Sen's daily

June 20, 2018

Sentences reduced for Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and Farzad Delaram


Shahrvand-yar, June 19, 2018. –

The Review Court has reduced the sentences of Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), Bahais from Shiraz, who were initially sentenced to five years in prison for their Bahai beliefs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman is now sentenced to two years and six month in prison and her husband to one year in prison. They were arrested by agents from the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps on October 3, 2016, not long after the arrest of 14 other Bahais in Shiraz on September 29. Their home was thoroughly searched. Ten days later, they were released on bail of 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). They were tried in the Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Sadati ( قاضی ساداتی) on February 26, 2017, but their sentences were not announced until early in March, 2018. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and membership of illegal Bahai groups. They have two children, one a child and the other a teenager.

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

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June 13, 2018

Town Mayor bans Bahais from buying land


Shahrvandyar, June 12, 2018. –

The Mayor of Sorkhrud, a town on the Caspian Coast, has issued a decree banning Bahais from buying or selling land of any sort. The instruction was contained in a letter addressed to all the town’s real estate agents. The Mayor’s name is Seyyid-Muhammad Mehdi Musavinezhad (سیدمحمد مهدی موسوی نژاد). He has recently been part of a campaign to ban pictures and quotes of ex-President Khatami from the Iranian media.

Bahai student expelled in Zanjan


Centre for Human Rights in Iran, June 12 (?), 2018. –

Soha Izadi (سها ایزدی), a student of Information Technology Engineering at the University of Zanjan, was expelled from the University on March 14, 2018 due to “being Bahai.” She had completed almost one year of studies, and was in the midst of the end-of-semester examinations when university officials contacted her to say they had received a letter from the “moral standards” section of the national “Educational Appraisals Agency” which meant that she could not continue education. She was removed from the student register and her access to the university web site was blocked. When she pursued the matter, the university officials told her the only way she could be re-admitted was to renounce her Bahai religion. An indication of how long this educational apartheid policy has endured in Iran is that both her mother and her father were also excluded from enrolling in tertiary education, using the “incomplete file” excuse (that is, the religion section did not say “Muslim” so the file was “incomplete”).

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

Soheil Keshavarz begins his sentence in Qazvin

HRANA, June 12, 2018. –

On June 9, Soheil Keshavarz (سهیل کشاورز), a Bahai living in Qazvin, was arrested and taken to Qazvin prison to begin serving his six-month sentence. He was initially arrested on December 20, 2016, when four security agents raided his home. On December 24, agents raided the home of his father, Sohrab Keshavarz (سهراب کشاور), and seized Bahai books and personal effects. Then they took him with them to the home of Soheil Keshavarz (who was still being detained — he was held for interrogation for 25 days), and searched it again. His bail, trial and sentencing was not previously reported on Sen’s Daily. This report does not specify the charges.

June 2, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Gorgan


Hamid Rezataghipour, May 29, 2018. –

Shakib Teymouri (شکیب تیموری), a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Gorgan University, was expelled on May 27. University officials excluded him from the university web site and from registration. The university refused also to document the Bachelor’s degree he had already achieved. He began his studies late in the autumn of 2014, and entered the Master’s course in 2016.

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

May 31, 2018

Neda Sabeti, Nooshin Afshar and Foroogh Farzaneh released


Kampaign, May 30, 2019. –

Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار) and Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), Bahais living in Ahvaz who were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in raids on their homes on May 6, have been released on bail from Sepidar Prison in Ahvaz. They were previously released on May 12, only to be summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office on May 13 and arrested again.

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

Iran’s Court of Administrative Justice confirms apartheid in education and employment

HRANA, May 29, 2018. –

Iran’s Court of Administrative Justice has formally confirmed that Bahais in Iran have no right to public service employment or tertiary education. This policy was set out in the 1991 “Golpaygani Memorandum,” drawn up by the Iranian Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council (ISRCC). The memorandum calls for Iran’s Bahais to be treated in such a way “that their progress and development shall be blocked.” It specifies that all Bahais should be expelled from universities; that they shall be denied positions of influence, and that “employment shall be refused to persons identifying themselves as Bahais.” The exclusion of Bahais from universities was reiterated by Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in 2006. The latest court decision confirms that the 1991 policy remains in place: it cites the 1991 memorandum in confirming that Hanan Har (حنان حر), a Bahai student who scored well in the university entrance examination in 2016, and was accepted at a university in Babol, but was excluded because of his Bahai beliefs. In 2017 he appealed to the Court of Administrative Justice, which investigated and ruled that the appeal could not be processed because “Bahais are not only excluded from government employment, they are also deprived of the right to study.” The decision was communicated to Hanan Har in the past few days.

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

May 28, 2018

Shahnam Jadhbani begins his prison sentence

Mahvash Zaeri (Facebook), May 27, 2018.

Shahnam Jadhbani ( شهنام جذبانی ) is reported to have been arrested in his home in Minudasht and taken to Gonbad to begin serving a sentence that may be as long as eleven years. He and his wife Shohreh Samimi ( شهره صمیمی ) were arrested in Minudasht in October 2012. Around the same time, 20 other Bahais were arrested in Golestan Province by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, acting without warrants. Many Bahai homes homes were searched, with the seizure of computers, books and family photo albums. They were initially given very long sentences, but these were all reduced by the review court to less than two years, except that review court did not at that time announce its decision on the cases of Shahnam Jadhbani ( شهنام جذبانی ) from Minudasht and Shayda Qodousi (شيدا قدوسي) from Gorgan, who were sentenced to 11 years in prison. Mr. Jadhbani’s sentence may also have been reduced, in which case that will be reported within the next few days.

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

Kaviz Nuzdehi free in Mashhad


Mahvash Zaeri, citing Shahrvandyar, May 27, 2018.

Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), a Mashhad Bahai, was released on bail on May 27. He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 2, and has has previously served a two-year prison sentence, from July 2010 to June 2012. That time, the charges against him were propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, membership and activity in the Bahai Faith, etc. He has been the subject of speculation by Damavand News, which identified him as — probably — the unidentified Bahai whom the Deputy Prosecutor of Mashhad claimed was held for links to the Mujahedin (MKO, and organisation that has practiced and preached revolution and violence). Given that he has been released on bail after one month in detention, that identification now looks very unlikely.

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

May 23, 2018

Bahai in Mashhad said to be linked to Mujahedin

Damavand News, May 22, 2018.

Hasan Heidari (حسن حیدری), Deputy Prosecutor of Khorasan Razavi Province has claimed in an interview with the local website of Mashhad (capital of the Province) that an unnamed Bahai has been arrested in Mashhad by the Ministry of Intelligence, under a special judicial order referring to the “arrest of the leadership of the hypocrite terrorist organisation.” The term is usually Iranian code for the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MKO), which has advocated revolution and violence. Mr. Heidari said that the Bahai had been accused of collaborating with a political organization, and that “this individual had sought to provide broader grounds for activities to undermine security, by promulgating and misusing the demands of the industry guilds that are part of the Iranian system.” In other words, he was a worker’s rights activist. Iran has seen widespread worker protests, strikes and market shut-downs in recent weeks, and the tactic of connecting these to an external terrorist organisation and/or the Bahais may be a device to divert attention from the grievances of workers and small shop-keepers (who close their shops as a form of protest).

Damavand News, which reports this interview, expresses reservations that it has the whole picture, and the story as reported raises a number of questions. In the first place, did the Deputy Prosecutor intend to refer to the Mujahedin or is it hyperbole for the Green Movement? The accusation of “links to a political group” seems unusually mild if the Mujahedin was intended. In the second place, the only Bahai known to have been arrested in Mashhad recently is Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), arrested on May 2. Damavand News cites a source saying that, given the timing, the reference can only be to Mr. Nuzdehi. But another possibility is that the Deputy Prosecutor did not have any specific Bahai in mind. Claims that a group of Bahais have been arrested for this an that – without specifics – are sometimes made by officials seeking to assure the public that they are doing their jobs by keeping the Bahais under pressure. Generally speaking, no specifics or trials follow from such claims. Reliable reports of the actual persecution of Bahais in Iran always comes from family members and associates, not from official statements, and contain names, dates and other specifics that can be checked.

May 22, 2018

Ministry of Intelligence bars Maku Bahai from keeping bees

HRANA, May 21, 2018. –

The Ministry of Intelligence in Maku has told Shahin Dehqan ( شاهین دهقان), a Bahai who has been working as a beekeeper for the past 17 years, that he must sell his hives within ten days, or he will be jailed and his hives will be confiscated. Bahais are barred from working in many sectors of Iran’s economy, but the rules are not published and new sectors are barred to Bahais periodically, giving the economic apartheid system in Iran the appearance of arbitrary oppression.

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

May 15, 2018

Three Bahai women in Ahvaz re-arrested


Hamid Rezataghipour, May 14, 2018. –

Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار) and Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), who were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in raids on their homes on May 6, and released on May 12, were summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office on May 13 and arrested again.

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

Mitra Zahdi and Farajollah Bengaleh bailed in Ahvaz

Shahrevandyar, May 14, 2018. –

Mrs. Mitra Barnezhad-Zahdi (میترا بدرنژاد زهدی), who was arrested in Ahvaz on March 3, and Mr. Farajollah Bengaleh ( فرج اله بنگاله), who was arrested on March 28 in Shiraz and later transferred by the Ministry of Intelligence to Ahvaz, have both been released on bail of 200 million tumans each (40,000 euros ; $US 47,500). It appears that no charges have been laid. In both cases, their houses were searched at the time of their arrests, and religious items were seized.

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

May 13, 2018

Three Bahai detainees released in Ahvaz

HRANA, May 13, 2018. –

Three young Bahai women who were arrested in Ahvaz on May 6 were released from Ahvaz prison on May 12. They are Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار), Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ). During the week that they were detained, their families went to the prison and were told that their children were not there [probably because they were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence ~ Sen]. The families went to the cities of Abadan and Khoramshahr to look for their children, and while they were there, Ahvaz Prison contacted them to say their children had been released.

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

May 12, 2018

One new arrest in Tehran

HRANA, May 12, 2018. –

Mehrdad Heyrani (مهرداد حیرانی), a Bahai living in Tehran, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 11, and taken to an unknown place. The agents came to his home, but he was at a friend’s house in Fardis, 45 km West of Tehran. The agents went there and arrested him and took him with them to his own home. They searched it and seized a computer, some religious books and other personal effects.

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

One arrest in Kermanshah

Hengaw News, May 12, 2018. –

Mr. Khodadaad Miri (خداداد میری), a Bahai living in Kermanshah, was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 6. As of May 12, there is still no news of his whereabouts, despite efforts by his family. Mr. Miri is from Mazandaran, where he owned a bookstore, but he was forced by the authorities to sell it a few years ago, and then took his family to Kermanshah.

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

Mahsa Mahdavi released from prison

mahsa-mahdavi-kampain-info_-324x160
Radio Zamaneh (web site), May 11, 2018.

Mahsa Mahdavi (مهسا مهدوی) was released from Vakil Abad Prison in Mashhad on May 10, after serving an 8-month sentence for her Bahai beliefs. She was one of four Bahais arrested in Mashhad in September, 2012, who were sentenced in May, 2013: her sentence was the shortest. They were accused of teaching the Bahai Faith, propaganda against the regime and membership of Bahai organisations.

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

May 11, 2018

Four homes searched, 3 arrested in Abadan (update)


Iran Press Watch, May 10, 2018.

According to Ostanwire (of iranwire.com), on Sunday morning of May 6, 2018, agents of the Ministry of Information of Abadan City in southwest Iran performed an orchestrated raid of the residences of four Bahais, during which three Bahais were arrested and taken to an unknown location.

Security forces in the border town of Abadan went to the homes of four Bahais; Ms. Neda Sabeti-Azadi (ندا ثابتی -آزادی), Ms. Nooshin Afshar-Azadi (نوشین افشار), Ms. Foroogh Farzaneh (فروغ فرزانه ), and Ms. Mah-Monir Ehsani, and after thorough search of their homes confiscated all their mobiles, laptops, computers and religious books and arrested Ms. Sabeti, Ms. Afshar, and Ms. Farzaneh. In each case, the raids were conducted by six agents in possession of search warrants, while a few security forces remained on guard outside. Some reports specify that the agents came mainly from the Ministry of Intelligence in the provincial capital, Ahvaz, with one local agent from Abadan in each team, and that they briefly questioned all the family members present during the raids.

The arrest of Ms. Neda Sabeti was previously reported on Sen’s Daily, the widespread raids and two additional arrests were not. It is not known where the detainees are being held.

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

May 8, 2018

Navid Khanjani released after 6 years in prison

Navid Khanjani is holding the red flowers


VOA, May 7, 2018.

Navid Khanjani (نوید خانجانی) has been released from Rajai Shahr prison, near Tehran.

Mr. Khanjani’s original 12-year sentence was due to his peaceful activities in defending human rights and the right to education. With the implementation of Article 134 of the Penal Code, the diverse charges against him were integrated, and he was sentenced to five years in prison with a release date on June 6, 2017. At the last moment he was informed that his one-year sentence from a different case was being implemented immediately and he would remain in prison.

Mr. Khanjani was arrested the first time on March 1, 2010, by the Ministry of Intelligence and was released on bail after about two months of interrogation and solitary confinement. On December 20, 2010, Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Yahya PirAbassi (قاضی یحیی پیرعباسی), sentenced him on the following charges:

+ Spreading false news,
+ Disturbing public opinion,
+ Propaganda against the Islamic Republic through disseminating news reports,
+ Appearing in interviews with foreign TV and radio stations,
+ Membership of the Central Council of the Human rights Reporters Committee,
+ Establishing the “Deprived of Education” group

An informed source at the time of sentencing (February 2011) said that “During the trial, the lawyer’s defense was basically not considered.” Mr. Khanjani, has not been allowed any furlough since his detention in August 2012.

Mr. Khanjani’s one-year sentence, now completed, is due to the “Sarand Camp Case.” He was one of 35 civil society activists who had gone to Varzaghan in East Azarbaijan on August 11, 2012 to help the earthquake victims. They were arrested by the police and their camp was shut down. Most of the activists were released, but due to his existing sentence of 12 years, Mr. Khanjani remained in custody.

Mr. Khanjani, now aged 31, is a former member of the “Human Rights Activists,” “Human Rights Reporters Committee,” and founder of ” The Association Opposing Educational Discrimination.”

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

May 7, 2018

Bahai home searched in Isfahan

HRANA, May 6, 2018.

On April 30, 2018, six security agents with a search warrant came to the apartment of the father of Mrs. Anisa Motahar (انیسا مطهر) in Isfahan. The warrant was dated April 3, 2018. They gained access to the building using force and threats against another resident there, and entered the home without permission. Mrs. Motahar was in the shower at the time, and her father was also in the apartment. Mrs. Motahar repeatedly objected to the seizure of books, images and CDs relating to the Bahai Faith, and non-religious items relating to her parents, but her objections were ignored by the agents, who were abusive. After seizing everything that could be evidence of the family’s Bahai beliefs, and other items of value such as mobile phones and laptops, the agents showed a summons to appear in court on May 8, the precise address being communicated to Mrs. Motahar’s father later, by telephone. They did not leave a copy of this summons or a receipt for the goods they had seized, as required by law.

Mrs. Motahar now lives in Tehran, and was visiting her parents in Isfahan. In 2010 she was one of the Bahais arrested in raids on Bahai homes in Isfahan, when she was detained for 73 days before being freed by the Review Court.

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

May 5, 2018

Bahai-run business in Tabriz to be sealed

Iran Press Watch, May 4, 2018. –

According to a report in Persian by the campaign of “No to Imprisonment and Persecution of Bahais”, a shop belonging to Ms. Shiva Isa-Khani (شیوا عیسی خانی), a Bahai in Tabriz, will be shut down and her business license is denied due to her belief in the Bahai Faith.

An informed source close to Ms. Sisa-Khani reported that she had applied for a business license after many years of hard work but at the end she received a final notice from judicial officials forcing her to close her shop. The same shop has been sealed twice in past 5 years, and on each occasion the authorities made it very difficult for her to re-open her shop.

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

May 2, 2018

Kaviz Nuzdehi arrested in Mashhad (updated)

kaviz-nordehi-1-300x200

Hamid Rezatipour, May 2, 2018.

Kaviz Nuzdehi ( کاویز نوزدهی ), a Mashhad Bahai, was arrested on May 2. Agents searched his home and seized a computer, books and laptops. He has previously served a two-year prison sentence in Vakil Abad prison, from July 2010 to June 2012. That time, the charges against him were 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.

Saba Golshan released in Isfahan


Hamid Rezataghipour, May 2, 2018.

Mr. Saba Golshan ( صبا گلشن ) has been granted conditional released from prison in Isfahan, after two and a half years in detention. As I reported yesterday, he was released with Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی) on April 30, and recalled to prison a few hours later. After spending one more night in prison, he has been granted conditional release.

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

April 30, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Gorgan


Bahai Campaign, April 29, 2018.

Kiana Sana’i (کیانا ثنایی), who has completed two semesters of undergraduate study in architecture at the private non-profit Mir-Damand Institute of Higher Education in Gorgan, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. The expulsion was initiated by the national “Educational Appraisals Agency.”

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

April 28, 2018

Bahai student expelled in Rasht


Didgaheno, April 27, 2018.

Seyyed Arash-Razavian-e Rudbardeh (سید آرش‌رضویان رودبرده), who was in his fourth semester of studies in Physics, has been expelled from Gilan University in Rasht because of his Bahai beliefs. On March 18, before the New Year break, he was told to go to the University, where he was informed that he had been expelled, and if he wanted more information he should go to the National Examinations organisation. After the holidays he did so, and was told that he had been expelled because he was not a follower of one of the four recognized religions. He asked that the reason should be put in writing, which he received, but it said only that his general qualifications were not accepted and he did not qualify for university education. This is remarkable, since Bahai students are usually given no document at all to indicate that they have been students, or have been expelled. When he asked for clarification, he received a prompt reply saying that, in accordance with a decree from the Cultural Council, he has no right to tertiary education. This is a reference to a confidential memorandum from the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council, dated February 1991, which states that Bahais must be expelled from Universities, and the progress and development of Bahais should in general be blocked. This reply also said that the “Police 10+” organization had been informed of his expulsion, in relation to his compulsory military service. This letter was signed by the Director of Educational Services at the University of Gilan.

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

April 26, 2018

Father and daughter in Shiraz sentenced to 5 years


HRANA, April 25, 2018.

On April 24, Nazanin Bangaleh (نازنین بنگاله) and her father Na`imatullah Bangaleh (نعمت الله بنگاله) were sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Shiraz to five years in prison. They were arrested following a destructive raid on their home in Shiraz on August 27, 2016. A table was smashed and seats were pulled apart. A few months earlier, goods belonging to Mr. Bankagleh were seized at customs.

Ms. Bangaleh was released on September 11, after posting bail of 175 million tumans ($US 56,000; 50,000 euros). On November 1, 2016, Mr. Bangaleh was also released on bail, which was set at 550 million tumans ($US 176,000; 157,000 euros).

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

April 24, 2018

Afif Na`imi returns to prison

HRANA, April 23, 2018.

Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran) returned to Raja’i Shahr prison on April 23, at the end of his furlough for medical treatment. He suffers serious heart problems, blood clots, lymph node problems and acute swelling of the throat. On several occasions in recent years, he has been taken from prison for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. His health problems are described as “severe,” and the prison’s Medical Examiner has determined that he is not fit for prison because of his failing health. In 2016 he was granted a furlough for medical treatment which eventually extended to five months, returning to Rajai Shahr prison on January 28 this year. His sentence was due to be fully served (i.e., without the usual early release provisions) on February 27, 2018, but the authorities have said he must serve another 10 months, apparently because his sentence was suspended on two occasions.

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

April 3, 2018

Shahab Dehqani released after four years


Iran Press Watch, March 26, 2018.

Shahab Dehqani ( شهاب دهقانی), a Bahai from Tehran was released from Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, upon the completion his four-year sentence. He was arrested in July 2012 during a massive security operation against Bahais. Nearly 20 Baha’is, in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz, were arrested in this operation. Mr. Dehqani was charged with propaganda against the regime and forming illegal assemblies, and sentenced to four years by the notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), who was also responsible for sentencing the seven “Yaran” on trumped-up charges of espionage. He reported to Evin Prison to serve his four-year on May 24, 2014. The next day, he was transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. He was granted a 3-day prison furlough in June, 2015.

Mr. Dehghani’s wife, Shomais Mohajer (شمیس مهاجر) was arrested at the same time and sentenced to one year in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime and illegal gathering. She was released on May 26, 2015.

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

April 2, 2018

Nasim Baqeri released after 4 years


HRANA, March 29, 2018.

Nasim Baqeri (نسیم باقری), one of 10 Bahais associated with the Bahai Open University (BIHE) who were tried in Tehran on March 12, 2013, has been released from Tehran’s Evin Prison at the end of her 4-year sentence. The Judge who sentenced her is the notorious abuser of human rights, Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای), who was also responsible for sentencing the “Yaran” on trumped-up charges of espionage.

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

March 20, 2018

Vahid Tizfahm released after 10 years in prison


HRANA, March 19, 2018.

Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم), one of the imprisoned “Yaran” (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran), has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison, located about an hour west of Tehran. He has served a 10-year sentence for his work in serving the Bahai community in Iran. Six of the seven Yaran have now been released after completing their sentences, while Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی) has been free on medical furlough since late October, 2017.

Background
The seven ‘Yaran’ served as national facilitators assisting the Bahais of Iran in their dealings with government organs until their arrest and imprisonment. They were appointed following the disappearance and execution of the elected leadership of the Bahais in Iran in 1980, and again in 1981. The elected leaders in many cities were also executed at that time, notably in Tehran, Tabriz, Yazd and Hamadan, where a total of 33 members of the local Bahai “Assemblies” were executed, in addition to the 18 members of the two national “Assemblies” and two assistants. In August 1983, the government declared the elected assemblies illegal. In accordance with the principle of obedience to government, the Bahais then dissolved all elected bodies. Nevertheless, seven former members of the national Assembly were arrested and executed. (see this Wikipedia article).

National and local facilitators were later appointed, principally because government bodies needed to have a Bahai representative to discuss necessary matters and to transmit government instructions to the Bahais, which were not publicised in the media. One of the most important tasks of the facilitators was to arrange for Bahai burials, as Bahais are often barred from burial in public cemeteries, and Bahai practice requires a coffin, which is not allowed in many public cemeteries.

On 5 March 2008, one of the Yaran, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت) – a schoolteacher and mother of two – was arrested having been summoned to the Iranian city of Mashhad to discuss some matters regarding a Bahai burial. Two months later, on 14 May, the other six Yaran were arrested in raids of their homes. Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi was one of these, the others being Jamaloddin Khanjani (جمال الدین خانجانی), Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), Sa`id Reza’i (سعید رضایی), Behrouz Tavakkoli (بهروز توکلی), and Vahid Tizfahm (وحید تیزفهم).

After twenty months in prison without charge, a trial began on January 12, 2010, under Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای). Throughout their long wait for justice, the seven had received barely one hour’s access to their legal counsel, and suffered appalling treatment and deprivations, including psychological and physical hardship. They were charged with spying for Israel, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and the establishment of an illegal administration – charges that were all rejected completely and categorically by the defendants. According to the defence lawyer, the charge of spying for Israel was based only on the fact that the Bahai properties in Israel are tax exempt. However Bahai properties are tax exempt in almost every country, and Islamic holy sites in Israel are tax exempt! The trial of the seven accused ended on 14 June 2010 after six brief sessions, characterized by their lack of due legal process.

The initial sentence of 20 years imprisonment for each of the defendants, met with outrage and condemnation throughout the world. One month later, the appeal court revoked three of the charges, including that of spying for Israel, and reduced their sentence to 10-year jail terms. In March 2011, the prisoners were informed that their original 20-year sentences were reinstated. In November, 2015, the 20-year sentences were again reduced to ten years. Despite repeated requests, neither the prisoners nor their attorneys have ever received official copies of the original verdict or the ruling on appeal.

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