Increase in Arrests of Baha’i Citizens in Shiraz

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On Friday, August 17, 2018, Baha’i citizens Pezhman Shahriari, Dorna Esmaili, Hooman Esmaili, Kourosh Rouhani, Negar Misaghian and Mahboob Habibi were arrested by security forces and transferred to the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center in the city of Shiraz.

An informed source told HRANA: “Negar Misaghian and Dorna Esmaili were released hours after [their arrest].”

Unconfirmed reports from sources close to the security apparatus say at least 40 Baha’i citizens in Shiraz were arrested today, during a planned operation. HRANA is in the process of investigating this claim.

Baha’i citizens of Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectives, in public or in private.

Though unofficial sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

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