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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 17, 2017

Bahai student expelled in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), January 15, 2017.

Dorna Esmaili (درنا اسماعیلی), a student in the 7th semester of a degree in Graphic Design at the Eram non-profit private university in Shiraz, has been expelled because of her Bahai beliefs. On January 8, during the end of term examinations, an examination official contacted her to say that the National Organisation for Educational Testing had said she was not eligible for examinations. When she asked the reason, she was told to contact Mr. Nourbaksh (آقاي نور بخش), at the head office of NOET in Tehran. When she asked the Chancellor of the University why she was expelled, he said she contact NOET. She did so, travelling to Tehran to see Mr. Nourbaksh, he said he had been contacted by the Ministry of Intelligence, and was not responsible for the decision.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)).

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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October 23, 2016

Killing of a Bahai in Yazd was religiously motivated


Bahai News (Persian), October 22, 2016

As previously reported, Farhang Amiri (فرهنگ امیری), a Bahai living in Yazd, was murdered by two brothers who came to the door of his house on the evening of September 26. He suffered multiple stab wounds, including to the heart. According to one report he was first hit on the head with a brick. The men were arrested, and have confessed to the murder, saying they killed Mr. Amiri for religious reasons. The information comes from the Prosecutor’s office in Yazd, via the family of Mr. Amiri. The apparent murderers told the Prosecutor that Bahais, in their eyes, are infidels and a verse in the Quran (which they could not cite) required them to kill infidels. They picked Mr. Amiri at random from among the Bahais, and watched his home and family. The father of the killers is reported to have said that his sons had become radical, and he and the boys’ mother had been feeling that they were about to do something, and had reported their fears to the Ministry of Intelligence. A source interviewed by Bahai News said that the two had acted on their own initiative, although some initials reports had said that a third person, and members of the Basiji (militia), were involved. The source said that Mr. Amiri died when he was stabbed by the older brother, and the younger brother had injured Mr. Amiri in the face with a small knife.

The Universal House of Justice, the elected body that heads the Bahai community world-wide, has issued a letter (in Persian) dated October 19, which states that religious fanaticism was the primary motive for the killing of Mr. Amiri. The letter acknowledges the help of neighbourhood residents leading to the capture of the killers, the work of the police, and the willingness of a lawyer to assist [the family of the deceased], as signs that this fanaticism is not shared by all sectors of society. It is promising that the investigating magistrate has promised to approach the case on the basis of the equality of all citizens.

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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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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October 12, 2016

Interfaith group asks US government to reject report of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Editorial, October 12, 2016.

Kit Bigelow, who was Director of external affairs for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the U.S. until her retirement in June 2010, has appeared as co-signer of a controversial letter from an ad-hoc group of religious leaders. Kit Bigelow is not a leader of the Bahai community. The letter was sent to President Barack Obama, Orrin Hatch as Senate leader (pro-tem) and House Speaker Paul Ryan. The letter states:

We wish to express our deep concern that the Commission has issued a report, Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Non-Discrimination Principles with Civil Liberties, that stigmatizes tens of millions of religious Americans, their communities, and their faith-based institutions, and threatens the religious freedom of all our citizens.

The Commission asserts in its Findings that religious organizations “use the pretext of religious doctrines to discriminate.”

What we find even more disturbing is that, in a statement included in the report, Commission Chairman Martin Castro writes:

“The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”

Kit Bigelow’s name appears as a signatory in her individual capacity as “Religious Freedom Advocate.” The term has been tainted in the USA in the last two election seasons because of its use as a cover for religiously-motivated discrimination, but Kit Bigelow’s activism for real religious liberties goes back much further, and not primarily in relation to the USA.

Current policies in the Bahai community do not allow for the recognition of the legally performed civil unions or marriages of same-sex couples. The policy of the Universal House of Justice is that individuals who are in same-sex marriages should not be allowed to enrol in the Bahai community. This means that they cannot vote, or be elected, for the Spiritual Assemblies that govern the affairs of local Bahai communities, and cannot participate in the open consultations on community affairs by enrolled members which are part of the ‘Feasts’ held in each local community 19 times every year. Those who are excluded from enrollment are not shunned and are not barred from other occasions of worship. The Bahai community today does not campaign against the legal recognition of same-sex marriages.

While the exclusion of individuals in same-sex marriages from membership of the Bahai community is discriminatory, this has not been justified by Bahais under the highly politicized banner of preserving religious freedom. There is nothing in the Bahai teachings that would justify Bahais in discriminating against homosexuals in their business activities, or in any role they might have as public officials. It would be unfortunate if the description of Kit Bigelow as “Religious Freedom Advocate” gave the impression that she, or the Bahai community, were aligned with the political movement that has claimed a religious liberties justification for discrimation in public life.

A PDF of the controversial letter is available here.

The report it criticizes is available as a PDF here.

An example of the dialogues within the Bahai community on this question can be found here.

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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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New arrest in Qorveh


Bahai News (Persian), October 4, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 3, 2016

Two more arrests in Shiraz


Gold News, October 3, 2016.

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Nahriman (روحیه نریمان) and her husband Farzad Delaram (فرزاد دلارام), a Bahai couple with two children, were arrested in a raid on their home in Shiraz on the night of October 2. Their present whereabouts and the reasons for their arrests, and the arrests of a number of other Bahais in Shiraz in recent weeks, are not known. Fourteen Bahais arrested in Shiraz on September 29 are still in detention.

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

October 2, 2016

Six Bahai-run businesses closed in Karaj

Bahai News (Persian), September 29, 2016.

On September 29, officials from the Bureau of Public Places closed down four businesses because they were operated by Bahais. They are a car parts shop run by Javid Iqaneyan ( جاوید ایقانیان ), which was closed previously on September 17, and allowed to reopen a week later, a luxury goods shop run by Amin Rahmani (امین رحمانی), a lighting shop run by Sa`id Vajdani (سعید وجدانی) and a shop called “Elixir” run by Ata’ullah Shahidi (عطالله شهیدی). In the previous week they closed to more Bahai business in Karaj, which I neglected to report at the time: those of Fardad Ja`fari (فرداد جعفری) and Houman Shahidi (هومن شهیدی). Houman Shahidi is the brother of Ata’ullah Shahidi.

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

September 29, 2016

Yashar Rezvani free on bail


Bahai News (Persian), September 28, 2016.

Yashar Rezvani (یاشار رضوانی), a Bahai from Kerman who has been living in Tehran, has been freed on bail. He was arrested in a raid on his home on August 3. After over a month of solitary confinement and interrogation in Evin Prison, he was transferred to a general wing of the same prison. He is to be charged with membership of Bahai organisations. Bail was set at 200 million tumans (56,000 euros; 64,000 $US), and was apparently approved in mid-Septmber, but for some reason his actual release on bail was then delayed for 10 days.

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

September 28, 2016

Two Bahai business closed, more given notice of closure


Bahai News (Persian), September 25, 2016.

On September 22, officials from the Bureau of Public Places closed in Omidieh county, in the southern province of Khuzestan, closed two Bahai-run businesses. They were managed by Mustafa `Ebadi (مصطفی عبادی) and Ayaz Afshari (ایاز افشاری ), and worked in the refrigeration sector. Omidieh county is one of the hottest inhabited places on earth, during the summer months. No reason was given for the closures. The businesses have licenses to operate that are valid for another three years. Other Bahai-run businesses in the Province of Khuzestan have been given a 10-day notice of closure.

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

September 27, 2016

Baha’i murdered in Yazd: two arrests


Bahai News, September 27, 2016.

Farhang Amiri (فرهنگ امیری), a Bahai living in Yazd, was murdered by two persons who came to the door of his house on the evening of September 26. He suffered multiple stab wounds, including to the heart. According to one report he was first hit on the head with a brick. Initial reports are that the murder was not related to his Bahai beliefs, and that two persons have been arrested but not yet charged. The Bahai News report says that two persons came to the door, and when his son Puya opened the door, they made the excuse of asking whether his car was for sale, and then went away. Another report based on a statement from the family says that the same happened on a previous occasion, when Mr. Amiri’s wife opened the door. On the evening of September 26, Mr. Amiri himself opened the door and was immediately attacked. He was taken to hospital, but his injuries were fatal. The two assailants fled but were later arrested on the basis of “information received.” Mr. Amiri’s father was executed for his Bahai beliefs.

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

 

September 23, 2016

Another Bahai business closed in Karaj


Bahai News (Facebook, Persian), September 17, 2016.

A vehicle parts shop in Karaj, run by Javid Iqaneyan ( جاوید ایقانیان ) and his son `Emad Iqaneyan (عماد ایقانیان), was closed by the authorities on September 17. The authorities had refused to renew its business licence, apparently because Mr Javad Iqaneyan is known as a Bahai and has a reputation for integrity and customer service. Three other Bahai-run businesses in Karaj were closed by the authorities on August 16 and 18 this year.

On June 23 this year, the Universal House of Justice issued new guidelines for the observance of Bahai Holy Days in Iran, which allow for various compromises between the Bahais’ desire to close their businesses on the Holy Days and authorities’ desire to reduce the visibility of Bahais in commercial centres. For example, Bahais who have businesses could close the business one day before and one day after the Holy Day as well as on the Holy Day, leave the lights of a business turned on although nobody is working, or have a worker present although no trading is done. But the guidelines reject the idea of seeking official permission to close for a day, where this is neither provided for in legislation nor imposed on non-Bahais, since this would be to accede to government interference in the freedom of conscience. Such compromises have to be worked out locally, and it is not yet clear whether fewer Bahai businesses are being shut down because of the Holy Days issue. The authorities also have a campaign — inconsistently enforced across the country — to exclude Bahais from offering personal services such as optometry to the Muslim population, because Bahais are believed to be “unclean.”

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

September 22, 2016

Yashar Rezvani still held, without bail


Bazdasht, September 19, 2016.

Mr. Yashar Rezvani (یاشار رضوانی), a Bahai from Kerman who has been living in Tehran, was arrested in a raid on his home on August 3. During his interrogation he was held for 33 days in solitary confinement before being transferred to a general wing of Evin Prison in Tehran, and his file was then sent to Bench 28 of the Revolutionary Court. Ten days later his family was able to meet with court officials, who told them that he would remain in custody since the investigator needed two weeks to determine the amount of bail. Yet Mr. Rezvani had been told, in prison, that bail was confirmed. Two weeks have passed but his family has had no response to their enquiries. It would appear that the relevant officials have gone on holiday. It appears that he is charged with membership in a Bahai organization, a charge that he has rejected since there is no such organization [in Iran, because they were disbanded on government orders].

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

More Bahai students barred from university in Iran

Bahai News (Persian), September 21, 2016.

Following the announcement of results from Iran’s University Entrance examinations, and the beginning of the new academic year, several new cases have emerged of students being excluded from education in Iran solely because of their Bahai beliefs. Bahai News has published reports of 22 such cases, nine in the report linked to above, and the remainder in previous reports. The pattern in past years has been that Bahai students are excluded at four points: by being barred from taking the examination, by receiving no results, at the moment of enrollment (as in these 22 cases), or when they are discovered to be Bahais after enrollment.

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

September 13, 2016

Zhila Shahriyari free on bail in Tehran


Bahai News (Persian), September 13, 2016.

Mrs. Zhila Shahriyari (ژیلا شهریاری) has been freed from Evin prison in Tehran, after posting bail. She was arrested in the city on August 13 by a squad of agents travelling in two cars and a pickup, and taken to her home. The agents searched her home for two hours, seizing religious literature, a PC, laptop and mobile phone and all her bank cards.

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

September 12, 2016

Optometry shop closed in Isfahan


Bahai News (Persian), September 12, 2016.

On September 11, local authorities in Isfahan closed down an optometry business run by Aminullah Emani (امین الله ایمنی). He had earlier been visited by local officials who wanted to confirm that he was a Bahai. They left, but returned a little later to shut his business down. Bahai-run optometry shops across Iran have been closed by the authorities in recent years, in an apparent effort to exclude Bahais from working in this sector.

Under Iran’s apartheid policy, Bahais are banned from government jobs and numerous industries, but the list of sectors from which Bahais are banned is formally a secret, and the list changes from time to time. On May 19, 2015, Saham News published a copy of the previously secret list of sectors from which Bahais are banned (by that time the list was already five years old, and incomplete). The order refers to a widely-held Iranian superstition that Bahais are “unclean,” and requires the police bureaus to block them from restaurants, cafeterias and catering, food ingredients and foodstuff sales, takeaways (Iranian-style), cafes, butchers shops, supermarkets, the production and sale of ice-cream, fruit juice, soft drinks, pastry and sweets, and coffee. At some stage optometry was apparently added to the list, and Bahai optometry shops began to be closed by the authorities. In January this year, the Vice President of the Iranian Optometry Association announced that Bahais are still involved in manufacturing and importing glasses, and have an active presence in this industry. This has been followed by the closure of many more Bahai optometrist’s shops.

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

Nazanin Bangaleh free on bail in Shiraz


Bahai News (Persian), September 12, 2016.

Nazanin Bangaleh (نازنین بنگاله), a Bahai who was arrested with her father Na`imatullah Bangaleh (نعمت الله بنگاله) on August 27, was released from detention in Shiraz on September 11, after posting bail of 175 million tumans ($US 56,000; 50,000 euros). There is no news as to where her father is being detained.

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

September 10, 2016

`Azam Motahari released from prison in Yazd


Bahai News (Persian), September 10, 2016.

Mrs. `Azam Motahari (اعظم مطهری) was released from prison in Yazd today, September 10, at the end of a one-year sentence. Towards the end of her sentence she was granted a 15-day prison furlough, beginning on August 10, and it was hoped that this would be extended so that she would not have to return to prison. But it was not to be: she returned to prison and served the remaining days of her sentence. Mrs. Motahari 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.

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

September 8, 2016

Retrial for four Bahais following February miss-trial case in Isfahan


Bazdasht, September 8, 2016.

In February this year, seven Bahais from Isfahan who were among those arrested in raids in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on November 15, 2015, were “tried” in Isfahan, without their knowledge, without legal representation, and apparently without charges, evidence or defence. The lawyer acting for one of the Bahais went to the court, and was told that the trial had already been held and the sentences of the seven Bahais would be announced within the next few days. (A guilty verdict, for a Bahai in an Iranian court, is more or less inevitable). A retrial has been announced for four of these Bahais, and their bail has been increased to 1.2 billion rials (34,000 euros, 38,000 $US). The four, Yeganeh Agahi (یگانه آگاهی), Adib Janamian (ادیب جانمیان), Parvin Nik-A’in(پروین نیک آیین) and `Arsheya Rouhani (عرشیا روحانی) were summoned to court in Isfahan on September 7 and charged with membership of illegal Bahai organisations and undermining national security. The four are among 16 Bahais arrested in raids on Bahai homes conducted by the Ministry of Intelligence in Isfahan, Tehran and Mashhad on November 15, 2015.

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

September 7, 2016

Noushin Zanhari and Ramin Shirvani released on bail


Bahai News (Persian), September 5, 2016.

Noushin Zanhari and Ramin Shirvani (نوشین زنهاری و رامین شیروانی) have been released on bail in Shiraz. Mrs Zanhari was released on August 13, and Mr. Shirvani on August 21. They had been held in the Ministry of Intelligence’s Detention Facility 100 in Shiraz. They were among at least seven Bahais and a number of other residents of Shiraz who associated with Bahais who were arrested on the morning of July 16. One of the Bahais arrested, Na’im Qa’idsharfi (نعیم قائدشرفی), was released on bail on July 18.

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Ruhiyyeh Sabet released in Yemen

Filed under: Bahai rights — Sen @ 19:30
Tags: , , , ,


Bazdasht, September 7, 2016.

Mrs. Ruhiyyeh Sabet (روحيه ثابت), one of the Bahais detained in Yemen since August 10, has been released without having to post bail. According to latest reports, this leaves 14 of this group of Bahais in prison in Yemen. During the raid on a youth training seminar organised by the Yemeni Baha’i community and sponsored by the Nida Foundation for Human Development, 60 people were arrested. About half of them, who were not Bahais, and all the girls under 18, were released quickly. Half the remainder have been released over the past 4 weeks.

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

September 2, 2016

Mr. Iraj Lohrasb released from prison


Bazdasht, June 28, 2016
[This report is two months old: I overlooked it at the time ~Sen]

Mr. Iraj Lohrasb (ایرج لهراسب) has been released from prison in Yazd at the end of a two-year sentence for posting pictures of the vandalism of the Bahai cemetery in Yazd on his Facebook page. He was arrested on June 30, 2014 and sentenced in November that year. He served the whole two years without any prison furlough. In 1983, Mr. Lohrasb was imprisoned for several months and then exiled, along with a number of Bahais, to Zabol, a town on the Afghan border. He was allowed to return to his home about 6 years later.

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

August 30, 2016

Denial of pensions for Bahais in Iran


Aasoo (Persian), undated [August 2016]

The website Aasoo has published a document from the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security in Iran, dated 23 May 2011. The letter, written by the management of the national pension fund, responding to a petition from Mr. Nahid Mehrabkhani (ناهید مهراب‌خانی ) states that no pension can be paid out to him because, in February 1984 he was dismissed from employment by the Ministry of Education because of his Bahai beliefs. The denial of pensions for Bahais after the 1979 revolution was widespread, but documents of individual cases seldom surface. The document in this case implies the existence of a general rule that state pensions cannot be paid to Bahais.

In September 2013, Behzad Shokuhi ( بهزاد شکوهی ), then 75 years old, was beaten up and insulted at the Provincial Government Offices for Tehran province, where he had gone to seek payment of pension rights accumulated when he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture before the 1979 revolution. Like other Bahais in the civil service he was fired and banned from any further work for the government.
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Gold News has published another ruling, in which Mr Mansour Baqa’i (منصور بقايي) is denied not only pension rights but also the health insurance coverage for himself and his family. Unfortunately the year given in the signature date is illegible, to me: it might be ’95’ (this year) or ’75.

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

 

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