Sen's daily

July 15, 2019

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi acquitted again in Shiraz


HRANA, July 14, 2019. –

The Review Court for Fars Province has again acquitted Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, who had been sentenced last December to 11 years in prison by a Revolutionary Court, in a closed session.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. She was expelled from the Shiraz Payam Noor University in 2012, for her religious beliefs. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. She was released on bail and later charged with propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. She was given a five-year suspended sentence, but was later acquitted by the Court of Review.

However she was arrested again by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on March 16, 2014. The agents searched her home and seized books, a laptop and personal effects. She was transferred to Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz, and was detained for two months. On June 16, 2016 she was again tried and sentenced by Judge Doctor Sadati (دکتر ساداتی) to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “collusion.” A month later, while waiting to begin serving this 5-year sentence, she was arrested again, and held for over 80 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4. In December, 2016, the Court of Review in Shiraz reduced her 5-year sentence to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence. The Ministry of Intelligence was not satisfied, and renewed the charges, obtaining an eleven-year sentence from another revolutionary court 2 in Shiraz. This has now been overturned.

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

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July 13, 2019

Nilufar Hakimi and Elaheh Sami`zaadeh face new charges


Human Rights in Iran, July 12, 2019. –

Elaheh Sami`zaadeh (الهه سمیع زاده) and Nilufar Hakimi (نیلوفر حکیمی), Bahais from Shiraz who have been free on bail since October 12 and October 18, 2018, respectively, have been summoned to the Revolutionary Court in recent days. Nilufar Hakimi (left in the photo), summoned on on July 7, now faces an additional charge of blasphemy (“insulting sacred things”), and her bail has been increased by 80 million tumans (16,800 euros ; $US 19,000). She was originally arrested on October 6, 2018.

Elaheh Sami`zaadeh was summoned on July 11, and now faces an additional charge of forging a document, because she holds a degree from the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). Her bail was increased by 60 million tumans. Her original arrest also related to education. In November 2018 two educational institutes in Shiraz were shut down for employing Bahais to teach. They were originally described as childrens’ music schools, but in this report they are just “institutes.” The schools were not owned or run by Bahais, but Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) and Elaheh Sami`zaadeh taught there. This report says she was arrested in a class in psychology, taught by Navid Bazmaandegaan (نوید بازماندگان), another Bahai who was arrested on September 15 and bailed on October 23, 2018. But previous reports said that she was teaching music, and this report also says that the two Bahais were only teaching music to children. Both may be true: the institute was shut down for employing her as a music teacher, and she was arrested as one of the students in a psychology class taught by a Bahai — presumably at the same institute. Elaheh Sami`zaadeh was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s “Facility 100” interrogation centre, and eventually released on bail of 100 million tumans, but has been summoned back for further interrogation six times. It appears the other students — presumably Shiah Muslims — were not arrested.

The agents who raided the psychology class interviewed those present individually, searched the classroom, and seized ID cards, computers, flash drives and mobile phones. They required those present to give the passwords for their devices, and provide personal details. They took the teacher, Navid Bazmaandegaan, with them to his home, where they conducted a search and arrested his wife, Bahreh Qaderi (بهاره قادری). Next day, September 16, Ehsan Mahbub-Rahufa (احسان محبوب راه‌وفا) and Sudabeh Haqiqat (سودابه حقیقت) were arrested. Noraa Pourmoraadian (نورا پورمرادیان) was also arrested, on either the 15th or 16th of September.

The case of the September six drew national attention because a Shiraz city Counselor, Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی) made efforts for the release of Navid Bazmaandegaan and Bahaareh Qaaderi, and was himself arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on September 27 and accused of defending the “false Bahai Faith.”

Bahais in Iran are denied most civil rights, are excluded from higher education, and under an economic apartheid system they are excluded from working in the civil service and many economic sectors.

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

July 10, 2019

Mo’in Muhammadi’s sentence reduced to electronic surveillance


HRANA, July 9, 2019. –

The Review Court for the Province of Yazd has reduced the sentence of Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی) from six years in prison to one year of electronic surveillance by wearing a tracking bracelet. He is required to remain within the city of Yazd and the associated industrial park where he works. He has been acquitted of the charge of membership of groups opposed to the regime. The supervision sentence relates to a charge of propaganda against the regime. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9, 2019. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and was released on bail on April 10.

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

July 9, 2019

Nine Bahais in Birjand sentenced: five years in prison


HRANA, July 8, 2019. –

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

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

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

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

July 4, 2019

Farzaad Homaayouni released in Isfahan

HRANA, July 3, 2019. –

Farzaad Homaayouni (فرزاد همایونی), a Bahai serving a 20-month sentence in Isfahan, has been granted conditional early release after serving one third of his sentence. He was initially arrested on March 28, 2017, and began his sentence on January 5, 2019, along with Manuchehr Rahmaani (منوچهر رحمانی), Sohraab Naqipur (سهراب نقی پور) and Mohsen Mehrgaani (محسن مهرگانی).

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

July 1, 2019

Sufeya Mobini sentenced to 10 years in prison


Iran Press Watch, June 29, 2019. –

Sufeya Mobini (سوفیا مبینی), a Bahai from Tehran, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by Branch 26 of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court. Ms. Mobini and Negin Tadrisi (نگین تدریسی) were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 2017, during the bicentenary celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet Founder of the Bahai Faith. She was later released on bail.

An informed source told a HRANA reporter: “During the proceedings, the charges against this Bahai citizen were issued as “formation and administration of an illegal Bahai group with the aim of disrupting national security.” A sentence of 10 years in prison has been decided based on this charge. However, in the sentencing there is reference to Article 499 of the Islamic Penal Code, though in reality, the original text of this article reads: “Anyone who joins, as a member, any of the groups, societies, or branches … shall be sentenced to three months to five years’ imprisonment, unless it is proven that they had been unaware of its aims.” So the maximum penalty for such a charge is five years in prison.” Negin Tadrisi has been sentenced to 5 years in prison under the same article. This sentence was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily.

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

Moves to close Bahai home for the elderly in Golshahr


Iran Press Watch, June 29, 2019. –

HRANA News Agency – Officials from the Karaj Office of Public Places, by appearing in one of the Elder Care Centers that belongs to Bahais, have been trying to remove seniors and residents of the area and to seal the location. Giti Charkhi Zarrin (Khollas), a Bahai and Director of the complex, was also summoned to the Alborz Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday.

According to HRANA, on June 27, 2019, Karaj Provincial Police Officers appeared at one of the Elder Care Centers in Golshahr, Karaj, owned by Bahais and tried to close the business.

It is said that the site, which has been working to care for the elderly and people with disabilities for the past twenty years, while receiving the official approval of the Office of Welfare, has been denied continuation of the service license in recent years because of its officers’ belief in the Bahai Faith.

An informed source told the HRANA Reporter, “For the past year, on several occasions, Office of Public Places administration officials has been trying to close this unit; their effort today to close the home is much more severe than in the past. They were trying to remove the elderly and disabled Bahais from the building and leave them in the street, so they could close the premises, according to the Karaj prosecutor’s office. Eventually, because the disabled elderly and the staff refused to leave, they were temporarily prevented from closing the center.”

Following this action, Giti Charkhi Zarrin (Khollas) (گیتی چرخی زرین), a Bahai and Director of the complex, was summoned to the Alborz Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday.

According to this source, a person who has introduced himself as a parliamentary representative, by coming to this complex, as well as government agencies in Karaj, has been closely following the closure of this nursing home owned by Baha’is in the past year.

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

Raids on Baha’i businesses and homes in Shahin Shahr

Iran Wire, June 27, 2019. –

Security forces in Isfahan province have launched a fresh campaign of intimidation against the local Bahai community, carrying out raids on the homes and businesses of 11 Bahais in the city of Shahin Shahr between June 9 and June 15.

IranWire has received reports that the agents confiscated religious books and images, as well as personal possessions and business equipment.

According to the informed source who spoke to IranWire, the Bahais targeted in the crackdown have so far been unsuccessful in their efforts to reclaim their seized belongings. Responsible judicial and Intelligence Bureau officials have offered no reasons or explanations for the searches and seizures.

“From Sunday June 9 through Saturday June 15, agents of the Intelligence Bureau and Shahin Shahr police went to the homes of 11 Bahais in the city,” the source said, “and the only thing that they [authorities] showed was a handwritten and illegible piece of paper that they claimed was a warrant from the prosecutor. But the paper lacked a judiciary letterhead, there were no charges specified and only the name of the owner was legible. Two of them were absent from their homes so then the agents searched the other nine homes to find them. There were between five and eight agents at each location and, in searching the homes, they seized whatever they suspected had anything to do with the Bahai Faith.”

According to him, the agents also seized documents, including national ID cards, driver licenses and passports. They also seized personal computers, laptops, flash memory drives, printers, mobile phones, chargers and even packaging boxes for mobile phones.

“After searching one of the homes, they took the owner to his hairdressing shop and, without a warrant, confiscated all the beauty products from a lawful company that this citizen worked as a representative for in Shahin Shahr,” the source said. “They also confiscated work tools belonging to another Bahai who makes a living by bookbinding at home. In another case, they first searched the business of a Baha’i and then took him to his home and searched those premises as well.”

According to this source, when asked about searches and seizures, the agents said that they did not know about them, or replied that the reason would be explained in court. In one case, the agent frankly told the owner of one of the houses raided that the reason was because he was a Bahai.

Mahboubeh Hosseini, Bahram Safaei, Mesbah Karambakhsh, Naeim Haghiri, Peyman Imani, Derakhshandeh Shakibai, Azita Yazdani, Cyrus Golzar and the Afshar family are among the Shahin Shahr Baha’is whose homes were searched. The agents searched the living quarters of two members of the family, who live in the same building one floor apart.

According to latest reports received by IranWire, during the last week of June, Mesbah Karambakhsh was summoned to court to retrieve his ID papers but when he responded to the summons, he was interrogated and was unable to retrieve his papers. In addition, Naeim Haghiri, who worked for an air travel agency, has been suspended from his job under pressure from the Intelligence Ministry.

[On May 1, 2017, authorities closed down 18 Bahai-run businesses in Shahin Shahr, amounting to a majority of the Bahai businesses operating that time. ~ Sen]

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

June 18, 2019

Six Bahais sentenced in Tabriz

HRANA, June 17, 2019. –

Kaambiz Mithaaqi (کامبیز میثاقی), Farzaad Bahaardori ( فرزاد بهادری), Monika Alizaadeh-Aqdasi ( مونیکا علیزاده (اقدسی)), Mrs. Shabnam Issakhaani ( شبنم عیسی‌خانی), Shahryaar Khodaapenaah (شهریار خداپناه) and Khayrullah Bakhshi (خیرالله بخشی) have each been sentenced to six months in prison, on the charge of “membership in the illegal Bahai organisation.” The organisations of the Bahai community in Iran were all disbanded after the 1979 Revolution – the Bahais in that country have no organisation. The trial took place on June 11 and the sentences were issued on June 15. The Judge in this case was Mr. Hamelbar (قاضی حمل بر). Mr. Khayrullah Bakhshi was also charged with “propaganda against the regime,” but was acquitted on that charge.

These six Bahais were arrested between November 16 and November 20, 2018, and held for one month before being released on bail.

June 5, 2019

Kaaviz Nouzdahi acquitted in Mashhad


HRANA, June 5, 2019. –

The Review Court has acquitted Kaaviz Nouzdahi (کاویز نوزدهی), a Bahai from Mashhad, of all the charges against him. He is at present free on bail after being sentenced by a lower court for “membership in an anti-regime organization” (i.e., membership in the Baha’i administration). The Bahai Administration in Iran dissolved itself many years ago, following the 1979 Revolution. His trial in the lower court was quite irregular, with no defence and a court clerk, Mr. Farhikhteh (آقای “فرهیخته), taking the place of the supervising judge, Judge Mansouri ( قاضی منصوری).

Mr. Nuzdehi has previously served a two-year prison sentence, from July 2010 to June 2012, on charges of propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, membership and activity in the Bahai Faith, advocating contact with foreigners after traveling outside the country, participating in illegal organisations, and producing and distributing Bahai CDs and books.

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

June 4, 2019

Councilor in Shiraz sentenced for defending Bahais


Radio Farda, June 2, 2019. –

A member of Shiraz city council in Iran was taken from his home to prison to serve a one-year sentence Sunday June 2, his wife said in a tweet.

Mehdi Haajati (مهدی حاجتی) was first arrested and detained for ten days last September for defending the rights of the Bahai minority, which is severely persecuted by the Islamic Republic, especially the conservative clerics and hardliner security force. He was free on bail.

His wife Zohreh Rastegari said in her tweet that a day earlier they received a text message that he has been sentenced to one year and they took action to enforce the verdict today.

His told the official government news agency IRNA that Mr. Hajati has been transferred to Abdel Abad prison.

His legal trouble started when last year he tweeted, “In the past ten days I have knocked on many doors to get two Bahai friends released from detention, without success. As long as we face foreign enemies, our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice”. He was charged with assisting the Bahais.

Update, June 4. A combined sitting of the Council and the Mayor has expressed regret at the imprisonment of the Councillor and has called for his release. (In Shiraz, the Mayor is elected by the Council, rather than being appointed by Provincial authorities.)

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

June 2, 2019

Injustice and extortion in Semnan’s prison

Iran Wire, June 1, 2019. –
A month has passed since three young Bahais were arrested by teams of four to six masked agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Semnan, in simultaneous raids on their homes at 8 a.m. on April 30. What little news is available is not good. It appears they are to be charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “undermining national security,” and they have not been allowed to have a lawyer. There are also reports that several other Bahais in Semnan have recently been threatened with arrest.

The family of Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), who is 30 years old, have had no news from him: he has not been allowed even a short telephone call. His mother died in an accident a few months ago, and his father is hospitalized due to kidney problems, so his sister and small child have travelled over 300 km, from Gonbad-Kavus, to follow up on his arrest. Thus far the Ministry of Intelligence and judiciary have not given her any information about her brother’s situation. Mr. Fenaa’eyan was previously arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and held for over 50 days before being freed on bail. A Revolutionary Court sentenced him to nine months in prison [other reports say, 8 months]. He began his sentence in January 2014. Immediately after his release, the Ministry of Intelligence sent him to the army to undertake his military service.

Behnaam Eskandaareyan (بهنام اسکندریان), previously reported as Behnaam Eskandaraani (بهنام اسکندرانی), is 25 years old. Six days after his arrest, in a brief telephone conversation, he told his family that he had been beaten, and asked them to bring two million tumans ($US 475) to the prison. When his family went to the prison, they found that he had been transferred from solitary confinement to the quarantine section, where he was left alone with a hashish addict who beat him up to extort money. The guards, who could hear what was going on and had video surveillance as well, did nothing. When the beating and extortion had been confirmed by the authorities, his family asked for him to be referred to the prison’s medical officer, but the prison authorities said that Behnaam was an adult and could ask himself. However, except for the short telephone call for extortion that they had facilitated, Behnaam has been held incommunicado and cannot ask for anything — not even a lawyer.

The third detainee, Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان), is 20 years old. She is reported to have been transferred about 10 days ago, from Ministry of Intelligence detention to the general prison for women, where she is held alone. In Semnan, and in some other prisons, Bahai prisoners are kept apart from others because of a widespread superstition in Iran that Bahais are ‘unclean.’ [And I would add: because Bahai prisoners who have been held together with other prisoners of conscience have sometimes demonstrated to their fellow-prisoners that the anti-Bahai propaganda in Iran’s official media is hogwash, to the extent that they have become friends with the Bahais ~ Sen.] After five days in the general prison, she was allowed a telephone call with her family. The family have asked to visit her, but were told that this is not allowed. Her sisters Golrokh and Shidrokh Firuzeyan (شیدرخ و گلرخ فیروزیان), were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence on March 12, 2013 and February 12, respectively. Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan was arrested at the same time. The sisters were held by the Ministry for 40 days. They were charged with “propaganda against the regime” and initially sentenced to 9 months in prison, reduced to 6 months by the review court. They served their sentences and were released in May 2014. Their father, Hadjbar Firuzeyaan (هژبر فیروزیان), served a 40-day sentence in 2014, charged with libel against an agent of the Ministry of Intelligence. He had complained to the judicial authorities that one of his daughters was beaten in prison. When they took no action, he wrote to the President of the Islamic Republic, describing the beating. He was charged with libel and fined, but refused to pay the fine and was sent to prison instead.

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

May 21, 2019

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestani receives medical tests


HRANA, May 19, 2019. –

Hassan Momtaaz Sarvestaani (حسن ممتاز سروستانی), a Bahai prisoner from Shiraz who was transferred to Evin prison in Tehran on February 26 this year, has received an angiograph test at a hospital in Tehran. Although the doctor wanted him to be hospitalized for observation for 24 hours and prepared for a stent, he was returned to prison in handcuffs and shackles on the following day.

Mr. Sarvestani was a teacher of Persian literature for the Bahai Open University (BIHE). He was first arrested in 2011, and was one of ten Bahais associated with the BIHE who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013. His sentence was handed down by Judge Maqiseh (قاضی مقیسه) on February 25, 2014, and confirmed by the review court. He began his sentence in 2017, in Adel Abaad prison in Shiraz, and was transferred to Evin prison in Tehran on February 26, 2019.

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

May 18, 2019

Farzaad Rouhaani released on bail in Yazd

HRANA, May 18, 2019. –

Farzaad Rouhaani Manshaadi (فرزاد روحانی منشادی), a Bahai from Yazd whose one-year prison sentence was commuted to a 3-year suspended sentence in July 2018, was re-arrested while taking his son to school on January 28. He was released on bail yesterday, May 17. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 164,000). A court sitting to establish the charges against him took place on May 15, but the charges are not known. He was one of those arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, 2017, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers.

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

May 15, 2019

Bahai barred from rose-water manufacture

HRANA, May 13, 2019.

On May 12, security forces raided the home of Mr. Heshmatollah Ehsaani (حشمت الله احسانی) in the village of Maazgaan (Maazgun, مازگان) in Kashan County, and seized all the items related to making rose-water. He was told that he was not entitled to continue this work. He was told that he would have “problems” with security agencies if the media reported this action. Maazgaan is a village that has had a substantial Bahai population for many years past.

The present action presumably means that making rose-water has been added to the list of occupations that Bahais are barred from, under Iran’s apartheid system. Because Bahais in Iran are excluded from employment in the civil service, education and health, and other major sectors, many of them start small shops or workshops in sectors where this is permitted, but the rules they must obey have been kept secret. The list of occupations that are barred to Bahais also changes at the whims of unidentified authorities. A leaked copy of the list, dating from April 8, 2010, clarifies which economic sectors are forbidden for Bahais. This order from the chief of police to police bureaus all over the country instructs them to constrain, limit and police the activities of Bahais in the specified fields, and ensure the Bahais do not constitute a significant presence in society.

The order specifies that Bahais should not be allowed to earn high incomes, but may work or be employed at the standard minimum income. Bahais may not work in cultural, educational or financial institutions, and are not to be allowed to work in the sectors of periodicals, jewelry, watchmaking, print-making, tourist agencies, car rentals, publishing and bookshops, photography, film-making, internet gaming, computers, or internet cafes. They may not own printing works or hotels and other accommodation for travellers, or teach tailoring skills.

The order refers to the widespread Iranian belief that Bahais are unclean, and requires the police bureaus to block them from restaurants, cafeterias and catering, food ingredients and foodstuff sales, takeaways (Iranian-style), cafe, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee.

Since this order was issued, the optometry sector has apparently been added to the list, on or before December 2014. In addition to these limitations on where Bahais may work, the Ministry of Intelligence has pressured Muslims to cut social and economic ties with Bahais, and Bahai businesses across Iran have been shut down where they close to observe the Bahai Holy Days.

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

May 10, 2019

Home search and summons in Isfahan

HRANA, May 8, 2019. –

On May 8, the home of Behin-A’in (نیوشا بهین آئین) in Isfahan was searched by members of the security forces, who seized laptops, cell phones and Baha’i books. She was summoned to appear at the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence next week.

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

May 9, 2019

Three Bahais begin their sentences in Shiraz


HRANA, May 8, 2019. –

Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejmaan Shahryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Koroush Rouhaani (کوروش روحانی)reported to Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz on May 7. They were originally given one-year sentences by Judge Mahmud Saadaati (قاضی محمود ساداتی) in the Revolutionary Court. The Review Court reduced this: Mr. Habibi and Mr. Ruhaani have been sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” while Mr Shahyaari has been sentenced to three months and one day, on the same charge.

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

May 7, 2019

Seven Bahais in Bushehr sentenced to 3 years in prison


HRANA, May 7, 2019. –

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

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

May 6, 2019

Bahai motorcross champions barred from the sport


HRANA, May 6, 2019. –

On November 18, 2018, security forces in Tehran arrested Shahrzaad Nazifi (شهرزاد نظیفی), a well-known sportswoman and trainer in women’s motocross. She was released on bail 15 days later. Bail was set at 700 million tumans (147,000 euros ; $US 164,000) and was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. Now, without a trial or a judge’s order, she and the other members of her family — who also participate in motocross — have been banned from being present at motocross tracks, participating in competitions, and practicing or teaching motocross sport. Mrs. Nazifi and her husband Mehrshaad Naraqi (مهرشاد نراقی) and their two children Meraat (مرآت ) and Nora (نورا) have all been motocross champions in Iran, and the mother and daughter are pioneers of women’s motor sports in Iran. Since her arrest, the premises used for storing the family’s motor bikes and other personal effects have been sealed by the authorities. Meraat Naraqi, who is 30 years old, was barred from national competitions and Olympic trials in December, 2018, and prior to that was barred from competing internationally, although he had championship titles to his credit. Their lawyer’s enquiries to the Sports Federation and government ministries have produced no response, no institution has taken responsibility for the banning order, and Mrs Nazifi has not been summoned for trial in relation to her arrest in November 2018, so all that the family know is that her arrest was initiated by the Minister of Intelligence in Tehran. At the time of her arrest, the agents seized all the family’s awards, titles and prizes, as well as documents related to motorcycle races.

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

May 4, 2019

Afshin Seyyed-Ahmad released


HRANA, May 4, 2019. –

Mr. Afshin Seyyed-Ahmad (افشین سیداحمد) was released from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj at the end of his three-year sentence on May 4. He was arrested at his workplace in Tehran on November 7, 2012 and held for interrogation for 30 days, and then released on bail. He was tried and sentenced by Judge Moqiseh ( قاضی مقیسه) in the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, on charges of acting against national security and propaganda against the regime. The Review Court confirmed his 3-year sentence, which he began to serve in June, 2016. He was granted one 8-day furlough during his sentence.

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

May 1, 2019

Three Bahai youth arrested in Semnan


HRANA, April 30, 2019. –

Behnaam Eskandaraani (بهنام اسکندرانی), Yalda Firouzeyaan (یلدا فیروزیان) and Ardeshir Fenaa’eyan (اردشیر فناییان), three young Bahais from Semnan, were arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on the morning of April 30. The agents also seized some of their personal effects. Mr. Fenaa’eyan was previously sentenced to 8 months in prison. During his time in prison he was obliged to promise that — contrary to a legal provision — he would present himself for military service when he was released from prison. The whereabouts of the three detainees is not known at present.

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

April 28, 2019

Negin Qadameyan, serving a 5-year sentence, allowed furlough


HRANA, April 27, 2019. –

Negin Qedamiaan (نگین قدمیان), who began serving her 5-year sentence for educational crimes in relation to the Bahai Open University (BIHE) on December 16, 2017, was allowed a furlough from Evin Prison from April 22 to April 27. She had lodged several requests for a furlough for medical treatment for gum inflammation and pain in her jaw and teeth. She was arrested, along with many others associated with the Open University, in May, 2011. On March 12, 2013, she and nine other Bahais associated with the Open University were tried. After the trial they were freed on bail or with a pledge, until summoned to begin their sentences.

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

April 27, 2019

Hamid Nasseri bailed in Tehran


HRANA, April 26, 2019. –

Hamid Nasseri ( حمید ناصری), a Bahai from Tehran who was arrested on March 11, was released on bail on April 24. His brother Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری), arrested in Tehran on March 11, was released on bail on April 18. The bail for each of the brothers was set at 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ). Saeed Nasseri’s wife Afsaneh Emami-Nasseri ((افسانه امامی(ناصری) was freed previously, also for 500 mullion tumans in bail.

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

April 22, 2019

Ruhiyyeh Narimaan absolved of charges


HRANA, April 21, 2019. –

On April 21, Ruhiyyeh Narimaan (روحیه نریمان) was informed that the charges against her — for which she served five months of a 30-month sentence — have been dismissed by the Court of Review. She is already free, having been provisionally released from prison in Shiraz on March 9, pending a sitting of the Provincial Review Court. Mrs. Narimaan and her husband Farzaad Delaaraam (فرزاد دلارام) were originally sentenced to five years in prison by the notorious Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی), but the Review Court reduced this to two years and six months for Ruhiyyeh Nariman and one year for Faarzaad Delaaraam. They were arrested in Shiraz on October 8, 2018, to begin serving their sentences, so she served five months of her sentence. Her husband was released in early February, benefiting from an amnesty for some prisoners of conscience marking the fortieth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. Mrs. Nariman’s release is not related to the amnesty, and no reason is given in this report. It is possible that it relates to a January ruling by the Alborz Province Review Court, in the case of Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی), that teaching the Bahai Faith is not equivalent to “propaganda against the regime” and is not a crime.

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

April 21, 2019

Mohsen Mehrgaani freed in Isfahan


HRANA, April 21, 2019. –

Mohsen Mehrgaani (محسن مهرگانی) was released from Isfahan prison on April 20. This is a conditional early release. He has served one third of his sentence, beginning on January 5, 2019. Although his sentence was 20 months, the three months he spent under interrogation and in prison between his arrest on January 24, 2017, and his release on bail in late April or early May, 2017, have been taken into account, giving a total of over six months served.

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

April 20, 2019

Saeed Nasseri bailed in Tehran

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

Saeed Nasseri (سعید ناصری), who was arrested in Tehran on March 11, was released on bail on April 18. Bail was set at 500 million tumans ( 105,000 euros; $US 119,000 ). He was arrested after going to the Evin detention center to inquire about the condition of his brother Hamid (حمید ناصری), arrested on the same day, and of his wife Afsaneh Emami-Nasseri ((افسانه امامی(ناصری), arrested 40 days earlier. She has since been released, also on bail of 500 million tumans, but Hamid Nasseri remains in prison.

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

April 15, 2019

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi begins internal exile; Parvaneh Rahmani acquitted


HRANA, April 15, 2019. –

Dhabihullah Ra’ufi ( ذبیح الله رئوفی ), a 70-year-old Bahai from Sanandaj, has set out from his home to serve his sentence of one year in internal exile in Minab, a town in Hormozgan Province which is 1700 kilometers from his home. He was also sentenced to one year in prison, but after serving just over four months of this sentence he was freed on March 12, under a prison amnesty marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran. Last week he received a summons to appear at a court in Minab.

He was charged with “propaganda against the regime,” which apparently related to follow-up actions he took following the destruction of the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. His wife Parvaneh Rahmani-Ra’ufi (پروانه رحمانی رئوفی) was also sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, but (contrary to my previous report) this sentence was nullified by the Review Court on September 3, 2018. She is accompanying her husband into exile.

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

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

April 11, 2019

Mo’in Muhammadi bailed in Yazd


HRANA, April 11, 2019. –

Mo’in Muhammadi (معین محمدی), a Bahai living in Yazd, was released on bail on April 10. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on January 9 this year. At the end of March he was sentenced to six years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, and has apparently remained in detention since his trial — presumably because it has taken this long to arrange bail. Bahais sentenced to prison in Iran often wait some years before there is a place for them in prison. Mr. Muhammadi has been involved in environmental issues, but the charges against him have not been specified.

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

April 9, 2019

Sentences reduced for three Bahai men in Shiraz


Voice of America (Persian), April 8, 2019. –

The Provincial Review Court has reduced the one-year sentences of Mahbub Habibi (محبوب حبیبی), Pejman Shahryaari (پژمان شهریاری) and Kurush Ruhaani (کوروش روحانی). Mr. Habibi and Mr. Ruhaani have been sentenced to six months in prison, on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” while Mr Merhyaari has been sentenced to three months and one day, on the same charge. They were informed of the reduced sentences on April 7.

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

April 7, 2019

Six Bahai businesses reopen in Khorramshahr

HRANA, April 6, 2019. –

On November 15, 2018, six Bahai-run businesses in Khorramshahr were sealed by the order of the judicial authorities. In the five months since then, they have been allowed to reopen, one by one. On April 6, the sewing machine shop of Kaambiz Azaadi (کامبیز آزادی) reopened. In late March and early April the optician’s shops of Hossein-Ali Habibi (حسینعلی حبیبی) and Behnaam Habibi (بهنام حبیبی) and the engine repair shop of Kouroush Jaaberi (کوروش جابری) reopened. The optician’s shops of Behrouz Habibi (بهروز حبیبی), and Bahaador Ahmadi (بهادر احمدی) were apparently allowed to reopen in early January, although this was not reported at the time.

The sealing of businesses was ordered in response to the owners having closed their businesses for a day in observance of a Bahai holy day. By law, as cited in Item B of Article 28 of the Commercial Union Law, citizens are allowed to close their business up to 15 days a year without providing authorities any reason or informing the Association for their industry. However, this legal provision is not extended to cover Bahais, and authorities routinely penalize Bahai business owners for observance of their Holy Days, by sealing their businesses.

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

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