Sen's daily

March 27, 2017

Four arrests in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), March 28, 2017.

On the morning of March 28, security agents went to a home in Isfahan that is shared by four Bahais: Ehsan Eshtiyaq (احسان اشتیاق), Enayat Na`imi (عنایت نعیمی), Farzad Homayouni (فرزاد همایونی) and Soroush Pezeshki (سروش پزشکی), and arrested them. It is not known where they are being detained. Soroush Pezeshki has previously served a one year sentence, beginning in November 2010, although he was released on parole on April 27, 2011 after serving half of his sentence. Another Bahai in Isfahan, Ehsanullah Ishtiyaq (احسان الله اشتیاق) served the same sentence and was released with Mr. Pezeshki, and likewise Enayatollah Na`imi (عنایت الله نعیمی). It is very likely therefore that the arrestee named in this report as Ehsan Eshtiyaq is Ehsanullah Eshtiyaq, and that Enayat Na`imi is Enayatollah Na`imi: three veteran prisoners of conscience. I have no information about Farzad Homayouni.

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

March 26, 2017

Liza Tebyanian free on bail in Karaj


Bahai News (Persian), March 27, 2017.

Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی) ) was freed on bail on March 26. She was arrested on March 16, and held in Raja’i Shahr prison. Further details can be found in the report of her arrest.

Shamim Na’imi released after 3 years in prison


Bahai News (Persian), March 17, 2017.

Shamim Na’imi ( شمیم نعیمی), a Bahai from Tehran, has been released from Raja’i Shahr prison at the end of a 3-year prison sentence. His mother Elham Faramani (الهام فراهانی) and his father `Adel Na`imi (عادل نعیمی) are both serving prison terms for their Bahai beliefs. Shamim Na’imi was among a group of almost 20 Bahais who were arrested in early July, 2012, in Tehran, Mashhad and Shiraz. He began his sentence on May 11, 2014, in Evin Prison, and was transferred to Raja’i Shahr, where many male Bahai prisoners and other prisoners of conscience are held, shortly after.

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

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi begins her prison sentence


Bahai News (Persian), March 26, 2017.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested on March 19 and taken to Adel Abad prison to begin serving a 2-year sentence.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. 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, but one informed source indicates that yet a third case against her is being prepared by the Ministry of Intelligence.

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

March 25, 2017

Navid Moallem arrested in Minudasht


Iran Press Watch, March 23, 2017.

Based on a Bahai News report, Navid Moallem (نوید معلم), a Bahai resident of Minudasht in Golestan Province, was arrested on March 13, in front of his place of business, and transferred to prison. [The date and day of the week in the Persian report are inconsistent. March 10 and 17 are also possible dates.]

Based on this report, Mr. Moallem and his wife, Kamelia Bidelian (کاملیا بیدلیان) [also reported as Bideli / بیدلی], had previously been sentenced to one year and six-months imprisonment as part of a case named “Bahais Arrested in Golestan Province.”

According to informed sources: “Navid Moallem was arrested by security agents outside his business. The security agents went to his home to arrest his wife, Mrs. Camelia Bidelian. However, Mrs. Bidelian has not been arrested, as she was not home.” This informed source said: “The agents mentioned that Navid Moallemi has been transferred to prison merely to answer some questions.”

Another informed source has conveyed that within the past few days, security agents also went to the home of one of the other Bahais who has been sentenced to imprisonment, but he has not been arrested, since he was not home. Based on this report, security agents in this province are eager to implement the prison terms of those Bahai citizens who had previously been sentenced by the court of appeals.

During the original court hearing, 22 Bahais of Golestan Province who were , arrested on October 17, 2012 were sentenced to a total of 193 years of imprisonment. Following their hearings at the court of appeals, it was announced that Farah Tebyanian (فرح تبيانيان), Puna Sana’i ( پونه ثنایی), Mona Amri Hesari (مونا امري حصاري), Behnam Hassani (بهنام حسني), Parisa Shahidi ( پریسا شهیدی ), Mojdeh Zouhori (مژده ظهوري), Parivash Shoja`i ( پریوش شجاعی ), Tina Mauhabati ( تینا موهبتی ) and Hana Aqiqiyan (هنا عقیقیان), all from Gorgan; Shohreh Samimi (شهره صمیمی) from Minudasht; Bita Hedayati (بيتا هدايتي), Vesaq Sana’i ()وثاق سنايي and Hana Kushkabaghi ( هنا کوشکباغی ) from Gonbad-e Qabus had their prison sentences reduced from 9 years to one year and nine months. According to this report, the one year and nine month prison sentence of Tina Mohebati (تینا موهبتی) was later overturned, and she was sentenced to pay a three million tuman (approx US$925) fine.

Rufeya Pakzadan ( روفیا پاکزادان), Soudabeh Mehdinezhad ( سودابه مهدی نژاد ), Mitra Nouri ( میترا نوری ), Shiva Rouhani ( شیوا روحانی ), Houshmand Dehqan (هوشمند دهقان), Mariyam Dehqan (مريم دهقان) and Nazi Tahqiqi (نازي تحقیقی), all from Gorgan, along with Kamelia Bideli (کاملیا بیدلی) and Navid Moalem (نوید معلم) from Minudasht, had their sentences reduced from 6 years to 18 months.

The review court did not anounce 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.

The Bahais were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism) in Golestan Province. The sentencing by the court of appeals of Shahnam Jazbani (from Minudasht) and Shayda Ghoddousi (from Gorgan), who were each sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment, has yet not been communicated to them.

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

Liza Tebyanian arrested in Karaj


Iran Press Watch, March 15, 2017.

According to a Bahai News report, Liza Tebyanian Enayati (لیزا تبیانیان ( عنایتی) ), a Bahai resident of Karaj in Alborz Province, was arrested by security officers on March 16, 2017. [The earlier uncertainty as to the date has been resolved ~ Sen]

Bahai News reports that six security officers entered her home with a warrant, and after searching it and confiscating her personal property, including religious and non-religious books; laptops and so forth, arrested her. Her family still does not have any information about her whereabouts.

Previously, the business of her husband, Mansour Enayati (منصور عنایتی), was sealed by government agents from the Office of Public Places because he is an adherent of the Bahai religion. In September, 2016, his daughter and her husband, Ahdiyyeh Enayati (عهدیه عنایتی) and Sahba Maslahi (صهبا مصلحی), were arrested in Shiraz.

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

March 11, 2017

Two Bahai businesses shut by authorities in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), March 10, 2017.

On March 9, police and agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and the Ministry of Penal Affairs (تعزیرات), along with a judge, went to one business in Karaj that is run by two Bahais, Farid and Farnush Pasha’i (فرید و فرنوش پاشایی) in the Gohardasht neighbourhood of Karaj, where they sealed the premises. The pretext was ‘sexual contraband.’ Although the owners presented invoices of their purchases to show that the articles were not contraband, the officers were uninterested, and returned on March 10 to confiscate all the business stock. [Under Iran’s economic apartheid system, Bahais are not permitted to provide many items of food, drink and personal services to Muslims, since Bahais are ‘unclean.’ But the rules are unwritten, or what is written is circulated confidentially, making it difficult for Bahais to know what they may and may not sell. A broad list of market sectors closed to Bahais was published on this blog in 2015, but the rules are constantly changing ~ Sen]

Government officers also went to a newly-opened business run by another Bahai, Arash Kazemi (آرش کاظمی) in the “Golshahr Metri 45” neighbourhood of Karaj. They shuttered the premises.

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

March 9, 2017

Two more Bahai students expelled from universities


Bahai News (Persian), March 2017.

In separate reports dated March 4 and March 6, Bahai News reports on the expulsion of Mahsa Sha`erzadeh (مهسا شاعرزاده) and Puya Azami Aqjeh (پویا اعظمی اقجه).

Ms. Mahsa Sha`erzadeh, a Bahai living in Ramhormoz, in Khuzestan, was expelled from the campus of Payam-e Nour University in Rahhormoz because of her Bahai beliefs. She was taking a Bachelor’s course in Applied Chemistry, and had passed her final exams and gained 70 credits. She was summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence in the city and pressured to officially withdraw from her course. She refused, but was expelled on March 1, 2017, and was given no documentation.

Mr. Puya Azami Aqjeh, a Bahai from Tehran, was expelled from the Rudehen campus of the Free Islamic University. He was in the first semester of a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. In January 2016, he found himself barred from the final examination for the semester, and was told that he had no right to university education because he was a Bahai. He is the sixth Bahai student expelled from this University in recent months.

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

March 8, 2017

One arrest in Rey: Mrs. Sima Keyani


Bahai News (Persian), March 8, 2017.

Sima Keyani (سیما کیانی), a Bahai living in Rey (on the outskirts of Tehran), was arrested at her home by security forces on the morning of March 8. Her home was also searched, and a pickup truck was used to take away her religious books, along with religious images and family photographs. Her place of detention is not yet known, but it is likely she would be taken to Evin prison.

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

March 7, 2017

Haleh Gholami free on bail


Bahai News (Persian), March 7, 2017.

Haleh Gholami (هاله غلامی), a Bahai from Tehran who has been detained in Evin Prison since January 27, was freed on bail on March 6. She was arrested because of her activism in child protection matters, such as the care of orphans, and for participating in a charity working to suppress child labour. At the time of her arrest her home was searched by security agents who confiscated her mobile phones and tablets.

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

March 5, 2017

Bahai home raided in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), March 3, 2017.

At 8 a.m. on Friday, March 3, a number of agents from the Revolutionary Guards raided the home of Mrs. Anusha Afshar-Reza’i (انوشا افشار ( رضایی)) in Shiraz. They forced an entrance and searched her home, seizing religious books, personal and religious photographs, a laptop, mobile telephones and memory sticks.

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

March 4, 2017

Contradictory statements by Mazandaran Attorney General on the closure of 94 Bahai businesses


Iran Press Watch, March 3, 2017.

According to HRANA, the news arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, over 100 days have passed since the simultaneous closing of 94 business units belonging to Bahais in Mazandaran. During this time, the Attorney General of Mazandaran, Assadollah Jafari ( اسدالله جعفری), has issued contradictory statements regarding his role in the closure and sealing of the businesses of Bahais.

According to several of the Bahai business owners in Mazandaran whose businesses have been sealed, over the first few days following the closing of the businesses, provincial Attorney General Jafari responded by saying: “I personally signed the order to seal Bahai business and trade units and officers of the Office of Private Property are merely carrying out my orders.” He also said that Bahais were planning propaganda against the regime by closing their businesses on Bahai religious holidays. This was the reason for preventing the cases regarding the closure of the Bahai businesses from reaching the court, or from being addressed by the courts.

At the same time, a warrant signed by provincial Attorney General Jafari was located in the district attorney offices of a number of cities. This warrant contained orders to seal any Bahai business that closes on the 1st and 2nd of November. In another letter addressed to the Deputy Intelligence and Security Offices of Mazandaran Province, it was stated that Bahais take orders from Israel, that they intend to disturb the security of the province, and that that was why it was requested that if they close their shops and businesses on their religious holiday on the 1st and 2nd of November their business units were to be sealed.

Over two months ago Assadollah Jafari told several Bahais whose units had been sealed that “I swear on the Quran that I have no role in sealing the shops and businesses of Bahais in Mazandaran province, I never signed the warrant to seal the trade units, and did not order officers of the Office of Private Property to close your businesses! If you feel that the officers committed a violation, you can submit a complaint against them and be confident that it will be dealt with.” However, there continues to be a refusal [by the courts] to address the issue of the sealing of Bahai businesses.”

Under Article 32 of the Code of Criminal Law, management and oversight of the judiciary is up to the prosecutor. Also, according to Clause 1 of Article 28 of the Law on trade, the closure of any trade unit must be done with the knowledge of trade unions (trade guilds), and the Office of Private Property is the executive liaison to the unions. The unions said that they had no knowledge of the reason for the sealing of the Bahai Businesses in Mazandaran and they had no role in these closures.

Attorney General Jafari, despite an order from the Chief Justice of the Mazandaran Province Judiciary – Hojjatol-Islam Taghavi Fard (حجه الاسلام تقوی فرد) ‒ on December 14, 2016, refused to pursue an inquiry in this regard which was submitted to him. The text of the paragraph from the Chief Justice of Mazandaran Province is as follows:

“Mr. Jafari, according to the records, please review and announce the resulting decisions. Chief Justice Taghavi Fard.”

It should be noted that in March 2012, the European Union imposed sanctions on Attorney General Assadollah Jafari for human rights violations, including some against Bahais in Mazandaran.

Persian source: HRANA

March 1, 2017

Keyvan Pakzadan sentenced to 5 years in prison


Bahai News (Persian), March 1, 2017.

Keyvan Pakzadan (کیوان پاکزادان), a Bahai from Tehran, who was arrested as he was leaving his sister’s home on June 1, 2016, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای). Judge Moqayesseh was also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran) and more recently the artist Shahriar Cyrus (شهریار سیروس), who was also given five years in prison.

Mr. Pakzadan was arrested as he was leaving his sister’s home. At the time of his arrest, agents not only searched his home and workplace and seized some of his personal effects, they also searched through his sister and brother-in-law’s effects and seized a laptop, flash drives, contracts, a Will, receipts, signed cheques and working notes. He was held for 34 days before being released on bail. Some of his possessions and those of his sister were also returned to them. He was tried on January 22, and the sentence was haded down on February 27, on the charge of “membership of Bahai organisations.”

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

February 26, 2017

Faruq Izadinia free on bail


Bahai News (Persian, facebook), February 26, 2017.

Faruq Izadinia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ) was released on bail from Evin Prison in Tehran this morning (February 26). Mir. Izadinia, a well-known Bahai scholar, writer, and translator, was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12. Agents from the security forces seized about 1300 books and various electronic equipment and personal effects.

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February 24, 2017

69-year-old invalid arrested in Tehran


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 21, 2017.

At 7.30 a.m. on February 21, three male and one female security agent arrested Sorur Forughi Mahdiabadi (سرور فروغی مهدی آبادی) in Tehran, and took her to Evin Prison. She is described as a 69-year old resident of Yazd, suffering from cancer and high blood pressure, who had gone to Tehran to celebrate the marriage of her son, planned for February 23.

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

February 22, 2017

Farzan Ma`sumi and Farhad Sabet bailed in Shiraz

The logo to the left is that of the Revolutionary Guards, whose intelligence arm imprisoned the two Bahais

The logo to the left is that of the Revolutionary Guards, whose intelligence arm imprisoned the two Bahais


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 22, 2017.

Farzan Ma`sumi (فرزان معصومی) and Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت) were freed on bail on the morning of February 22. They were arrested on the morning of February 12, when their homes were searched and religious and non-religous books, mobile phones and computers were seized, along with family photos and religious images. They were held at the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Detention Center (Detention Facility 100) in Shiraz. Bail was set at 200 million tumans each (59,000 euros ; $US 62,000).

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

February 21, 2017

Four Bahai detainees freed in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 21, 2017.

On February 20, four of the Bahai detainees in Yazd were released after 33 days in detention. Bail was set at 180 million tumans (52,000 euros ; $US 55,000). Those released are Farzad Rouhani (فرزاد روحاني), Mehran Bandi (مهران بندي), Ramin Hasouri (رامين حصوري) and Ahmad Na`imi (احمد نعيمي). They were arrested in the course of raids on Bahai homes in Yazd on January 18, when masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers.

February 20, 2017

Sholeh Ram and Shayan Rahimi released on bail


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 20, 2017.

Sholeh Ram (شعله رام) and her husband Shayan Rahimi (شایان رحیمی), Bahais living in Zahedan, have been released on bail after 20 days in detention. They were arrested by Security agents at 10.30 a.m. on February 1. At that time, it was said that they would be charged with activities contrary to national security.

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

February 15, 2017

Trial of Hamed bin Haydara in Yemen postponed again

A photo from April, 2016.

A photo from April, 2016.


Bahai Campaign, February 14, 2017.

The trial of a Bahai citizen, Hamed bin Haydara, in Sana’a, Yemen, has been postponed for the seventh time. He has been imprisoned without trial since December 3, 2013. In April 2016, the Prosecutor asked for two months to gather evidence, although Mr. bin Haydara had at that point been imprisoned for 28 months. It would appear that no evidence has been found to sustain the various charges against him. Further background to his detention is given in an earlier report on this blog.

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

Shahram Eshraqi granted prison furlough


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 15, 2017.

Shahram Eshraqi (شهرام اشراقی), a Bahai who is serving a 3-year sentence in Block 3 of Isfahan Prison, has been granted a one-month furlough for medical treatment. He is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, and served in the front lines. This is the fourth time he has gone to prison for his Bahai beliefs. He is one of 20 Bahais who were sentenced to a total of 78 years in prison by a court in Yazd in April, 2014, and began his sentence in Isfahan on October 11, 2015. He has had health problems because of prison conditions, and his health deteriorated after he was transferred to Block 3, where conditions are particularly bad.

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Details of the arrest of Faruq Izadinia


HRANA, February 14, 2017.

Faruq Izadi-nia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), a well-known Bahai scholar, writer, and translator living in Tehran, was arrested when his home was raided at 10.30 a.m. on February 12. Agents from the security forces seized about 1300 books and various electronic equipment and personal effects. He is now under interrogation in Evin prison, and his daughter has been told the interrogation will last 10 days. He is accused of illegal activities against national security. This is his thrid arrest. He was arrested and condemned to death in the 1980s. His sentence was later commuted to 10 years in prison, and he was freed after five years. He was arrested again in 1996. Family members said that he is currently physically weak and ill. Among his symptoms are frequent bleeding of the nose, which doctors have not been able to explain. At the time of his arrest he was suffering from pain on the left side of his body, and he has low blood pressure and a low heartbeat rate.

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

February 13, 2017

New arrests in Tehran and Shiraz

Faruq Izadi-nia

Faruq Izadi-nia


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 12, 2017.

On the morning of February 12, security agents arrested Faruq Izadi-nia (فاروق ایزدی نیا ), a Bahai living in Tehran who has already served two prison terms for his religious beliefs. He is a scholar and translator. It is presumed he has been taken to Evin Prison.

In Shiraz, security forces searched the home of (فرزان معصومی) and arrested him. This is in addition to the arrest of Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت), also on the morning of February 12.

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

February 12, 2017

One new arrest in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 12, 2017.

Farhad Sabet (فرهام ثابت), a young Bahai from Shiraz, was arrested by security forces for the Province of Fars on the morning of February 12. He was taken to “Detention Facility 100” which is operated by the Ministry of Intelligence.

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

February 11, 2017

Assets seized from 10 Bahai-run businesses in Karaj and Fardis

Bahai News (Persian, Facebook), February 6, 2017.

During the first week of February, government agents have opened up 10 of the Bahai-run businesses in Karaj and Fardis (two adjoining towns to the West of Tehran) that have been closed down by the authorities, taken away all the stock and other requisites, and re-sealed the premises.

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Three Bahais arrested in Kerman

Bahai News (Persian and English), February 9, 2017.

On February 8, 2017, security forces in Kerman arrested Ehsan Amiri-nia (احسان امیری نیا), Arman Bandi (آرمان بندی) and Nima Rajab-zadeh (نیما رجب زاده), and then searched their homes.

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

February 9, 2017

Uzzatallah Kharram bailed in Yazd


Bahai News (Persian), February 5, 2017.

On February 5, Uzzatallah Kharram (عزت الله خرم) was freed on bail from Yazd Prison, after 20 days in detention. He was one of seven Bahais arrested in home raids in Yazd on the morning of January 18, and held in detention by the Ministry of Intelligence. During the raids, masked agents seized religious books, flash memory sticks and computers. The names of the other Bahais arrested that day are Farzad Rouhani (فرزاد روحاني), Nateqeh Na`imi (ناطقه نعيمي), Mehran Eslami (مهران اسلامي), Mehran Bandi (مهران بندي), Ramin Hasouri (رامين حصوري) and Ahmad Na`imi (احمد نعيمي). One of these, Nateqeh Na`imi, was released without bail a few hours later, but the other five remain under interrogation at the Ministry of Intelligence detention facility.

Mr. Azzatullah Khorram was also one of 17 Bahais who were arrested in Yazd in early August, 2016.

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

February 7, 2017

Ruhiyyeh Zaynali free on bail in Kerman


Bahai News (Persian), February 5, 2017.

Ruhiyyeh Zaynali (روحیه زینلی), a Bahai who was arrested in Kerman on January 3, has been released after posting bail of 100 million tumans (29,000 euros; $US 31,000). After her arrest she was held for prolonged interrogation by the Ministry of Intelligence, before being transferred to the Kerman Provincial Prison. Her husband Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) was arrested during a violent raid on the their home on December 30, 2016, and is apparently still being held by the Ministry of Intelligence. The couple have two children, aged 7 and 16.

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Bahai student expelled from a non-profit university in Mashhad

Bahai News (Persian), February 1, 2017.

Sougol Kazemi-Bahnamiri (سوگل کاظمی بهنمیری) has been expelled from the Non-Profit University in Mashhad, where she had reached the fifth semester of a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Enginering, because of her Bahai beliefs. The discovered she had been expelled when she tried to access her personal page on the University’s web site on January 23. Her access was blocked. She went first to the IT services department, who sent her to the Education Office, who knew nothing about her expulsion. That office sent her back to the Director of the Education Office, who made further enquiries with the National Organisation for Educational Testing, who said that her student portal had been closed, but this was to be confidential. When she asked whether she had been expelled, the Education Office told her, “No, but until the Testing Organisation says that the problem with your file has been resolved, you are barred from further study and cannot follow classes in the coming semester.” She then went to the Ministry of Education and the Testing Organisation, but as of January 28 she had received no response, and there has also been no official documentation of the her expulsion.

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Two Bahais arrested in Zahedan


Iran Press Watch, February 2, 2017.

Sholeh Ram (شعله رام) and her husband Shayan Rahimi (شایان رحیمی), Bahais living in the city of Zahedan, were arrested by Security agents on the morning of February 1, and were transferred to an unknown location. An informed said, “Yesterday morning [at 10.30 am], they arrested Mrs. Ram at her father’s workplace, and then went to the business premises of Mr. Rahimi and arrested him.” Another source said that this was the first time these Bahais had been arrested, and the arresting agents said they would be charged with “activities against national security.”

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February 6, 2017

Afif Na`imi returns to Rajai Shahr prison


Bahai News (Persian), January 28, 2017.

Afif Na`imi (عفیف نعیمی), one of the seven imprisoned ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran), returned to Rajai Shahr prison on January 28. He has served 8 years of a 10-year sentence, and was granted a furlough for medical treatment which eventually extended to five months. On several occasions in recent years, he has been taken from prison to a heart disease hospital in Tehran for treatment, only to be returned to prison with the treatment incomplete. He suffers from blood clots and recurrent fainting (apparently due to the effects of blood thinning drugs to reduce the risk of brain hemorrhage). 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.

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One arrest in Tehran


Iran Press Watch, February 2, 2017.

The website of Human Rights in Iran reports: on January 27 Haleh Gholami (هاله غلامی), a Bahai from Tehran, was detained by security agents in the Shahrara area of Tehran because of her belief in the Bahai Faith, as she was participating in charity work for child laborers. Bahai News reported that after her arrest, they searched her home and confiscated her mobile phones and tablets.

Two arrests in Isfahan

Bahai News (Persian), January 26, 2016.

On January 24, security forces raided the home of Manouchehr Rahmani (منوچهر رحمانی) and Mohsen Mehrgani (محسن مهرگانی), which they searched thoroughly, seizing their religious books and personal effects. They were arrested and taken away, and their present whereabouts is unknown.

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February 2, 2017

Tina Mauhabati’s prison sentence commuted to a fine


Bahai News (Persian), January 31, 2017.

Tina Mauhabati ( تینا موهبتی ), a Bahai originally from Gorgan in Golestan Province, has been fined 3 million tumans (860 euros; $US 930). This fine replaces her previous sentence of one year and nine months, which was not implemented because she was less than 18 years old when she was sentenced. At the time of her arrest she was living in Tehran, and was arrested at the bus station in Gorgan on the evening of October 23, 2012, as she was waiting for the bus to Tehran. She was held for 24 days before being released on bail. She was charged with propaganda against the regime, apparently connected to a prayer meeting. She is one of 24 Bahais from Golestan province who were given very heavy sentences in January, 2016, sentences which were greatly reduced by the Review Court in November, 2016. They were charged with crimes such as collaborating with hostile states by promoting the interests of a sect and of anti-Muslim and anti-Shiah arrogant governments, and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic and in favor of the Bahai Faith through participation in Ruhi projects in Golestan province.”

Tina Mauhabati’s sentence was initially 9 years in prison, later reduced to 21 months, and now commuted to a fine. Because she will be ‘credited’ with the time she has already been imprisoned, the amount she will actually have to pay is 1.8 million tumans.

Latest news from the Bahais in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), January 24, 2017.

On the morning of January 24, security forces searched the home of Muhammad Tadrisi (محمد تدریسی), a Bahai living in Yazd, and arrested him. He was taken to the jail run by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was released on bail on February 1. About four years ago, his home was searched and photographs and other personal effects were seized.

Also on the morning of January 24, Mrs. Shabnam Motahed (شبنم متحد) was released from prison after serving a two-year sentence. Her husband Mr. Eyman Rashidi (ایمان رشیدی) is serving a three-year sentence. Both entered prison on March 18, 2015. They were among 20 Bahais who were arrested in August, 2011, and given heavy prison terms in April, 2014.

As previously reported, Mahbod Ettehadi (مهبد اتحادی), another Bahai from Yazd, was released on bail on January 23 after a 3-week interrogation period, and Mrs. Fariba Ashtari (فریبا اشتری) was released on January 13, after serving a 2-year sentence. On the morning of January 18, security officers arrested seven other Bahais in Yazd.

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January 25, 2017

Mahbod Ettehadi bailed in Yazd


Bahai News (Persian), January 23, 2017.

Mahbod Ettehadi (مهبد اتحادی), a 23-year-old Bahai living in Yazd who was arrested by security forces on the morning of January 1, has been released on bail after being detained for 23 days by the Ministry of Intelligence. He was arrested at his workplace, a travel agency. The arresting agents gave no reason for his arrest. They took him to his home, which they searched.

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January 22, 2017

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan bailed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), January 22, 2017.

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh (کوروش شریف زاده) and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan (فواد میثاقیان), Bahais from Karaj who were arrested on January 19, have been freed on bail of 300 million tumans and 120 million tumans, respectively ($US 92,000 and $US 37,000 respectively). After their arrest they were transferred to Ghezel Hazar prison. Follow the arrest of Mr. Sharif-zadeh, he was taken in handcuffs to his business (which had previously been closed by the authorities), and all his stock was confiscated. The two men are (apparently) joint owners of Sam Optics in Karaj, which has been shut down by the authorities because of their Bahai beliefs. It is one of over 90 Bahai-run businesses that were closed down in various places in November, 2016.

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January 20, 2017

Two Bahai men forcibly disappeared in Yemen


Amnesty International, January 19, 2017.

Heshmat Alah Ali Mohammad Sabet Sarvestani and his son-in-law Nadim al-Sakkaf have been arbitrarily detained in Yemen, without charge and subjected to enforced disappearance, since January 11. They have been held incommunicado in an unknown location without access to their families or lawyers, raising fears they might be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

On 11 January, Nadim al-Sakkaf drove Heshmat Alah Sarvestani to the international airport in Yemen’s southern city of Aden. Heshmat Alah Sarvestani was due to board a Yemenia flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to renew his Iranian passport and receive medical treatment. He is 75 years old and suffers from various medical ailments, including arterial hypertension — a rare form of high blood pressure — and a slipped disc. At around 2pm, while at the check-in desk, the two men were approached by an airport officer dressed in civilian clothing who ushered Nadim al-Sakkaf into an office for questioning. Hesmat Alah Sarvestani was called into the same office shortly after. Neither has been seen since. The Yemeni authorities have refused to disclose their whereabouts.

Amnesty International has issued an “urgent action” call because of the dissappearance of the two men,
+ calling on the Yemeni authorities to disclose the fate and whereabouts of Heshmat Alah Sarvestani and Nadim al-Sakkaf and release them immediately and unconditionally, unless they are to be charged with a recognizable criminal offence, in line with international law and standards; and
+ urging them to ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment and granted, without delay, regular access to their families, lawyers and any medical treatment they may require.

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January 19, 2017

Seven Bahais arrested in Yazd

Bahai News (Persian), January 18, 2017.

On the morning of January 18, security officers arrested Farzad Rouhani (فرزاد روحاني), Nateqeh Na`imi (ناطقه نعيمي), Mehran Eslami (مهران اسلامي), Mehran Bandi (مهران بندي), Ramin Hasouri (رامين حصوري), Ahmad Na`imi (احمد نعيمي) and Uzzatallah Kharram (عزت الله خرم).

Mrs. Nateq Na’imi (ناطقه نعیمی) has been imprisoned previously, and was only released on August 16, 2016. Mehran Bandi has also been imprisoned for his beliefs: on October 3, 2010, he was reported to be serving a 3-year sentence in the prison of Zabul. In February 2014 his home was the target of a raid, and in August, 2016, his home and workplace in Yazd were raided. Mr. Azzatullah Khorram was one of 17 Bahais who were arrested in Yazd in early August, 2016.

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Two Bahai business-owners arrested in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), January 19, 2017.

Kouroush Sharif-zadeh (کوروش شریف زاده) and Fo’ad Mithaqiyan (فواد میثاقیان), Bahais from Karaj whose optician’s workshop has been shut down by the authorities because of their Bahai beliefs, were summoned to the Office of Suspensions (a department of the Ministry of Justice), and arrested when they arrived. They were taken away from the Office of Suspensions, and their present whereabouts is not known. Kouroush Sharif-zadeh has been previously mentioned on this blog, as the owner of Sam Optics in Karaj, one of over 90 Bahai-run businesses that were closed down in various places in November, 2016.

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January 18, 2017

Six Bahai students expelled in Rudehen


Bahai News (Persian), January 17, 2017.

On December 31, 2016, six students were expelled from the Islamic Free University in Ruhdehen (Roodehen), because of their Bahai beliefs. After confirming their identity (as enrolled students), Sana Hourbakht (ثنا هوربخت), Janahgir Hedayati (جهانگیر هدایتی) and four others who have not given permission to use their names found they were blocked from the student’s part of the university web site and, after various efforts to follow up on this, found that their expulsion was directly related to the head of the University’s security department.

Sana Hourbakht sat the national University Entrance examination in the previous academic year, and was faced with the “incomplete file” excuse that is used to bar Bahai students from universities, but he was nevertheless able to enroll at the Free University to study architectural engineering. But on December 28 he, like the other five Bahai students at the university, found his personal page had been blocked and that he no longer had user access as a student.

Janahgir Hedayati was in his fifth semester of a degree in Computers and Applications, and just two weeks before his expulsion the Chancellor of the Free University had awarded him a wall plaque (pictured above) in recognition of his academic excellence. He too sat the national University Entrance examinations and received only the result “file incomplete,” but was able to enroll at the university as a “free” student, without UE results.

The other expelled students likewise had given their religion as “Bahai” on enrolling, and found they were expelled when they were blocked from the university web site. There is no evidence of who took the decision or blocked their accounts, but only university officials have that access to the web site. When they followed up, the Chancellor’s office told them to go to the Security Department [which is an arm of the Ministry of Intelligence, not controlled by the University ~ Sen]. when they went to the Security Department, their mobile phones were confiscated [to prevent them recording the interview ?] and the Head of Security told them “do not come to the University, you know why you have been expelled.” From the University Administration they learned that the officials there had no idea why they had been expelled, only that there was a red star beside their names in the list of students. The officials said to ask the Security Office what it meant.

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January 15, 2017

Bahai student expelled in Isfahan


Bahai News (Persian), January 16, 2017.

Ma’ideh As-sadat Hosseini-rad (مایده السادات حسینی راد), a Bahai from Isfahan, has been expelled from university because of her Bahai beliefs. She was not given any documentation of her expulsion, or evidence of the grades she had achieved.

Following the national university entrance examinations she was excluded from study, with the excuse of “incomplete file,” but she was able to resolve that issue (the details are not specified) through contact with the National Organisation for Educational Testing, allowing her to enrol at the Technical University of Isfahan to study mathematics and statistics. But following the examinations at the end of the first semester she was excluded from the University’s web site and contacted to say that the National Organisation had not confirmed her eligibility to enrol, and she should go to the Organisation with any questions. When she did go to the Organisation, accompanied by her mother, for an interview with the head of student selections. He said the issue was a long-standing one, and that he was a supporter of the Bahais, to which Miss Hosseini-rad replied that there had been no improvement in the situation for Bahais over the years. He said the fault lay with the Ministry of Intelligence, not the Ministry of Science and Technology.

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January 14, 2017

Fariba Ashtari released from prison


Bahai News (Persian), January 13, 2017.

Mrs. Fariba Ashtari (فریبا اشتری) was released from prison in Yazd on January 13, after serving a 2-year sentence which commenced on February 21, 2015. She has also been given a 12-month suspended sentence (probation), which will begin now. An active Bahai, and a psychologist, she is one of 20 Bahais who were arrested in central Iran in August 2012. They were charged with propaganda against the regime and participation in Bahai community activities. Her husband Nasser Baqeri (ناصر باقری) and her son Fa’iz Baqeri (فایز باقری) have also been imprisoned for their faith in Yazd.

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January 12, 2017

Bahai business reopened in Karaj


Campaign against harrassment of Bahais, January 6. 2017.

An office fittings business operated by Kambiz and Kourush Sadeqi ( کامبیز و کوروش صدقی), two Bahai brothers living in Karaj, has been allowed to reopen. In the last three months, at least 140 Bahai-owned businesses have been sealed by the authorities because they were closed on Bahai religious holidays. Most remain sealed.

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Another student expelled in Shiraz


HRANA, January 12, 2017.

Nazanin Niku-seresht ( نازنین نیکو سرشت), a student of English Literature at the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Shiraz University, has been expelled after two and a half months of study because of her Bahai beliefs. On December 28, 2016, when she checked the University web site to see her grades, she found the list was blank. When she enquired at the Faculty, she was told the University’s central administration had sent a letter saying her university studies had been stopped. The letter was signed by Dr. Muhammad-`Ali Masnadi Shiraz (محمدعلی مسندی شیراز), the head of educational affairs at the University. University officials said the decision was made by the Lecturer and Student Selection Committee in Tehran on December 12, and covered the expulsion of six students [for various reasons]. She was told she would have to contact the Committee for further details, but was not allowed a copy of the letter.

Mrs. Niku-seresht was one of the 129 Bahai university applicants who were rejected this academic year, with the excuse “incomplete file.” But she enquired about the nature of the “incomplete file,” and in the meantime was able to enroll and begin studies. Her further enquiries to the national body responsible for the university entrance requirements received not answer. But when she looked at Shiraz University, where she had applied, she found her name on the list of new students. She chose her courses and was given a student number and ID card.

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January 10, 2017

Three home searches, two arrests, widespread interrogations in Borazjan


Iran Press Watch, January 3, 2017.

Agents from the Intelligence Protection Organisation (سازمان حفاظت اطلاعات سپاه پاسداران) arrested Maryam Bashir (مریم بشیر) and Borhan Ismaili (رهان اسماعیلی), two Bahai residents of Borazjan in Bushehr province, on the morning of January 2, 2017.

The agents searched their homes from 8 AM to 12 PM on Monday, 2 January 2017, and confiscated personal belongings, including mobile telephones, religious books and laptop. According to informed sources they then took them to a prison run by the Organisation, then to a court, and finally to Borazjan prison.

According to a source close to the family, the security forces showed their families only a letter, saying they should go to the court on the following day.

The security forces also went to the home of Farshad Taqavi (فرشاد تقوی) in Borazjan, searched the house and confiscated some of his belongings, including his mobile telephone, laptop, religious books and photos, but this Bahai was not arrested.

Maryam Bashir (pictured following her release) was freed on bail two days later. Bail was set at 120 million tumans (35,000 euros ; $US 37,000). Borhan Ismaili was freed after posting bail of the same amount on January 7.

In the days following the two arrests, the Organisation summoned and interrogated Minu Bashir (مینو بشیر), Farang Shaykhi (فرانک شیخی) — the wife of Borhan Ismaili — and Haydeh Ram (هایده رام), the wife of Farshad Taqavi.

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January 9, 2017

One arrest in Yazd


Bahai News (Persian), January 1, 2017.

Mahbod Ettehadi (مهبد اتحادی), a 23-year-old Bahai living in Yazd, was arrested by security forces on the morning of January 1. Initial reports suggested that he was being detained by the Ministry of Intelligence, but as of today (January 10) there is no further news of him. He was arrested at his workplace, in a travel agency. The arresting agents gave no reason for his arrest. They took him to his home, which they searched.

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January 8, 2017

Wife of Samir Khalousi arrested in Kerman


Bahai News (Persian), January 3, 2017.

Ruhiyyeh Zaynali (روحیه زینلی), a Bahai living in Kerman, was summoned twice to the Provincial Office of the Ministry of Intelligence on two successive days. On the second occasion, on January 3, she was arrested. Her husband Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) was arrested during a violent raid on the their home on December 30, 2016, and is still being interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence. Both are accused of propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. Mr. Khalousi suffers from a skin disease that requires medications, but the Ministry of Intelligence has not allowed him to receive the medication. The imprisoned couple have two children, aged 7 and 16.

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January 4, 2017

Iqan Shahidi released after 5 years in prison


Bahai News (Persian), January 1, 2017.

Iqan Shahidi (ایقان شهیدی), a Bahai from Kermanshah, was released from Raja’i Shahr prison on January 1, at the end of a five-year sentence for his activism for equality of educational opportunities in Iran. Mr. Shahidi was successful in the University Entrance exams in 2007, but was excluded from tertiary education because he is a Bahai. The authorities used the excuse of “file incomplete” – which is to say, it lacked the word “Muslim.” He became active in the campaign against educational discrimination, and was arrested along with a number of other human rights activists, including four Bahais, on March 2, 2010, in Kermanshah. He was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran and held in wing 2A for 71 days. During this time he was subjected to prolonged interrogation and physical and psychological torture. He and Sama Nourani ( سما نورانی ), another Bahai who had been denied university admission, were pressured to make televised confessions. At that time he was about 21 years old. He was released on bail of 50 million tumans (at that time worth about 35000 euros) on May 11, 2010.

He was tried in Tehran on July 2 on charges of membership of an illegal organisation (the Committee for the Right to Education (PCED), propaganda against the regime, and membership of the Bahai community. He was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای) in Tehran. Judge Moqayesseh was also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (imprisoned national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran) and continues to misuse his judicial position to oppress the Bahai minority even today. The sentence was confirmed by the review court under Judge Mauhed (قاضی موحد). He began his sentence on April 9, 2012. In 2014 he was granted six days of leave from prison, beginning on July 28.

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January 1, 2017

2016: not a good year for the Bahais in Iran

Bahai News (Persian), December 29, 2016.

Bahai News has published an overview of incidents affecting the human rights and civil rights of Bahais in Iran in 2016. The figures, which are ikely to be incomplete, since the Bahais in Iran do not have membership rolls or community organizations, show the human rights situation for Bahais in Iran has deteriorated under President Rouhani. The report lists:

96 arrests
72 prisoners released
12 Bahai prisoners allowed prison furlough
9 trials (presumably this means trials of groups of Bahais ~ Sen)
140 Bahai-run businesses closed down
3 cases of refusal to allow the burial of Bahais
5 Bahai cemeteries destroyed
2 cases of high school students expelled for Bahai beliefs
1 martyrdom, that of Farhang Amiri (فرهنگ امیری) in Yazd.

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December 31, 2016

Seven detainees bailed in Zahedan and Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), December 31, 2016.

Four Bahais from Zahedan have been released on bail after being held by the Ministry of Intelligence for 35 days. They are Heyda Yazdan (هیدا یزدان), Bahram Ruhani (بهرام روحانی), Mehroush Ramedanizadeh (مهرنوش رمضانی زاده) and Siavash Rahimi (سیاوش رحیمی). Mr. Ruhani was arrested on November 25, and the others on the following morning. They were released on December 31. All were arrested in their homes, which were searched.

Three other Bahais who were arrested recently in Zahedan have already been freed on bail. They are Farshid Dadvar, Amelia Hokiman and her 19-year old daughter Tabsim Hosseini (امیلیا حکیمان، تبسم حسینی و فرشید دادور).

In Shiraz, Lala Salehi (لالا صالحی), Nasim Kashaninejad (نسیم کاشانی نژاد) and Rezvan Yazdani (رضوان یزدانی) have been freed on bail of 200 million tumans (59,000 euros; $US 62,000). They were arrested in Shiraz on the evening of November 22, along with Parisa Sepehri (پریسا سپهری) and Thamar Ashna’i (ثمر آشنایی). Mrs. Sepehri, who is pregnant, was released the following day, and Thamar Ashna’i was freed on bail of 250 million tumans on December 27. All five were arrested in their homes, which were searched, and held for interrogation at “Facility 100,” run by the Ministry of Intelligence, until just before their release. They were then transferred to Adel Abad prison, where bail was arranged.

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Home raid and arrest in Kerman


Bahai News (Persian), December 31, 2016.

On December 30, security agents in Kerman raided the home of Samir Khalousi (سمیر خلوصی) and arrested him. Five agents entered his home by breaking down the door. They searched it throughly and seized a laptop, hard drive, smart phone and books. The raid is described as very violent: Mr. Khalousi was subject to two hours of interrogation and beating in his home, and was taken in handcuffs to the detention facilities operated by the Ministry of Intelligence. His home was left in disorder.

At previously reported, on the morning of December 21, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Kerman raided the home of Amrullah Khalqiyan (امرالله خالقیان) and his wife Fariba Rouhani (فریبا روحانی), seizing personal effects, a computer, a laptop and Bahai books, and arrested the couple. In that case, the behaviour of the agents is reported to have been perfectly respectful. Mrs Rouhani was released after a few hours’ questioning, but Mr. Khalqiyan has now been detained for 10 days.

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Yekta Fahandezh’s sentence reduced to 2 years


Bahai News (Persian), December 29, 2016.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی), a Bahai from Shiraz, has had her sentence reduced by the Review Court, from 5 years in prison to two years in prison plus a three-year suspended sentence.

Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in Detention Facility 100. 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. This 5-year sentence has now been reduced to two years in prison and a three-year suspended sentence, but one informed source indicates that yet a third case against her is being prepared by the Ministry of Intelligence.

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December 30, 2016

Another Bahai student expelled


Bahai News (Persian), December 29, 2016.

Peygah Dehqani-Mohammadi (پگاه دهقانی محمدی) has been expelled from Al-Taha Institute of Higher Education in Tehran because of her Bahai beliefs. She was in the first semester of a degree, and preparing for examinations. On December 29, officials left a telephone message at her home saying that, since she was a Bahai, the Institute could not accept her and she need not go to the Institute any more. However she does intend to return to the Institute on December 31, to follow up on the matter. She lives in Eslamshahr, in Tehran Province, and was taking an applied science degree in computer software.

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December 29, 2016

Bahai student expelled from university in Birjand


Bahai News (Persian), December 28, 2016.

Farinarz Mokhtari (فریناز مختاری) was expelled from the Birjand Women’s Technical Institute on December 26 because of her Bahai beliefs. She was contacted on December 25, and told to report to the Chancellor to receive documents relating to a letter from the Department of Education. Next day, she reported to the Chancellor’s office, and was told she had been barred from tertiary education. In the current academic year, at least 129 Bahai students who have passed the University Entrance examination have been barred from tertiary institutions because of the religious beliefs.

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December 28, 2016

Bahai student expelled in Yazd


Iran Press Watch, November 29, 2016.

Raha Sedaqat (رها صداقت), a Bahai from Yazd, has been expelled from university because of her religion.

According to reports and Raha herself: “After participating in my college entry exam, I was told my academic record had deficiencies, like other Bahai students. However, a few days later, I received a message from the State University of Yazd to register, and so I began my studies at Yazd University, until the day I went for my midterm exams and was unable to find my name or seat number in the student roster. The next day, when I inquired about this, I was told that they had received an urgent and confidential letter from the national University Assessment authorities for my immediate expulsion, as well as three other students. At the end of the meeting, they took my student ID and expelled me.”

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Expulsion of Bahai High School student


Iran Press Watch, December 5, 2016.

Bardia Rouhu’l-Fada (بردیا روح الفدا), a 15-year-old Bahai boy, has been expelled from Komayl boys high school in Rasht because of his belief in the Bahai Faith. [It would appear that this happened early in September, during the re-enrollment process. Secondary education in Iran is divided into 3 years of lower secondary school followed by up to 3 years of upper secondary schooling, beginning at about 15 years. The school (incorrectly identified in one report) appears to be an orthodox religious school, the Dabirestan Shahid Komayl ~Sen] Two other high schools in Rasht also refused to register him. He is currently being home-schooled.

A source close to his family stated that: “Bardia’s father was asked by the Principal of the high school to fill out the registration form again. When he came to the religion section of the form, the Principal asked him not to mention that he is a Bahai, although Bardia’s father had previously mentioned that his son is a Bahai. The Principal told him that this high school is one of the exemplary public schools, and so he had to expel his son.”

His father then went to the Education Department, but officials there refused to give him a document that would state that being a Bahai was the reason for his son’s expulsion. According to this source, “Sanayeh Poushesh High School told his father that they did not have room for his son; Mulla Sadra and Shahid Raja’i High Schools recommended that his father not state that he is a Bahai. Contesting this, Bardia’s father said, “You mean I have to lie?” And they replied, “Yes, you have to lie. Otherwise, your son cannot continue his education.”

After Bardia was expelled from high school, his classmates were upset about his expulsion, and they gave him a standing ovation as he was leaving the school.

Within the past month, more than two thousand Bahai citizens have written to Hasan Rohani, and have asked for the improvement of educational conditions for the Bahais in Iran. From the Islamic Revolution in Iran to date, more than one hundred thousand Bahais have been prevented from continuing their education in Universities and Technical Institutes (Tertiary education). In recent years, a number of Bahais or those born into Bahai families have also been denied education in elementary, middle school and high school. This has been based on a Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution dated February 25, 1991, under which Bahais are excluded from tertiary education or employment in government bodies. According to this text, “The government’s dealings with them must be such that their progress and development are blocked.” “They can be enrolled in schools provided they have not identified themselves as Bahais. Preferably, they should be enrolled in schools which have a strong and imposing religious ideology.

The last two clauses are contradictory: Bahai children are required to identify themselves so that they can be directed to enrol especially in schools that emphasise religious orthodoxy, but having identified themselves as Bahais they should be excluded from school! This appears to be the issue here: in accordance with government policy the Bahai family has registered with an orthodox religious school, but these are just the schools that do not want Bahai students.

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December 27, 2016

Thamar Ashna’i released on bail in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), December 27, 2016.

Thamar Ashanai (ثمر آشنایی) was released from Adel Abad prison in Shiraz on December 27 after posting bail of 200 million tumans (59,000 euros ; $US 62,000). She was one of five Bahais living in Shiraz who were arrested in their homes on the evening of November 22. At the same time, a number of other Bahai homes in Shiraz were raided by the security forces. Mrs. Ashanai was held in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz for 34 days, and was then transferred to Adel Abad prison.

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Student couple expelled from university for Bahai beliefs


Bahai News (Persian), December 23, 2016.

Azadeh Dhulfaqari (آزاده ذوالفقاری) and Masoud Qadirzadeh (مسعود قدیرزاده), a young Bahai couple studying in Yazd, have been expelled from the Payam-e Nour University because of their religious beliefs. On November 14, 2016, they enrolled in courses on medical engineering and accounting. Some time later, after they had chosen their units and paid the fees, it was noticed that the registration form, which they had not filled in themselves, said that they were Muslims. When they went to the University Rector [to correct this], the Rector consulted with the University’s security department [answering to the Ministry of Intelligence], and they were expelled.

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One arrest in Qazvin


Bahai News (Persian), December 20, 2016 and one subsequent report.

On December 20, four security agents raided the home of Soheil Keshavarz (سهیل کشاورز) in Qazvin. They conducted a search and arrested Mr. Keshavarz. 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, and searched it again.

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Two arrested, one released, in Kerman


Bahai News (Persian), December 27, 2016 (and an earlier report).

On the morning of December 21, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Kerman Province raided the home of Amrullah Khalqiyan (امرالله خالقیان) and his wife Fariba Rouhani (فریبا روحانی), seizing personal effects, a computer, a laptop and Bahai books, and arrested the couple. Mrs Rouhani was released after a few hours’ questioning, but Mr. Khalqiyan is still being held, according to latest reports. The behaviour of the agents is reported to have been perfectly respectful. It is implied that the couple’s home is in Kerman city.

On December 25, the agents returned and searched the couple’s home again, and also searched the home of Mr. Khalqani’s sister, in a downstairs apartment of the same building. The agents seized pictures and books relating to the Bahai Faith. It is reported that Mr. Khalqiyan is being investigated for undermining national security by having the wrong kind of pictures on his walls.

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December 19, 2016

Elham Faramani, Bahai prisoner of conscience, hospitalized


Iran Press Watch, December 18, 2016.

Last week, Elham Farahani ( الهام فراهانی ), a Bahai prisoner in the women’s section of Evin Prison, was transferred to hospital and operated upon, after she lost her balance, fell and broke her right elbow. She was first transferred to Taleghani Hospital, but then taken back to prison, owing to the lack of specialists and adequate facilities at that hospital. After a few days and with follow-ups by her family, she was transferred from prison to Jam Hospital, and is currently being treated there. It is reported that two surgeries have been done on her arm but her condition has not improved due to the severity of her injuries. She suffers from severe arthritis in the arms and neck.

Elham Farahani was arrested by security agents on July 10, 2012, along with her husband Adel Na`imi (عادل نعیمی). Their son Shamim (شمیم) was also arrested, a few days after his parents. After two months of interrogation in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, she was released on 100 million tumans (equivalent then to 66,500 euro; 81,600 US dollars) bail. She was sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court, and her son is serving a three-year sentence. They began their sentences on May 11, 2014. Her husband Adel Na`imi is serving a 10-year sentence. In December, 2015, Mrs. Farahani was allowed a 7 day prison furlough and was able to meet her husband and son in Rajai Shahr Prison.

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Another Bahai-run business closed down in Bijar

Iran Press Watch, December 18, 2016.

The business premises of Nosrullah Takapu’i (نصراله تکاپوی) in the city of Bijar in Kurdestan province has been sealed by agents of the Office of Public Places. Mr. Takapu’i has 56 years experience in the dry cleaning business, but said the agents shut his shop because of his belief in the Bahai Faith. The agents who came to close the shop said that if the owner had the necessary permit, they would not have sealed the shop; yet the necessary permit, valid for five years, had been issued that very day. When shown the permit, they sealed the shop doors anyway.

Within the last two months, at least 140 Bahai-owned businesses have been sealed because they closed their shops on Bahai religious holidays.

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Refusal to take Navid Khanjani to the Medical Examiner


Iran Press Watch, December 18, 2016.

According to HRANA, the Human Rights Activists in Iran news organization, on December 13 the Rajai Shahr prison authorities refused to allow Navid Khanjani (نوید خانجانی), a Bahai human rights activist detained in this prison, to be taken to the medical examiner, because of his refusal to wear “dirty prison clothes”, as well as his rejection of the use of handcuffs and shackles.

Mr. Khanjani, who is now spending his fourth year in captivity, has been hospitalized previously following severe weight loss and other health complications. He is the former head of the Committee on Education Rights of Human Rights Activists in Iran, a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters and a founder of the Society Against Educational Discrimination, who was arrested by security forces in March 2010 and spent about two months in prison. He was charged with spreading lies, disturbing minds and propaganda against the system by disseminating news, reports, and interviews with foreign radio and television, and membership in banned organizations. He was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined four hundred thousand tumans (at present rates, 1185 euros; US$ 1240) in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, by Judge Pir Abbasi (پیرعباس). The sentence was upheld by the appeals court, but was later reduced to five years under the “aggregation rules” of Article 134 of the legal code.

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December 13, 2016

Four Bahai detainees bailed in Shiraz and Zahedan


Bahai News (Persian), December 10, 2016.

Mahyar Safidi (مهیار سفیدی) and Sahba Maslahi (صهبا مصلحی), who were among the 17 Bahais arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on Bahai homes in Shiraz on September 28 and the following days, were released on bail on December 10. They were detained at the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facility 100 for 74 days. Bail was set at 300 million tumans (87,000 euros; $US 93,000).

In a separate report, Bahai News announced today that Amelia Hokiman (امیلیا حکیمان) and Farshid Dadvar (فرشید دادور) have been released on bail in Zahedan. As previously reported, on November 6 agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Zahedan arrested them, and Mrs. Hokiman’s 19-year old daughter Tabsim Hosseini (تبسم حسینی). Tabsim Hosseini was released on November 22. Bail was set at 70 million tumans (20,000 euros; $US 21,700).

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December 12, 2016

Bahai cemetery in Birjand confiscated and closed

Iran Press Watch, December 7, 2016.

Within the last two weeks government forces have “walled off” the grave sites from the surrounding buildings (which were previously confiscated), and on November 28, officials destroyed the building where bodies were washed before being wrapped for burial. A month earlier, officials told the Bahais of Birjand that they should leave the city and that they would have to take their dead for burial to Dastjerd, while the Bahais who live in the surrounding villages should bury their dead in their own villages, because this cemetery is close to the city.

As previously reported on Sen’s Daily, the Municipal office of Ardestan demolished the gate of the Bahai cemetery there on November 6.

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December 10, 2016

Shayda Ta’id released in Babol


Bahai News (Persian), December 6, 2016.

Shayda Ta’id ( شیدا تائید ) has been released from prison in Babol, where she was serving a 1-year sentence for her Bahai beliefs. She was arrested in her home, along with her guest, Bayan Baba’i ( بیان بابایی ) from Qaemshahr, on January 21, 2013. They were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence in Sari, and three days later were allowed to contact their families. They were detained by the Ministry of Intelligence in Sari for a total of 25 days. She began serving her sentence on June 23, 2016 [meaning that she has served just half of her sentence].

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December 1, 2016

Eleven Bahai-run businesses closed in Rasht

Iran Press Watch, November 29, 2016.

The Office of Public Places has sealed the business premises of eleven Bahais living in Rasht over the last few days. They are a haberdashery shop run by Faraj Farhangi (فرج فرهنگی), a clock sales & repair business run by Touraj Farhangi (تورج فرهنگی), a medical supplies business run by Mohammad Asadpour (محمد اسدپور), and unspecified businesses run by Foad Yazdani (فواد یزدانی), Mass`oud Razavian (مسعود رضویان), Siamak Abdulhamidi (سیامک عبدالحميدي), Sa`eed Abdulhamidi (سعید عبدالحميدي), Shehab Ta’eed (شهاب تائید), Homayoun Khanlari (همایون خانلری), Bashir Heravi (بشیر هروی), and Sa`adat Yegan (سعادت یگان). Moreover, the Office of Public Places in Lahijan sealed the business of Navid Rouhipour (نوید روحی پور) in that city on November 16. Lahijan and Rasht lie on Iran’s northern coast, on the Caspian Sea.

The businesses were closed by the authorities because their owners had observed Bahai Holy Days. In recent weeks, more than 120 Bahai-owned businesses have been sealed across Iran.

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Yemen’s Baha’is keep the faith amid conflict and crackdown

Nadim al-Sakkaf with his two children before the arrest in August. Photo by Ruhiyeh Thabet al-Sakkaf

Nadim al-Sakkaf with his two children before the arrest in August. Photo by Ruhiyeh Thabet al-Sakkaf


Religion News Service, November 29, 2016.

For 11 days in August, Ruhiyeh Thabet al-Sakkaf and Nafheh Sanai al-Sakkaf say they were forced to share a jacket and a damp cell at Yemen’s National Security Bureau after armed officers stormed a multifaith youth event the sisters-in-law were facilitating and arrested 65 men, women and children.

“They raided us how they would raid a terrorist cell, with masked gunmen shouting, ‘Quiet! Sit down! Nobody move!’” Ruhiyeh said. Ruhiyeh and Nafheh are members of the Bahai Faith, which emphasizes peace, spiritual unity and service. Previous Yemeni regimes have been suspicious of the few thousand Baha’is who live in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.

Now, with conflicts raging across the region, members of the minority faith are facing new levels of discrimination and persecution from the Houthis, an Islamist group that rose to prominence after seizing control of Yemen’s northwest in 2014.

Ruhiyeh says that as a condition of their release, the young girls — most of them Muslim — who attended the event in early August were forced to sign pledges stating they would not communicate with Bahais or engage in any Bahai-inspired social work. Nafheh and Ruhiyeh signed similar pledges about social work when they were released, with an added clause that they would only practice their religion at home.They initially agreed not to speak to international media, in exchange for a pledge the authorities failed to keep.

“We promised to keep quiet, and they promised to release our husbands,” Nafheh said. “Three weeks after our release, the officers threatened to throw us back in prison, and our husbands were still in jail. That’s when we decided to break our silence.”

Ruhiyeh’s husband, Nadim al-Sakkaf, is the British Council’s country manager in Yemen. He and his brother Nader, who is Nafheh’s husband, were detained from Aug. 10 until their unexpected release Sunday (Nov. 27). Their friend Keyvan Qadari remains in custody.

The three Bahai men faced charges of relaying information to Israel (where the international governing council of the Bahai Faith is centered, and where a shrine to its leader, the Baha’u’llah, is based), converting people to the Bahai Faith and acting as spies for foreign countries. With the Houthi slogan, “God is great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory for Islam,” emblazoned on flags and walls across Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, the threatened charges are serious but completely baseless, their wives say.

International observers agree. In a statement published Nov. 23, Amnesty International referred to the men as arbitrarily detained prisoners of conscience.

Blindfolded and cuffed

Ruhiyeh recalls the agony of not being allowed to contact her children or the outside world in those first few days of imprisonment.

“We didn’t know our husbands were in prison until our fourth day there when my sister-in-law went to bathroom and came back crying, saying she had seen my husband blindfolded and cuffed,” Ruhiyeh said. “We thought they were outside at home with our children. We had not been allowed to call our family to tell them where we were.”

Nafheh says she suffered an emotional breakdown and was released after 11 days to care for her young children. Ruhiyeh was released 16 days later after a heavy airstrike disrupted operations at the National Security Bureau, where she was being detained. Sometime in the weeks thereafter the three men were moved to Sanaa’s Political Security Office, where Qadari remains.

While in custody, Ruhiyeh’s Excellence Foundation for Social Development was ransacked and the extended family’s homes were raided.

Ruhiyeh and Nafheh say fears about Baha’is stem from a complete misunderstanding of the faith.

“They think Bahais are spies of Israel and America, that we’re collaborating with Israel and trying to make people convert to our faith. That’s completely false,” Ruhiyeh said.

The Bahai Faith originated in the 19th century in Iran, where an estimated 300,000 Bahais still live and suffer intense discrimination.

Both women say the Aug. 10 youth event, where Baha’is were a minority, focused on empowering youth to serve their communities.

“The whole training focused on education, peace, unity and accepting everyone who lives in the country despite our different beliefs,” Ruhiyeh said. “We wanted to encourage the youth not to leave, to invest their energies developing the country and bring prosperity in this difficult time the country is going through.”

A greater cause

With their careers on hold — Ruhiyeh’s as a condition of her release and because of the raid on her Foundation, and Nafheh’s job as an English teacher gone amid Yemen’s ongoing conflicts and insecurity — the women shifted their focus to securing the release of their husbands and ensuring their faith community’s constitutionally guaranteed right to religious freedom.

“When we meet with National Security heads and the leadership of Ansar Allah (the Houthi religious and political group controlling much of the region), we don’t talk about religious minorities. We talk about citizens’ rights for all. We are Yemenis before we are Bahais,” Ruhiyeh said several days before the release of her husband and brother-in-law.

The women have also met with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

“They are impressive in terms of their advocacy for their husbands and their faith,” said Human Rights Watch’s Yemen and Kuwait researcher Kristine Beckerle. “It sounds like the situation really is quite tied to their religious beliefs: all of these informal negotiations, the women being threatened, making pledges they should not be forced to make.”

Ruhiyeh’s and Nafheh’s relentless advocacy over the past few months has often been met with threats to throw them back in jail.

“It’s so unpredictable. We don’t know what’s happening,” Ruhiyeh said. “I don’t know if we’ll be called in and arrested again. Every day, when I leave the house, I wear clothes to prepare myself for the fact that I could be arrested again at any second.”

Buoyed and guided by their faith, Ruhiyeh and Nafheh manage to persevere.

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November 28, 2016

Ahdiyyeh Enayati, Bahareh Nowruzi and Parisa Sepehri free in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), November 27, 2016.

Ahdiyyeh Enayati (عهدیه عنایتی) and Bahareh Nowruzi (بهاره نوروزی) were released from Adel Abad prison in Shiraz on November 26, after posting bail of 200 million rials (5800 euros; 6,200 $US). They had been detained for interrogation by the Ministry of Intelligence for 58 and 52 days respectively, and were transferred to Adel Abad prison prior to their release.

They were among the 17 Bahais arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on Bahai homes in Shiraz on September 28 and the following days. Most have since been freed on bail, but I have heard no news so far of the release of Sahba Maslahi (صهبا مصلحی), Mahyar Safidi (مهیار سفیدی), Sahba Farabakhsh (صهبا فرحبخش) and Shadi Sadeq-Eqdam (شادی صادق اقدم). As previously reported, on the evening of November 22, five Bahais living in Shiraz were arrested in their homes by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. One of these, Parisa Sepehri (پریسا سپهری), has been released for health reasons: she is in the first months of pregnancy.

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November 27, 2016

Four more arrests in Zahedan

Bahai News (Persian), November 26, 2016.

On November 25, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence searched the home and workplace of Bahram Ruhani (بهرام روحانی) in Zahedan, seizing books, CDs, cassette tapes, and a mobile telephone. On the following morning Mehroush Ramdani (مهرنوش رمضانی), Heyda Yazdan (هیدا یزدان) and Siavash Rahimi (سیاوش رحیمی) were arrested in their homes in the same way. As previously reported, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence in Zahedan arrested Farshid Dadvar, Amelia Hokiman and her 19-year old daughter Tabsim Hosseini (امیلیا حکیمان، تبسم حسینی و فرشید دادور) on November 6. Tabsim Hosseini was released on November 22.

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November 25, 2016

Payam Wali free on bail


Bahai News (Persian), November 25, 2016.

Payam Wali (پیام ولی), a Bahai living in Karaj who was arrested on November 22, was released on bail on November 24. Ironically, the bail was his worthless business licence. His business was closed by the authorities some nine years ago, and he is still trying to get the closure reversed. He recently wrote an open letter to Iranian authorities, seeking an end to the closure of his business.

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November 23, 2016

Five arrested in Shiraz, one in Karaj


Bahai News (Persian), November 22, 2016.

On the evening of November 22, five Bahais living in Shiraz were arrested in their homes by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence. Those arrested are Lala Salehi (لالا صالحی), Parisa Sepehri (پریسا سپهری), Thamar Ashna’i (ثمر آشنایی), Nasim Kashaninejad (نسیم کاشانی نژاد) and Rezvan Yazdani (رضوان یزدانی). At the same time, a number of other Bahai homes in Shiraz were raided by the security forces.

Lala Salehi and Parisa Sepehri were arrested in their shared home, which was searched. Books and a computer were seized, and they were taken to the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. There is no indication of the charges against them, but others who were present at the time of their arrests (being the relatives of other recent Bahai arrestees in Shiraz) were also questioned, and all their mobile phones and ID cards and other effects were confiscated. Parisa Sepehri is in the early months of pregnancy.

Thamar Ashna’i was arrested when she returned home at about 9 p.m., by security forces who had been waiting for her. They searched her home thoroughly and took her to Detention Facility 100.

In recent months over 20 Bahais have been arrested in Shiraz, on charges of teaching their Faith. Some have been released on bail after questioning, but a number are still detained, two months after their arrest.

Payam Wali (پیام ولی), a Bahai living in Karaj, was also arrested on November 22. He had recently written an open letter to Iranian authorities, seeking an end to the nine-year-old closure of his business. He had also written a letter to the Alborz Provincial Prosecutor about personal threats he has received, and an attempt by two persons to enter his appartment. He was present in court for a hearing when he was arrested, and taken to his home which was searched. He was taken to a detention centre. In 2009 he was detained on charges of undermining national security, and released on bail after two months of interrogation. On June 9, 1990, his brother, Afshin Wali (افشین ولی), was killed by religious fanatics in the village of Hussain Abad.

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November 22, 2016

Three arrested, one released in Zahedan


Bahai News, November 21, 2016.

On November 6, agents from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence arrested Farshid Dadvar, Amelia Hokiman and her daughter Tabsim Hosseini (امیلیا حکیمان، تبسم حسینی و فرشید دادور), Bahais living in Zahedan. The agents went to the home of Farshid Dadvar, Amelia Hokiman and conducted a thorough search, confiscating books, a computer, mobile phones and other electronic devices, before arresting the three. On November 21, Tabsim Hosseini was released on bail from the Ministry of Intelligence jail. Mr. Dadvar, who is from Yazd, had previously been detained for two months after being arrested (with two other Bahais) in Zahedan on December 23, 2012. It would appear that on that ocassion no charges were laid against him.

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Parviz and Neda Anvari free in Tehran


Bahai News (Persian), November 21, 2016.

Mr. Parviz Anvari (پرویز انواری) and his daughter Neda Anvari (ندا انواری), from Baba Salman, a village in Shahriar County, in Tehran Province, have been released after posting bail of 50 million tumans (14,700 euros; 15,600 $US). They were arrested, along with two other Bahais, on the evening of November 2 when agents from the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) raided a prayer meeting in their home. The other two Bahais, Farhad Maqarabi (فرهاد مقربی) and Rezwanullah Abdel-Hayy (رضوان الله عبداللهی) were released on the following morning. Mr. Anvari and his daughter were held for 21 days in a section of Evin prison run by the Intelligence Protection Organization.

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November 20, 2016

Shamim Ruhani free in Ahvaz


Bahai News (Persian), November 20, 2016.

Shamim Ruhani (شمیم روحانی), a Bahai prisoner of conscience from Ahvaz (a city in Khuzestan Province, in the Iranian part of the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates), was released from prison on November 20, at the end of his sentence.

He was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on November 5, 2013, along with a number of Bahais who were present in his home. The agents seized his religious books, documents, personal effects, mobile telephone and computer. All the detainees except for Mr. Ruhani were released three days later. Mr. Ruhani was held by the Ministry of Intelligence for several months before being released on bail. He was charged with propaganda against the regime and membership in Bahai organisations, and sentenced to one year in prison followed by banishment from the Province of Khuzestan for two years. He was held for a time before being released on bail, but on January 11, 2016 he was again stummoned to prison. During the period of his first arrest, his wife Mina Ruhani (مینا روحانی) was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence for questioning several times.

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November 17, 2016

Court of review slashes sentences for 22 Bahais in Golestan


Bahai News, November 2, 2016.

In January this year, a court in Gorgan which began hearing the cases of small groups of Bahais in April, 2015, issued sentences in 24 cases. These 24 Bahais have been free on bail, pending the ruling of the Review Court for Golestan Province, which reviewed the cases on September 18 and 29, and has now announced its decision on most of these cases.

Farah Tebyanian (فرح تبيانيان), Puna Sana’i ( پونه ثنایی), Mona Amri Hesari (مونا امري حصاري), Behnam Hassani (بهنام حسني), Parisa Shahidi ( پریسا شهیدی ), Mojdeh Zouhori (مژده ظهوري), Parivash Shoja`i ( پریوش شجاعی ), Tina Mauhabati ( تینا موهبتی ) and Hana Aqiqiyan (هنا عقیقیان), all from Gorgan; Shohreh Samimi (شهره صمیمی) from Minudasht; Bita Hedayati (بيتا هدايتي), Vesaq Sana’i ()وثاق سنايي and Hana Kushkabaghi ( هنا کوشکباغی ) from Gonbad-e Qabus had their prison sentences reduced from 9 years to one year and nine months.

Rufeya Pakzadan ( روفیا پاکزادان), Soudabeh Mehdinezhad ( سودابه مهدی نژاد ), Mitra Nouri ( میترا نوری ), Shiva Rouhani ( شیوا روحانی ), Houshmand Dehqan (هوشمند دهقان), Mariyam Dehqan (مريم دهقان) and Nazi Tahqiqi (نازي تحقیقی), all from Gorgan, along with Kamelia Bideli (کاملیا بیدلی) and Navid Moalem (نوید معلم) from Minudasht, had their sentences reduced from 6 years to 18 months.

The review court did not anounce 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.

The Bahais were charged with collaborating with hostile governments, effective activities to promote the goals of a sect and of anti-Islamic and anti-Shiah hostile governments, and with making propaganda in favour of the Bahai Faith and against the regime of the Islamic Republic, by participating in the ‘Ruhi program’ (Bahai catechism) in Golestan Province.

Three of the women mentioned above have husbands who are already in prison, and who have not been allowed any prison furlough. Their husbands were in a group of seven Bahai men from Gorgan who were sentenced in May 2013. Punah Sana’i is the sister, and Farah Sana’i is the wife, of Fahrmand Sana’i (فرهمند سنایی), who was sentenced to five years; Parisa Shahidi is the wife of Kamal Kashani (کمال کاشانی), also sentenced to five years; and Mojdeh Zouhori is the wife of Farhad Fahandezh (فرهاد فهندژ), who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Among the 22 Bahais whose sentences have been reduced, Shohreh Samimi is the wife of Shahnam Jadhbani, while Kamelia Bideli is the wife of Navid Moalem (whose name was previously reported as Navid Moalemi (نوید معلمی)).

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2L6

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

November 16, 2016

Five arrested at the Provincial Governor’s Office of Mazandaran

Iran Press Watch, November 12, 2016.

On the morning of November 8, at least five Bahais were arrested at the Mazandaran Provincial Governor’s Office, and a large number of Bahais were harshly treated in front of that office. According to a report by BahaiNews, at least five Bahais who had attended a day of “public interaction with officials” regarding the sealing of Bahai business premises in Mazandaran Province were arrested by security agents. An informed source told the BahaiNews reporter: “After a number of Bahais were permitted to enter the Provincial Governor’s Office, intelligence agents immediately arrested those who were inside the building. Moreover, those who were outside the door were videotaped and attacked by security agents.”

This informed source added: “The agents were shouting that these people receive instructions from Israel, and that they had come there to assemble, start a riot and set fire to the banks. They kept on shouting this. With respect to those who had been arrested, they said, ‘We have also arrested your leaders’ ‒ meaning those who had been arrested inside the building.”

According to this informed source, the people who had come to this public meeting with the officials were Bahais from the city of Qaemshahr. Based on the latest news received by BahaiNews, the names of some of those arrested are: Nima Nokhaah (نیما نوخواه), Aarshaam Golpour (آرشام گلپور), Sohayl Haqqdoust (سهیل حق دوست), Shahrouz Zamaani (شهروز زمانی) and Behnam Mirzai, who is named by the BBC as `Ala-addin Mirza’i (علاءالدین میرزایی).

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

November 15, 2016

Amrollah Hekmat-Sho’ar arrested in Karaj


Bahai News (Persian), November 7 and 10, 2016.

Amrollah Hekmat-Sho’ar (امرالله حکمت شعار), the father of 11-year-old ‘Aref Hekmat-Sho’ar (عارف حکمت شعار) who was expelled from school in Karaj last year because his parents are Bahais, was arrested in Karaj on November 7. In the preceding days he had been contacted by telephone with instructions to report to Raja’i Shahr prison, to which he replied that an arrest warrant should be sent according to formal procedures, and not via a telephone call. When agents from the Ministry of Intelligence arrested him near his home, they took him in handcuffs to his work place and his home, and searched both very thoroughly. They had a search warrant, and showed an arrest warrant that said he would be charged with undermining national security and propaganda against the regime. He was later released on bail, apparently on November 10. Bail was set at 50 million tumans (14,400 euros; $US 16,400). During his interrogation, he was asked about the exclusion of his son, then aged 10, from three schools in Karaj. Following ‘Aref’s third expulsion, from “the cradle of knowledge” (گهواره دانش ) school in the Mehrvila district of Karaj, a number of human rights activists intervened, and some of them, including Mohammad Nourizad (محمد نوری زاد), Doctor Maleki (دکترملکی) and Mr. Karim Bigi (کریم بیگی) travelled to Karaj to protest.

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

Shahin Negari, BIHE teacher, released from prison


Bahai News (Persian), November 14, 2016.

Shahin Negari ( شاهین نگاری), a faculty member of the Bahai Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), was released from Raja’i Shahr Prison on November 14, at the end of a four-year prison sentence. He was arrested at his home in Tehran in May 2011, but he was free on bail from June 28, 2011, to January 13, 2013, when he began his sentence.

The BIHE is a distance-learning institute which serves students who are excluded from tertiary study in Iran, because they are Bahais. Many staff and some students associated with the BIHE were arrested in late May, 2011, when their homes and BIHE premises were raided by security forces.

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

Bahai student Danial Kheradmand expelled from university


Iran Press Watch, November 12, 2016.

Danial Kheradmand (دانیال خردمند), a Bahai from Tehran, secured admission to the University of Sari on 10 September 2016 to study accounting. Classes began on the first of October. In the first week of November his name was removed from the student list because of his Bahai beliefs. After following up the case with the university administration, he was told that the university was asked to stop cooperating with him.

During the current year at least 129 Bahai students, after successfully passing the University Entrance Exam (Concours) in 2016, were prevented from continuing their education because they believe in the Bahai Faith. Some were allowed to commence their studies, but after being identified as Bahais they were expelled from their universities. [I have been unable to keep pace, on Sen’s Daily, with the reports of these expulsions and exclusions.]

The exclusion of Bahais from higher education is based on a document, dated the 2nd of February 1991, approved by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. This document states that Bahais are not permitted to work in any government establishment, or to continue their education in higher institutions of learning.

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

November 8, 2016

Four arrests in Shahryar County, two released

14956525_830209140454511_2781716720164514649_nBahai News (Persian), November 3 (?), 2016.

Four Bahais were arrested on the evening of November 2 when agents from the Ministry of Intelligence raided a prayer meeting in a Bahai home in Baba Salman, a village in Shahriar County, in Tehran Province. The home belonged to Mr. Parviz Anvari (پرویز انواری), who was arrested along with his daughter Neda Anvari (ندا انواری), Farhad Maqarabi (فرهاد مقربی) and Rezwanullah Abdel-Hayy (رضوان الله عبداللهی). The latter two (pictured) were released on the following morning.

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

 

November 7, 2016

Sahba Farabakhsh and Shadi Sadeq-Eqdam free on bail in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), November 6, 2016.

Another two recent Bahai detainees, Sahba Farabakhsh (صهبا فرحبخش) and Shadi Sadeq-Eqdam (شادی صادق اقدم) have been released from Adel Abad prison in Shiraz. Their bail amounts were set at 200 and 250 million tumans, respectively. 200 million tumans is roughly equivalent to 56,000 euros, or $US 63,000. They have been detained for 37 days in the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facility 100, and were transferred to Adel Abad prison just before their release.

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

November 6, 2016

Three more prisoners in Shiraz free on bail, six still detained


Bahai News (Persian), November 5, 2016.

Shamim Ekhlaqi (شمیم اخلاقی), Varqa Kaviani (ورقا کاویانی), and Farbad Shadman (فربد شادمان), whose name was previously reported as Farid Shadman (فرید شادمان), have been released on bail of 200 million tumans (56,000 euros, $US 63,000). They were among the 14 Bahais arrested in coordinated raids by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on Bahai homes in Shiraz around 9pm on the evening of September 29. Another three Bahais were arrested after these raids. The three detainees who have been released have been held for 39 days, the first 37 days being their time of interrogation by the Ministry of Intelligence in detention facility 100 in Shiraz. They were then transferred to Adel Abad prison, from where they were released. This brings to ten the number of Shirazi Bahais released on bail, all for the same amount. At present four Bahais remain under interrogation in Detention Facility 100: Sahba Maslahi (صهبا مصلحی), Mahyar Safidi (مهیار سفیدی), Ahdiyyeh Enayati (عهدیه عنایتی) and Bahareh Nowruzi (بهاره نوروزی). The remaining two prisoners in this group, Sahba Farabakhsh (صهبا فرحبخش) and Shadi Sadeq-Eqdam (شادی صادق اقدم) have been transferred to Adel Abad prison.

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

November 5, 2016

Another Baha’i cemetery damaged


Iran Press Watch, November 3, 2016.

The Municipal office of Ardestan has demolished the gate of the Bahai cemetery. The report (on Gold News) does not indicate when this occurred. Because of restrictions on finding work and furthering their education, nearly all young and middle aged Bahais have moved to other cities; in particular to Isfahan. Some elderly women and men, along with a few middle-aged people, remain in the Bahai quarter, known as Bab ul Rahy, where they are deprived of basic municipal services such as garbage disposal.

In August 2014, the authorities in Semnan introduced new rules for Bahai burials, one of which was that no wall could be built around the Bahai cemetery. It is not clear whether the removal of the gates in Ardestan is another indication of a new policy to prevent the Bahais protecting the graves of their loved ones, or a random act of vandalism.

The full report on Iran Press Watch is available here.

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

November 4, 2016

Over 90 Bahai businesses sealed by authorities

Iran Press Watch, November 4, 2016.

According to Bahai News (Persian) and Gold News, security agents and agents from the Office of Public Places raided and shut down eight Bahai-owned businesses in Karaj, 35 in Sari, seven in Nowshahr, 6 in Tonekabon, one each in Fereydunkenar and Amol, two in Bahnemir, three in Chalus, five in Bandar Abbas and 29 Bahai-owned businesses in Qaemshahr.

[The majority of the closures appear to relate to the observance of the Bahai holy days but the report includes the closure of eight Bahai-run optometry business in Karaj, which took place before the Holy Days.]

The names of the business owners along with the corresponding business are as follows:

Karaj

Mansour and Manouchehr Enayati — Zeis store
Farshid Azarshab — Eyeglasses store
Koursoh Sharifzadeh — Sam Optics
Shahriar Rabbani — Lathe workshop, Eyeglasses
Kourosh Laghayee — Glasses repair shop
Pejman Misaahi — Sina Glasses Repair Shop
Forouhari — Optometry
Mahtab — Optometry

Nowshahr

Bahman Rohani — Photography shop
Monib Mansour — Optometry
Raki Yousefi — Optometry
Arastou Aasadi — Welding business
Riazollah Heravi — Horology business
Arash Derakhshanian — Mechanic’s shop
Behshad Derakhshanian — Burglar alarm business

Bandar Abbas

Behzad Rasti — Gameron Glasses
Behram Heidarpour and Mr. Ataollah Rezvani’s family — Zeiss Eyeglasses Store
Mr. Sharafi — Arash Glasses Store
Behzad Heidarpour — Tamasha Eyeglasses Store
Mr. Shadpour — Shayan Optic (managed by Mr. Soleimani)

Qaemshahr

Zahra Golabian — Optometry
Sohrab Laghayee — Optometry
Nima Miri — Cosmetics
Fairborn Sabeti — Appliance repair
Farzad Sabeti — Car alignment and oil change
Changiz Derakhshanian and Nima Nokhah — Toy shop
Rezvaneh Samii — Garment store
Kourosh Ahmadzadegan — Security systems
Alaoddin Mirzayee — Security systems
Shayan Ghedami — Paint store
Hooman Rostami — Burglar alarm business
Shahram and Shahrouz Zamani — Auto parts
Soheil Haghdoost — Optometry
Bahaoddin Samimi — Stationery store
Jhobin Yousefi — Burglar alarm business
Behnam and Behdad Shirvani — Appliance repair
Noorollah Ataeeyan — Motor winding business
Bahram Safari — Electronics
Naim Samimi – Auto body shop
Fazel Asadi – Mobile repair
Zekrollah Akbari – Welding business
Shahin Akbari – Ironware
Fariborz Sanaee – Plastic ware
Zekrollah Babayee – Grocery
Atrollah Movafagh – Refrigerator repair
Shahrokh Asadi – Refrigerator repair
Daryoush Bakhtiari – Automobile studio
Saeed Asadi – Auto repair
Jalal Atayeean – Cosmetics

Sari

Mahyar Ghanbari — Security systems installation
Nima Mahinbakht — Security systems installation
Behzad Zabihi — Eyeglasses store
Kamaloddin Akbar — Woodturning
Ghavanoddin Sabetian — Carpentry
Ramin Moosavi — Building decoration
Naim Kamali — Appliance repair
Kourosh Ahmadi — Engine tuning
Zatollah Darabi — Carpentry
Sanaee — Cosmetics
Zia Khoshbin — Paint store (commercial)
Kourosh Moradi — Carpentry
Hossein Ahmadi — Carpentry
Jamal Movafaghi — Carpentry
Asghar Movafaghi — Carpentry
Ashkan Khalili — Motor winding
Shahrouz Zamani — Auto parts
Yaghoub Akbari — Appliance repair
Kamaloddin Akbari – Woodturning
Mahyar Ghanbari – Security systems installation
Ehsan Sanee – Cosmetics
Sohrab Zahedi – Stationery store
Nima Shabrokh – Cosmetics
Bahman Zabihi – Fabrics and crafts store
Shahriar Foroughian — Electric windings
Behrouz Yousefi – Home appliances repair
Vahid Golpour – Clothing
Jahanbakhsh Movafaghi – Woodturning
Saed Andokhs – Clothing
Akbar Hosseini – Wood shop
Hesam Yousefi – Carpentry
Arman Safaee – Stationery store
Zargham Zamani – Clothing
Shahram Nobakht – Appliances store
Pezhman Roshankoohi – Appliances store

Tonekabon

Misagh Esmaeil zadegan — Telephone repair
Noushin Masoudian — Clothing
Sirous Nasiri — Cabinet making
Saleh Eshkevarian — Home appliances
Sina Garshasbi — Home appliances
Naeim Khalaj Abadi — Furniture manufacturing

Fereydunkenar

Afshin Azadi — Clothing

Bahnemir

Ahmad Nikounejad — Gas appliances (sale and repair)
Feizollah Nikounejad — Bike repair

Amol

Serrollah Hekmatshoar

Chalus

Daryoush Talaee — Shoes store
Farshid Kian — Eyeglasses store
Afshin Sobati — Eyeglasses store

According to Bahai News, the reason for sealing these businesses has been the closure of these shops during the nine Bahai religious holidays. This is despite the fact that according to the Executive Regulations of Article Twenty-eight of the Trade Law, commercial units can keep their businesses closed for up to 15 days without providing prior notice to officials.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-2Kp

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

November 1, 2016

Another eight Bahai-run businesses closed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), November 1, 2016.

In recent days, agents from the Bureau of Public Places in Karaj have closed down eight businesses run by Bahais. They are all optometry businesses: one a lens grinding workshop, a spectacle repair shop, and six optometry retail shops. Four of the Bahai managers are named as Farshid Adhershab (فرشید آذرشب), Korush Sharifzadeh (کورش شریف زاده), Shahryar Rabbani (شهریار ربانی) and Pazeshman Mithaqi (پژشمان میثاقی). The report states that ten other businesses have been closed recently, simply because they were run by Bahais, but it does not say whether these ten are in Karaj.

The recent closures of optometry shops in Karaj almost certainly relate to the widespread Iranian belief that Bahais are ‘unclean,’ and should not provide personal services to Shiah Muslims, who are ‘clean.’ This belief, and the government’s desire to prevent the Bahai minority prospering, have led to an extensive and largely secret set of rules specifying the jobs and sectors from which Bahais are banned. An order clarifying these rules, dating from 2010, says that Bahais must be barred from 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, or work in 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.

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

October 31, 2016

Shahriar Cyrus sentenced: 5 years


Bahai News (Persian), October 30, 2016
August 1, 2015.

Shahriar Cyrus (شهریار سیروس), a Bahai painter and a respected art critic and teacher, was sentenced to 5 years in prison by Judge Moqayesseh (قاضی مقیسه, also spelled محمد مقیسه‌ای) in Tehran. Judge Moqayesseh was also responsible for the sentencing of the seven ‘Yaran’ (national facilitators for the Bahais in Iran). The sentence was delivered on September 5, but has only just been reported. Mr. Cyrus was charged with founding an illegal organisation, a charge that relates to his painting classes.
Mr. Cyrus was arrested by eleven agents from the Ministry of Intelligence, who raided his painting class at about 4pm on June 30th, 2015. He was kept in solitary confinement for 48 days. He was held in block 209 of Evin Prison, a section which is operated by the Pasdaran militia. He was released on bail two months after his arrest.

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

October 28, 2016

Two Bahai-run businesses closed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), October 27, 2016.

On October 26, agents from the Bureau of Public Places closed two businesses in Karaj because they were run by Bahais. They are an optometry workshop run by Mr. Rahmani (رحمانی) and a spectacles shop run by Mr. Behshad (بهشاد). Six other Bahai-run shops in Karaj have been closed in recent weeks. One of these was a luxury goods shop run by Amin Rahmani (امین رحمانی). This is apparently not the same as the optometry workshop run by a Mr. Rahmani in the latest report.

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

October 26, 2016

BIC report examines persecution of Iranian Bahais

Bahai International Community, October 25, 2016.

Iran’s persecution of Iranian Bahais continues unabated, despite government promises to end religious discrimination and improve human rights, according to a new report from the Bahai International Community.

Officially released today, “The Bahai Question Revisited: Persecution and Resilience in Iran” (PDF format) says Iran has actually stepped up certain elements of its campaign against Bahais, such as the dissemination of anti-Bahai propaganda and a crackdown on Bahai businesses.

The report offers a number of new statistics on the governments oppression of Bahais. Since 2005, it says, when the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began to re-intensify the persecution, there have been more than 860 arrests and some 275 Bahais have been sent to prison.

During that time, at least 240 Bahais have been expelled from university and thousands more have been blocked from enrolling through various ruses. There have been more than 950 specific, documented incidents of economic discrimination, such as shop closings or dismissals.

The report also says the situation has not changed under the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, who came to power in August 2013 with promises to end religious discrimination.

Since President Rouhani’s inauguration, the report says, Bahais have faced no less than 388 documented incidents of economic persecution and at least 151 Bahais have been arrested. The government’s campaign to incite hatred against Bahais has also intensified under his presidency, with more than 20,000 pieces of hateful anti-Bahai propaganda disseminated in the Iranian media.

“Taken altogether, what we have seen is an overall shift in tactics by the Iranian government, apparently as part of an attempt to conceal from the international community its ongoing efforts to destroy the Bahai community as a viable entity,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Bahai International Community to the United Nations.

“While arrests and imprisonments certainly continue, the government has relied increasingly on less blatant forms of persecution, such as economic, educational, and cultural discrimination.

“All this comes despite steadfast condemnation from the international community, activists, and, increasingly, ordinary citizens inside Iran,” said Ms. Dugal.

The 128-page report contains numerous human stories about the impact of the persecution on the lives of Bahais in Iran, showing how they have responded with surprising reserves of resilience and, even, small initiatives aimed at the betterment of Iranian society as a whole.

The report also examines the history of the persecution, offering an explanation for why it continues in the face of international pressure. An extensive appendix reproduces numerous secret government documents that show unequivocally that such persecution is official policy.

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

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 16, 2016

Mahvash Sabet returns to prison


Bahai News,16 October 2016.

Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت), one of the seven ‘Yaran’ or national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran, returned to prison on October 16. She had been free on prison leave for 10 days (extended from the original 5 days).
She is now in the ninth year of her prison sentence, and this is the first prison furlough she has been granted. During her furlough she was able to meet family members and civil society activists.

Mrs. Sabet was arrested on March 5, 2008, in Mashhad, where she had gone to make arrangements for the burial of a Bahai. She was held in solitary confinement for 175 days. Concerns for her health in prison were expressed as early as 2010, and on September 26, 2012, she suffered a hip fracture due to osteoporosis but was denied surgery. Before her arrest, she served for 15 years as Director of the Bahai Institute for Higher Education, which provides alternative higher education for Bahai youth who are excluded from all other forms of higher education in Iran.

More photos are available on Bazdasht.

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

October 13, 2016

Five Bahais bailed in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), October 10, 2016.

Five of the Bahais who have been arrested in Shiraz in recent weeks have been freed on bail, which was set at 200 million tumans (approx. $US 63,600). Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), Soroush Eqani (سروش ایقانی), Farzad Shademan (فرزاد شادمان) and Mazhgan Gholampour (مژگان غلامپور), whose name was previous reported as Mazhgah (مژگاه), were first transfered from Detention Facility 100, run by the Ministry of Intelligence, to `Adel Abad prison in Shiraz, and then released on bail. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman and Farzad Delaram were arrested on October 3, the other three were among 14 Bahais who were arrested in their homes in Shiraz on the evening of September 29. Behnam Azirpour (بهنام عزیرپور), Sa`id Hosna (سعید حسنی) and Esma`il Rusta (اسماعیل روستا) have already been released on bail.

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

October 11, 2016

129 Bahai students barred from higher education

Iran Press Watch, October 9, 2016.

In a continuation of the pattern of previous years, at least 129 Bahai students (as of September 18) have been denied the right to register at a university in Iran using the excuse of “incomplete file”. These are students who have gained adequate grades in the national University Entrance examination; it does not include those barred from sitting the examination, for example by not sending them exam registration cards, or who were given no grades when they did sit. It includes Bahai students who have been excluded in previous years, and sit the examination again. (Because of this, the figure cannot be used to guess the size of the Bahai community in Iran ~Sen) The Iran Press Watch article includes a review of the ways Bahais have been excluded from Higher Education since 1979.

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

October 9, 2016

Manuchher Khalousi begins 1-year prison sentence


HRANA, October 7, 2016.

On October 6, a month before Manuchher Khalousi (منوچهر خلوصی) was due to begin serving a 1-year sentence, security agents arrived at his home and took him under arrest to Vakil Abad prison, to serve his sentence.

He was arrested on November 29, 2013, when security forces raided his home, for the sixth time since the 1979 Revolution. At his trial, on July 8, 2014, he was charged with “acting against national security by giving interviews with foreign media.” However no interviews with Mr. Kholousi are known, in either Iranian or foreign media. The court therefore adjourned the sitting for lack of evidence, and a judge was appointed to gather evidence for new charges. A court then sentenced him to six years in prison on charges against of propaganda against the regime and undermining national security. The review court reduced this sentence to one year.

His daughters, Nika and Nava Kholousi (نیکا و نوا خلوصی ), are serving sentences of six years and four and a half years, respectively, on charges of membership of the Bahai organisation, participation in illegal Bahai activities, and propaganda in favour of the Bahais and against the regime of the Islamic Republic. They have both served more than two years of these sentences, also in Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad.

In 1999, Mr. Kholousi was sentenced to death for being a Bahai. This sentence was later reduced to one year in prison, by which time he had already served 19 months in prison. With respect to his current sentence, HRANA has published a document showing that he was sentenced solely for being a Bahai.

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October 7, 2016

Peyman Koushk-Baghi moved from Evin prison to Raja’i Shahr


Bahai News (Persian), October 6, 2016.

On October 6, Peyman Koushk-Baghi (پیمان کوشکباغی) was moved unexpectedly from Evin prison in Tehran to Raja’i Shahr prison, about an hour’s drive West of Tehran. Raja’i Shahr houses many of the male prisoners of conscience, including Baha’i prisoners. He has been sentenced to five years in prison for cooperation with BIHE, the Bahai open university which educates Bahais who are excluded from tertiary education in Iran under the apartheid laws. His wife Azita Rafizadeh (آزیتا رفیع‌زاده) is serving a four-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison for her own work in educating Bahai youth. The couple have a six-year-old son who, while both his parents were in the same prison, was able to visit his mother on Sundays and his father on Wednesdays.

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October 6, 2016

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi and Nabil Tahdhib free on bail


Bahai News (Persian), October 4, 2016.

Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی) and Nabil Tahdhib (نبیل تهذیب), two Bahais with an interest in environmental protection who were arrested in Shiraz on July 16 and 17, have been released on bail. Miss Fahandezh-Sa`adi
was one of fifteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz in 2010. On February 3, 2012, she was again arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and spent 82 days in Detention Facility 100. 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. 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 has been over 80 days in the detention at the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention facilities in Shiraz, before her release on bail on October 4.

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Mahvash Sabet begins 5-day prison furlough


HRANA (Persian), October 5, 2016.

Mahvash Sabet (مهوش ثابت), one of the seven ‘Yaran’ or national facilitators for the Bahai community in Iran, who are serving long prison sentences, has been released on a 5-day prison furlough. She is now in the ninth year of her prison sentence. Mrs. Sabet – a schoolteacher and mother of two – was arrested on March 5, 2008, after she was summoned to the Iranian city of Mashhad to discuss some matters regarding a Bahai burial. Two months later, on May 14, the other six Yaran were arrested in raids of their homes. Initially sentenced to 10 years in prison, this was later increased to 20 years, and then reduced again to 10 years.

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October 4, 2016

One new arrest in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), October 3, 2016.

Mrs. Bahare Nowruzi (بهاره نوروزی) was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence who came to her home in Shiraz around 2pm on October 3. She was taken to the Ministry’s detention facility 100 in Shiraz. As previously reported, Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام) were arrested in a raid on their home in Shiraz on the night of October 2, and fourteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz on September 29 are still in detention. Yekta Fahandezh-Sa`adi (یکتافهندژسعدی) and Nabil Tahdhib (نبیل تهذیب), two environmental activists who were arrested in Shiraz on July 16 and 17, continue to be held in the Intelligence detention center in Shiraz; they have been charged with acting against national security and propaganda against the regime. Na`imatullah Bangaleh (نعمت الله بنگاله), who was arrested with his daughter on August 27 is still being detained. I have had no word of the release of Sara Ekhlaqi (سارا اخلاقی), the owner of a bridal accessories shop who was arrested on June 14.

This list does not include those already sentenced and serving their sentences in prison, or the large number of Bahais in Shiraz who have suspended sentences or who are free on bail awaiting trial or awaiting the summons to begin their prison sentences. There is also no word of investigations regarding the fatal poisoning of Leila Kargar (لیلا کارگر) on December 29, 2014, apparently for religious reasons. She told her family that she had been discussing religious matters in a park with a well-spoken lady, who had given her a drink of fruit juice. The fatal stabbing of Koroush Rouhi (کوروش روحی) on November 12, 2015, also remains unexplained but there are no indications that this was a sectarian attack.

A summary by Bazdasht says that there are at present 60 Bahais in prison or detention in Iran.

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Bahai cemetery of Urumiyyeh vandalized again


Bahai News (Persian), October 3, 2016.

On September 30, the Bahai cemetery of Urumiyyeh (Urmia) was again vandalized. On July 25, 2015, a large number of 20-year-old trees in this cemetery were cut down using a chainsaw. On the most recent occasion gravestones were damaged and an attempt was made to burn the remaining trees. When the Bahais complained to the police and court, they were told there was nothing to be done, since the Bahais did not know who had vandalized the cemetery. The destruction of the graves of religious minorities, especially those of Bahais and Jews, has occured throughout Iran since Qajar times. On July 17, 2016, law enforcement agents in Kurdistan province demolished a Bahai cemetery there, uprooted over three hundred 20-year-old trees, and confiscated personal property from the mortuary. Some cities, notably Tabriz, refuse to allow the burial of Bahais. In Sanandaz, three successive Bahai cemeteries have been destroyed by government agents. For a discussion of the long history of symbolic violence directed at graves and bodies of Bahais and other in Iran, see Mehrdad Amanat, Set in Stone: Homeless Corpses and Desecrated Graves in Modern Iran.

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