prison for being a Bahai, following the 1979 revolution in Iran.
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Three Bahais in Kerman sentenced for work on behalf of children

HRANA, May 16

Saman Astuvari, Nahale Shahidi and Sahar Beyram Abadi (سامان استوار، نهاله شهیدی و سحر بیرم آبادی ) have been sentenced by the revolutionary court in Kerman to two years in prison and a one-year suspended sentence. The sentences must still be confirmed by the provincial review court. The charges against them are said to include teaching the Bahai Faith through humanitarian activities. Sahar Beyram Abadi and Nahale Shahidi were arrested in Kerman on March 5, 2011, and Mr. Saman Astuvari was arrested there on March 2. He was the Director of a pre-school in Bam. Sahar Beyram Abadi, a resident of Tehran, was working with the pre-school.
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Riaz Sobhani transferred to a Tehran hospital

Khabar Navard, May 14

Riaz Sobhani ( ریاض سبحانی ), one of the imprisoned teachers from the Bahai Open University (BIHE) was transferred to a hospital in Tehran on May 13, at the request of the official doctor for Tehran province. He was being held at Raja’i Shahr prison.
He was transferred in handcuffs and shackles, although he suffers from heart disease, a lung disease and stomach bleeding, and the official doctor has repeatedly stated that he is not fit to serve his sentence. He has served one year of a 4 year sentence.
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Sarir Sadeqi transferred to Shiraz

HRANA, May 15

Sarir Sadeqi ( سریر صادقی ), a Bahai resident of Karaj who was arrested in his home on April 8, has been transferred from the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention centre to the central prison in Shiraz. He suffered serious mistreatment at the hands of the Ministry of Intelligence. Thus far, the authorities have refused to give his family any answers as to the reasons for his detention, although it is said to be related to the arrests of Bahais in Shiraz in February 2012.
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Two more Bahais arrested in Semnan, one free on bail

HRANA and PCED, May 14

[updated 16.15 GMT]
Akbar Pourhosseini and Afrasayab Sobhani (اکبر پورحسینی و افراسیاب سبحانی), two Bahai men living in Semnan, were arrested by security forces on May 14. The agents searched their homes and seized some personal possessions, before taking them to their businesses and conducting a search there. It is not known where they are being held, or what the accusation may be. Their homes had been searched by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence previously, December 15, 2008, when some 20 Bahais homes in Semnan were searched.

`Erfan Ehsani (عرفان احسانی), who was arrested in Semnan on April 20 was released on bail on May 4. The bail was set at 50 million tumans (31,000 euros; 40,000 USD).
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Kamran Rahimian’s sentence confirmed

PCED, May 13

The review court in Tehran has confirmed the four-year sentence of Kamran Rahimian (کامران رحیمیان), one of the teachers at the Bahai Open University (BIHE). He was sentenced On February 14, on charges of membership of the Bahai community and colluding to undermine national security, and is being held in Raja’i Shah prison. His wife Faran Hesami (فاران حسامی) has also been sentenced to four years, and the sentence is still pending review. She was freed on bail on November 28, 2011.

Source (in Persian)
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Omid Firuzeyan tried in Semnan

HRANA, May 8

Omid Firuzeyan ( امید فیروزیان ), a Bahai resident of Semnan, was tried on May 6. He was found guilty of propaganda against the regime, membership in groups (meaning, participation in non-Shia religious activities), and the intention to undermine national security. The sentence is to be announced soon. Mr. Firuzeyan was arrested in summer last year, and held for two months before being released on bail. A large number of Bahais have been tried in Semnan in recent months, some receiving sentences of as much as seven years.

Source (in Persian)
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Four Bahai prisoners in Semnan interrogated again

HRANA, May 8

Four Bahais who are serving prison sentences in Semnan have been interrogated again, for several hours. Afshin Iqani, Siamak Iqani, Behfar Khanjani and `Ali Ehsani ( افشین ایقانی، سیامک ایقانی، بهفر خانجانی و علی احسانی ) were transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence on May 6, and returned to Semnan prison after their interrogation. All have served more than one year year in prison: it is not clear what the purpose of an interrogation could be. Behfar Khanjani and Afshin Iqani have been sentenced to four years and three months, Siamak Iqani to three years, and `Ali Ehsani to two years in prison.

Source (in Persian)
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No news of the Moti`i brothers

HRANA, May 6

Anis and Soroush Moti`i ( انیس و سروش مطیعی ) were arrested in Qaemshahr on April 18 and later transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence jail in Sari. There has been no further news of them, but in recent days the Ministry of Intelligence has been pressuring the Muslim associates of the two brothers. One of the three employees in Anis Moti`i’s album binding workshop has been required to lay a private complaint against Mr. Moti`i, although the employees had not previously had any complaints about their work.

Source (in Persian)
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Charges against Isfahan Christians include contact with Bahais

Farsi Christian News Network,

Pastor Hekmat Salimi and nine other Christians have been freed on bail in Isfahan, after 70 days in detention, and the accusations they will face in their trial are now known. The charges against Pastor Salimi include preaching the Gospel, printing books without permission (a likely reference to the seizure of a large number of Bibles by security forces) and explaining the meaning of baptism. Mr. Mitham Hojjati ( میثم حجتی ) has been charged with participation in a house church, distributing bibles, and contacts with Bahais. Mrs. Shahnaz Tahrifi ( شهناز ظریفی ) has also been charged with preaching the Gospel, participating in Christian conferences, having contact with Pastor Reza Safa ( رضا صفا ), “a Christian missionary outside the country.” Such charges are new, and significant as an indication of how the Iranian regime expects minorities within the country to behave. The activities mentioned in the charges(except for printing books without permission) are not against the written law in Iran.

Full story(in Persian)
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Three Bahais bailed in Mashhad

Bahai News Service (Persian)

In a report dated April 12, but posted this morning, the Bahai News Service reports that Mr. Azatollah Ahmadiyan ( عزّت الله احمدیان ), Mrs. Shahzadeh Khalili ( شهرزاد خلیلی ) and Mr. Gholam-Husayn Mokhtari ( غلام حسین مختاری ), three Bahai residents of Mashhad have been released from prison after posting bail of 100 million tumans each (62,000 euros; 81,000 USD).

Source (in Persian)
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Trial of 189 Sufis begins

HRANA, May 5

On May 3, the trial began for 189 of the 213 members of the Gonabadi Nematollahi order, who were arrested in a wave of raids on Sufi “Husayn houses” in various cities. They were all summoned to Borojourd for the trial, which is scheduled to last for 10 days with 18 to 20 cases being heard each day. The first group of 17, from the city of Kavar, are accused of “war against God” (9 cases) and carrying weapons without a permit (8 cases). There was disorder in Kavar in 2011, when a seminary student distributed materials inciting the Basij militia to attack the Gonabadis, which they did.

On May 15, the trial of seven of the lawyers who have defended Gonabadi Sufis will begin in Tehran. The seven were associated with a Gonabadi web site, Majzuban Nur. In recent years, Iranian authorities have demolished several Sufi “Husyan houses” in Qom, Isfahan and other cities.

Source (in Persian)
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Sama Nourani excluded from open university

PCED, May 5

Officials of the Payam Nour University, a state-controlled distance learning university active throughout Iran, have refused to enroll Sama Nourani ( سما نورانی ), a Bahai student serving a sentence of one year in Evin Prison in Tehran. Last year he completed the necessary entrance exams for a course in electrical engineering, but the university officials refuse to enroll him because he is regarded as absent without leave from military service. In Iranian law, being in prison is one of the circumstances under which absence from military service is permitted.

Sama Nourani was accepted for a course in medical engineering at Sahand University in Tabriz in October 2008, but was expelled after three semesters because of his Bahai beliefs. At that time, his name was sent to the authorities responsible for granting exemption from military service. He was arrested on March 2, 2010, along with Navid Khanjani and Iqan Shahidi.

Source (in Persian)
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Qaemshahr: Sahel Miri accused of marrying and converting a Muslim girl

HRANA, May 4

On April 19 I reported that six Bahais had been arrested in Qaemshahr. Among them were a young couple, Sahel Miri ( راحله معصومی ) and Raheleh Ma`sumi ( راحله معصومی ), who were arrested on April 18 following a search of their home. The office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Qaemshahr has prevented Raheleh being released on bail, although family members have twice offered to post the bail. She is pregnant, and is being held in Qaemshahr jail. It appears that the main charge against her husband is that he married a Muslim girl (Sahel) and caused her to change her religion. Because the accusation has been denied, the Ministry of Intelligence agents have pressured the parents of Raheleh to lay a complaint of Bahai conversion activities against their son-in-law. [ The accusation is an emotionally charged one, as well there being a law in Iran against non-Muslim men marrying Muslim women. Please remember this couple and their families in your prayers. ]

Source (in Persian)
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One Bahai student expelled from Isfahan University

PCED, May 3

Puya Muhammadi-Dehaj ( پویا محمدی دهج ), a student of orthodontics at the University of Isfahan, has been expelled because of her religious beliefs. From enquiries made by her family it appears that her expulsions was initiated by the University’s security office, and the case was taken out of the hands of the Isfahan Department of Eduction.

Source (in Persian)
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Nine Bahais bailed in Shiraz

HRANA, May 1

Nine Bahais who were arrested in Shiraz have been freed on bail. They paid 100 million tuman (62,000 euros; 81,000 USD) each. Their names are given as Mezhdeh Falah, Eyman Rahmat-Penah, Mazhgan `Amadi, Farshid Yazdani, Sam Jaberi, Yekta Fahandezh, Sina Sarikhani, Kambiz Habibi and Kavus Samimi ( مژده فلاح، ایمان رحمت پناه، مژگان عمادی، فرشید یزدانی، سام جابری، یکتا فهندژ، کامبیز حبیبی، کاووس صمیمی، سینا ساریخانی ). All but the last two have been detained for three months. Kambiz Habibi and Kavus Samimi have been detained since mid-March.

Source (in Persian)
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BIC statement on Youth and Adolescents

Bahai International Community, April 23

The Baha’i International Community, which represents the Bahai community at the United Nations, the European Union and in numerous coalitions of NGOs, and seeks to defend the rights of Bahais who are persecuted for their faith, has submitted a statement to the Commission on Population and Development at its forty-fifth session, on the theme of adolescents and youth. It emphasises the participation of youth in society, and education designed to release their latent potential. The statement has been entitled “Education in the service of community.” It argues for educational methods that combat passivity and promote an independent way of thinking, studying and acting. “Access to knowledge is the right of every human being. The responsibility to generate new knowledge and apply it in socially beneficial ways rests on the shoulders of every young person.” Employment and the education of girls, and their later participation as women in all spheres of life, are other important themes.

My documents archive contains :
– the English Statement in Word format (with the footnotes)
Documents in PDF format (all with the footnotes missing)
English (original)
Russian
Spanish
French
Arabic
Chinese
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Two Bahai women in Semnan tried

HRANA, April 26

Shohreh A`zami-Kasa’i (( شهره اعظمی (کسایی), a Bahai from Semnan who was arrested last year and released on bail, has been tried and sentenced to five years in prison on the charge of membership of the Bahai community. Another Bahai from Semnan, Anisa Fana’ayan ( انیسا فناییان ) was tried on April 9, and is waiting to hear her sentence. In November 2011 she was arrested and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence for 15 days although she had young children, aged 2 and 7, and her husband Siamak Iqani ( سیامک ایقانی ) is serving a 3-year sentence in Semnan prison. She is the eleventh Bahai woman in Semnan to be tried in the past three years. The sentences for the other Bahai women have ranged from one to seven years.

Source (in Persian)
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Another Bahai business closed in Semnan

HRANA, April 25

On April 18, local officials in Semnan cancelled the business license of Farhad Fana’ayan ( فرهاد فناییان ), to distribute toiletries. His toiletries shop was closed by authorities on October 26, 2011. Almost six months after that closure, the local authorities cancelled the shop license, without giving any specific reason, and told him that he would not receive any other license to distribute or retail toiletries in Semnan. Economic discrimination against Bahais in Semnan has been stepped up in recent months.

Source (in Persian)
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`Erfan Ehsani arrested again in Sangesar

Khabar Navard, April 23

`Erfan Ehsani ( عرفان احسانی ), a Bahai of Sangesar in Iran’s Semnan province, was arrested again on April 21 (the “first day of Ridvan,” a Bahai Holy Day). Members of the security forces, bearing a hand-written and invalid warrant, searched his home and arrested him. His wife, Taraneh Torabi ( ترانه ترابی ) is 7 months pregnant, and was herself detained and interrogated for 21 days in February, 2011, and eventually sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison.

Between December 24 and 29, 2011, Erfan Ehsani was summoned several times to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence, by telephone. His request to the authorities for a written and valid summons was answered with insults to himself and his family. His complaint about the invalid procedure, addressed to the court in Semnan, was rejected by the court which endorsed the verbal summons. When he responded to the summons, he was arrested, on December 31. [The report does not indicate how long he was detained on that occasion.]

Source (in Persian)
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Ridvan message, 2012

The “Ridvan message” for 2011 is now available in English (click here). A Persian translation is available here.

This message of the Universal House of Justice, addressed to the Bahais of the world, is released every year at the beginning of the festival of Ridvan, when Bahais celebrate the twelve days that Baha’u’llah spent in the garden of Ridvan, on the outskirts of Baghdad, in 1863. The Ottoman government had summoned him from Baghdad to Istanbul and, since many visitors wished to say farewell to him, he moved to the garden to receive them, so that his family could complete the packing and preparations at his house in the city.

The message has an important role in setting the focus and tone of Bahai activities around the world in the following year, and is sometimes used to announce significant developments. In this case, it’s electrifying: it announces plans for building two major Houses of Worship, in Congo and in Papua New Guinea, and a number of smaller Houses of Worship Battambang (Cambodia), Bihar Sharif (India), Matunda Soy (Kenya), Norte del Cauca (Colombia), and Tanna (Vanuatu), and the establishment of a fund at the World Centre for all the Mashriqu’l-Adhkars in the world.

Translations are available in
Persian/فارسی,
Arabic/العربية,
French/Français and
Spanish/Español.
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Bahai student expelled from Kerman Medical University

HRANA, April 19

Elhan Mehrebani-Yazdi (الحان مهرابی یزدی), a Bahai undergraduate student at the Kerman Medical University, has been expelled. She had one term of theory, and one term of internship to complete for her degree. She was shown part of a letter in which the reason given was her adherence to the Bahai Faith.

Source (in Persian)
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Six Bahais arrested in Qaemshahr

HRANA, April 19

On April 12, security forces searched the home of Faranak Heyrani-Derakhshan ( فرانک حیرانی ) in Qaemshahr, confiscating a computer and religious books and cassette tapes, and arrested her. On the previous day, she had been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence and interrogated for some hours before being released and told to report again the following day. She was taken to the Shahid Kuchui prison in Sari, but transferred the following day to prison in Qaemshahr.

On April 15, security forces searched the home of Mehnam Derakhshan ( مهنام درخشان ) in Tenakabon, on the Caspian Coast, seizing some personal effects and religious items, and arrested her. It is not known where she is being held.

On April 18, Intelligence agents and officers from the local government — some 30 officers in all — searched the album-binding workshop of Anis Moti`i ( انیس مطیعی ) in Qaemshahr. Because Mr. Moti`i was able to produce a license to operate, they had no excuse to close the business, and had to be satisfied with a search. They arrested Mr. Moti`i on the grounds that a private individual had complained about him.

The officers then went to the home of Mr. Moti`i’s father, the owner of the business. They searched it, and confiscated religious books and images. Soroush Moti`i ( سروش مطیعی ) — apparently a brother of Anis Moti`i — was also arrested, and another
brother, Amir Moti`i ( امیر مطیعی ) was severely beaten and abused because he asked to see a search warrant.

As previously report, Sahel Miri and his wife Raheleh ( ساحل و راحله میری ) were arrested at their home in Qaemshahr on the same day. Security forces searched their home, seizing a computer and religious books and took them away. Raheleh is pregnant. The couple’s whereabouts is still unknown.

Source (in Persian)
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Sarir Sadeqi under pressure in Shiraz detention centre

PCED, April 19

Sarir Sadeqi ( سریر صادقی ), a Bahai resident of Karaj, was arrested in his home on April 8, and has been transferred to Detention Centre 100 in Shiraz. He was arrested on the order of the Prosecutor of Shiraz, and it was said at the time that his arrest was connected to the arrest of 14 Bahais in Shiraz on February 3. Relatives have said he is now under psychological pressure, and suffering from breathing difficulties and heart palpitations, to the extent that he has difficulty in talking and the prison doctor has prescribed medication.

Source (in Persian)
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Another arrest, and beating by security forces, in Qaemshahr

Khabar Navard, April 18

Anis Moti`i ( انیس مطیعی ), another Bahai resident of Qaemshahr, was arrested this morning. It is not known where he is being held. His brother Amin ( امین مطیعی ) was also beaten and abused by the security forces.

Source (in Persian)
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Two arrested in Qaemshahr

Khabar Navard, April 18

Sahel Miri and his wife Raheleh ( ساحل و راحله میری ) were arrested at their home in Qaemshahr this morning. Security forces searched their home, and took them away. Raheleh is pregnant. The couple’s whereabouts is still unknown.

Source (in Persian)
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Daniel Ouji summoned to prison

HRANA, April 18

Daniel Ouji ( دانیال اوجی ), who was a student of computer studies at the Bahai Open University (BIHE) until the authorities closed it and arrested many of its teachers, has been summoned to Evin Prison in Tehran. On May 22, 2011, he was stopped by unidentified persons while leaving his home, taken to an unofficial ‘jail,’ tortured, and detained for three days. His torturers burned him with cigarettes, used thorns, and hung him upside down and abused and beat him. No judicial documents (such as a detention order) were shown to him. [Since he has been summoned to Evin prison, not to a court, it appears that his abduction and torture was in fact a trial, and he has been sentenced as a result ~ Sen]

Source (in Persian)
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Two Bahai prisoners in Shiraz moved to a more stringent wing

HRANA, April 16

Eyman Rahmat-Penah and Sina Sarikhani ( ایمان رحمت پناه و سینا ساریخانی ), two of ten Bahais who have been detained in Shiraz for more than two months, have been transferred to the wing with the harshest conditions, after disobeying an order from the prison’s prayer leader that Bahais should not talk with non-Bahai prisoners or share a table with them. Following several warnings from the prayer leader, backed up by the prison’s administrative officers, that the Bahais were not to have any sort of interaction with ordinary prisoners, they were moved yesterday to wings 10 and 11 of Adel Abad prison. These wings are all used to hold prisoners with serious contagious diseases.

Source (in Persian)
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Concern about Sam Jaberi’s health in prison

HRANA, April 16

Sam Jaberi ( سام جابری ), one of the Bahai prisoners in Adel Abad prison in Shiraz, is in poor physical health, but prison officials have not taken steps to allow him to be treated. Following numerous messages from his family regarding his physical health, and a letter from a doctor stressing the importance of rapid treatment, and a letter from a solicitor requesting that he be transferred to hospital, the judge has refused to order the move. He is suffering from back pains, respiratory problems and high blood pressure.

Source (in Persian)
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Rasekhi family moved to jail’s general wing

HRANA, April 16

Bakhtiyar Rasekhi (بختیار راسخی) and his wife and daughter, Farhnaz Na`imi and Farin Rahimi ( فرحناز نعیمی و فرین رحیمی ) were among those detained on January 5 when agents from the security forces raided a home where the Bahais were marking the day of Iranian Youth. Now, after 89 days in detention, Mr. Rasekhi has been transferred to the men’s section of the general wing of Shahab Prison in Kerman, and his wife and daughter to general detention in the women’s section of the same prison.

Source (in Persian)
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Shahram Chiniyan transferred to Raja’i Shahr prison

HRANA, April 15

Shahram Chiniyan ( شهرام چینیان ), a Bahai resident of Hassan Abad in Tehran, who as previously reported was sentenced to 70 lashes and 8 years in prison, on a charge of insulting Islam, has been transferred from Evin prison in Tehran to Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, about 50 km west of Tehran. 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. He began serving his sentence at Evin early in March, 2012.

Source (in Persian)
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Two new arrests in Bojnourd

PCED, April 10

On April 7, Houshmand Sana’i ( هوشمند ثنایی ) and his wife, Bahais living in Bojnourd, were arrested at their home by security forces, who had a warrant to search the house and arrest them. Mrs. Sanaí was released after 8 hours. The couple’s three children have been barred from leaving the city. Mr. Sanaí has been arrested previously.

Source (in Persian)
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Increasing pressure on Shiraz prisoners

HRANA, April 9

In recent days, the pressure on Bahai prisoners in Shiraz, and therefore on their families, has increased noticeably. The prisoners have now been in temporary detention for more than two months, exceeding the period justified by a court order. On April 7, four of the prisoners, Kavus Samimi, Kambiz Habibi, Mazhgan `Amadi and Farshid Yazdani ( کاوس صمیمی، کامبیز حبیبی، مژگان عمادی و فرشید یزدانی ), were taken to detention centre 100 in Shiraz, and there has been no further news of them. The Bahai prisoners held in the general wing of the prison (not in solitary confinement) are not allowed to speak to other prisoners, or have any contact, and are threatened with consequences if they disobey. On April 9, their lawyer was told their detention would be extended by two months.

Source (in Persian)
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One Bahai arrested in Karaj

HRANA, April 9

Sarir Sadeqi ( سریر صادقی ), a Bahai resident of Karaj, was arrested in his home yesterday morning. His relatives said that the security forces had a warrant from the Public Prosecutor. It would appear that this arrest relates to the arrest of 14 Bahais in Shiraz on February 3.

Source (in Persian)

Update, April 13. PCED reports that he has been moved to Detention Centre 100 in Shiraz.
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