Sen's daily

October 25, 2016

Mariya Kothari free on bail in Qorveh

Bahai News (Persian), October 18, 2016.

Dr. Mariya Kothari (ماریا کوثری), a Bahai from Qorveh, who was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 4, was freed on bail on October 18. Her bail was set at 60 million tumans (17,000 euros, $US 19,000). After her arrest in Qorveh she was taken to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities first in Qorveh and then in Sanandaj. On October 9, while she was in jail, her home was searched by security forces for the third time.

Mrs. Kothari’s husband and son do not have Iranian nationality and have been required to leave Iran. Her husband lives in Equador and her son in Australia. As a result it has fallen to her mother to follow up on her arrest, but her mother has been denied visiting rights. Mrs. Kothari is accused of teaching the Bahai Faith. She is a qualified medical doctor. She studied medicine in Equador because, as a Bahai, she was barred from higher education in Iran under that country’s apartheid system.

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


October 6, 2016

New arrest in Qorveh

Bahai News (Persian), October 4, 2016.

Dr. Mariya Kothari (ماریا کوثری), a Bahai living in Qorveh, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on October 4. Eleven agents, including one female agent broke the door of her house and took her away in handcuffs. Her present whereabouts are unknown. Mrs. Kothari is a qualified medical doctor, but has no licence to work because she is a Bahai, and she herself has health problems. After her arrest, the agents hung a sign in front of her house saying that the property was closed because of sanitary violations. This apparently refers to the finding of some drugs, which Dr. Kothari said were for herself and her family.

Qorveh lies in Kurdistan Province, over an hour’s drive East of the major city of Sanandaj. The Bahai community there has been subject to intense scrutiny. In March 2012, fifteen members of the community were interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence. They were asked about Bahai meetings, the participants and how the meetings are run, and the names of relatives living outside Iran, their income and living situation, and willingness to travel outside Iran, work status, and participation in Ruhi training institutes. In January 2013, 13 Bahai homes, including the home of the Kothari family, were searched in simultaneous raids by almost a hundred security agents. When the local authorities in Sanandaj decided to refuse to bury Bahais in their city, they began transporting the bodies to Qorveh, which had a Bahai cemetery containing the graves of nearly 30 Bahai martyrs who were executed by the Islamic Republic. But this cemetery was destroyed by the local authorities in Qorveh in the small hours of July 14, 2016. The agents also uprooted 300 20-year-old trees.

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

July 19, 2016

Security forces destroy Bahai cemetery in Qorveh, arresting one Bahai

Iran Press Watch, translating Bahai News, July 17, 2016.

Law enforcement agents in Kurdistan province have demolished a Golestan Javid (a Bahai cemetery), uprooted over three hundred 20-year-old trees, destroying the buildings used for prayers and for washing the bodies before burial, and even destroying some coffins. The destruction apparently took place at 5 a.m. on July 14.

Law enforcement agents later summoned one local Bahai, Mr. Khalil Eqdameyan (خلیل اقدامیان), to the Kurdistan Province Judiciary. A Persian source, Bazdasht, reports that when he answered the summons, he was detained for several hours and then released on bail. He had followed up the destruction of the cemetery in enquiries to the security forces, who referred him to the Department of Agricultural Development (Agricultural Jihad).

The cemetery, which was built by the Qorveh Bahais little by little was worth 60 to 70 million tumans (approx. $19,400-22,700). The graves of nearly 30 Bahai martyrs who were executed by the Islamic Republic re among those that have been destroyed. The destruction of Bahai cemeteries has become a common occurrence in the Islamic Republic.

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

July 17, 2015

Burial of Mrs. Muhammadi-far reveals a new restriction on Bahais in Iran

BWNS, July 17, 2015.

On 12 July 2015, a Baha’i, Mrs. Baji Muhammadifar passed away and her family sought a burial permit to inter her body in the Bahai cemetery in Sanandaj. This was refused, with the officials insisting that Mrs. Muhammadifar’s body be laid to rest in the Baha’i cemetery in Qorveh, a town located approximately an hour and a half from Sanandaj. Agreeing to burial in Qorveh would have forced the family to ignore the Bahai burial law requiring bodies to be interred within an hour’s journey from the place of death. The authorities told the family that an ambulance—which could exceed the speed limit—would carry the body.

Local authorities sympathetic to the plight of the Bahais told the family that a memorandum from the Supreme National Security Council has stated that the Bahais are only to be allocated one cemetery in any province. This rule is not applied to any other group in the country, and was not previously known to the Bahais.

“The Iranian authorities seem to have brought themselves down to a new level of absurdity and malice; extending their prejudiced attacks on the Baha’i community beyond the grave,” said Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Baha’i International Community Office to the United Nations in New York.

The refusal to allow the burial to take place in the Baha’i cemetery in Sanandaj, an area made beautiful and verdant through decades of effort by the community, meant that the family had to keep the body of their loved one in cool conditions at home. The family knew that if the body were in the public morgue, it would be taken by the authorities without their knowledge or permission and buried with no Bahai rites [as has happened in other cases in Iran ~ Sen].

Members of the wider community who came to mourn Mrs. Muhammadifar’s passing were most sympathetic to the family’s situation. There was a swell of public support in the town, with attention being drawn to the unreasonable behavior of the authorities. Officials responded by summoning the son of the deceased for interrogation. After four hours of grueling questions and threats, he was forced to give up his mother’s body. Soon after it was taken in an ambulance, unaccompanied by any family member, to Qorveh cemetery.

Iranian law requires every town to provide, within its boundaries, cemetery plots for the burial of all its citizens and makes it unlawful for a municipality to accept for burial bodies from outside its jurisdiction.

Abbreviated: full report in English here.

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

Mrs. Muhammadi-Far buried outside Sanandaj

Campaign against harassment of Bahais (Persian facebook page), July 16, 2015.

Government authorities are reported to have buried Mrs. Baji Khanom Muhammadi-Far (باجی محمدی فر), a Bahai from Sanandaj, in the Golestan Javid cemetery in Qorveh. The name of this cemetery (the same as the one in Sanandaj) suggests that it is a Bahai cemetery. When Mrs. Muhammadi-Far died on July 12, authorities refused permission for her to be buried in the “Golestan Javid” cemetery in Sanandaj. It is not clear whether this refers to the Bahai cemetery which was razed by local authorities in December 2013, or a new piece of land that has been acquired as a Bahai cemetery for Sanandaj. The latest report is that authorities have buried Mrs. Muhammadi-Far in Qorveh against the wishes of her family. Qorveh is about 94 kilometers East of Sanandaj, over a mountain pass at Salavatabad. Not only is the distance a burden for the family, Bahai burial rituals require that the grave should be within one hour’s journey of the place of death. The cemetery at Qorveh does not satisfy this requirement of the Bahais of Sanandaj. The authorities in Sanandaj had previously threatened the family with arrest, and said they would bury Mrs. Muhammadi-Far in Qorveh without any ceremony. Mrs Muhammadi-Far is also known as Mrs Sadeqi (خانم صدقی).

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

July 30, 2013

One arrest in Qorveh

PCED facebook page, July 29, 2013

Behnam Eqdamian (بهنام اقدامیان), a Bahai from Qorveh, was arrested at his workplace there on July 23, 2013. Security agents came with a judicial warrant. He was apparently transferred to the custody of the Ministry of Intelligence, since on July 27, 2013, he was transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities in Sanandaj. There has been no word about the reason for his detention or his condition.

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

January 20, 2013

13 Bahai homes raided in Qorveh

HRANA, January 20

On the morning of January 8, 13 groups of security agents, of 7 men each, searched 13 Bahai homes in the town of Qorveh, in Kurdistan province. They had search warrants, although these were hand written and lacked the proper seal. They even searched the refrigerators and ventilator ducts, and seized religious books and images, mobile phones, cameras, computers and laptops. The names of the Bahais whose homes were searched are Khalil Eqdameyan ( خلیل اقدامیان ), Kambiz Eqdameyan ( کامبیز اقدامیان ), Sa`id Mansouri ( سعید منصوری ), Behnam Eqdameyan ( بهنام اقدامیان ), Mehrdad Zara`i ( مهرداد زارعی ), Tayeb Salehi ( طیب صالحی ), Fa’ez Salehi (فائز صالحی), Mehdi Leqa’i ( مهدی لقایی ), `Atal-llah Kothari ( عطا الله کوثری ), Zia’ullah Kothari ( ضیاالله کوثری ), Keyvmarth Awsafi ( کیومرث اوصافی ), Koroush Awsfi (کوروش اوصافی) and Sa`id Khadem ( سعید خادم ).

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

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