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One and Half Century of Imprisonment; Comprehensive List of 25 Baha’i Prisoners in the Provinces of Tehran and Alborz

Posted on: 21st August, 2017
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Adel Na`imi

HRANA News Agency  –Baha’is living in Iran are deprived of their basic human and civil rights due to their religious believe. Discrimination, demonizing, enmity, prejudice, hatred, persecution, murder and imprisonment are to name some forms of anti-Baha’i in Iran. Currently there are many Baha’I citizens imprisoned across the country. The following focuses on the imprisoned Baha’is in the province of Tehran and Alborz as one of the provinces with the highest number of Baha’is’ detention.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), currently at least 25 Baha’i citizens are enduring multiple bans and total of 160 years of imprisonment in prisons across province of Tehran and Alborz. Following is a brief report by HRANA on the latest status of these citizens in the center of the country who are solely imprisoned for their personal believes:

Mahvash Shahriary Sabet was arrested on March 5th 2008. After her arrest she was transferred to the solitary confinements of Ward 209 of the Evin Prison. On May 2008, 6 other members of the “Yaran-e Iran” were arrested under similar charges. During the first 20 months of her arrest Ms. Sabet was not allowed to contact a lawyer and was not formally informed of her charges. On 11th February 2009, the prosecutor office of Tehran announced an order of conviction for Mahvash Sabet and 6 other directors of the Baha’i community under charges of “Espionage for Israel”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities” and “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic Regime”. Later on the 12th June 2010, they received 20 years of imprisonment for charges of “Espionage”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities”, “Propaganda against the Regime” and “Spreading Corruption on Earth”, that is while Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamal Abadi, Jamal-aldin Khanjani, Afif Naimi, Saeed Rezaee, Behrouz Tavakoli and Vahid Tizfahm refused to attend their final Trial in protest against the court sessions being closed and unlawful. On December 2015, with implementation of article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code this sentence was reduced to 10 years of imprisonment.

Fariba Kamal Abadi, a member of “Yaran-e Iran” (directors of Baha’i Community) was arrested twice in 2005 and she was arrested for the third time in 2008 when she was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the branch 28 of the revolutionary court under charges of “Espionage for Israel”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities” and “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s Regime”. Ms. Kamal Abadi’s sentences was later reduced to 10 years and is currently serving her 9th year in the women’s ward of Evin Prison.

Fariba Kamal Abadi, born in Tehran on 13th September 1962 is imprisoned for her religious believes. Her father was a Baha’i doctor who had been arrested and tortured during the 80s. Fariba married “Rouh-Allah Tayefi Nasr Abadi” and from this marriage she has three children named Vargha, Alhan and Taraneh. After the Revolution Ms. Kamal Abadi, like other Baha’is, had been unable to attend officially recognized universities of the country, and has completed her studies in Unofficial and distance Baha’i University where she received Bachelor and Master Degree in Baha’I studies.

Elham Farahani was arrested along with her husband, Adel Naimi on July 11, 2012. In only less than 10 days, their son Shamim Naimi was also arrested. She was held for in solitary confinement of ward 209 of Evin for two months, before being temporarily released along with her son on a bail of 1 billion IRR. Mrs. Farahani, her husband and her son, all were trialed in a 5-minutes long trial at the branch 28 of the revolutionary court, where she was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment by judge Moghiseh. Adel Naimi was sentenced to 10 years and Shamim Naimi was sentenced to 3 years in prison. She is currently hospitalized in Jam hospital for elbow surgery operation. The men of this family are being kept in Rajai Shahr prison of Karaj.

Nasim Bagheri’s house was raided by the security forces On May 22, 2011, some electronic and communication devices were sized and no arrests made. The next day, she was summoned to the intelligence office for interrogations.

In February 2013 she was summoned to Shahid Moghadas court and was temporarily released on bail of 500 million IRR. On October 8, 2013, judge Moghiseh in branch number 28 of the revolutionary court, sentenced her to 4 years of imprisonment.  Later on the 27th of April 2014, she was arrested and transferred to women’s ward of Evin prison in order to serve her sentence. Ms. Bagheri has been deprived of furlough even though she is suffering from thyroids illness.

Azita Rafizadeh’s house was raided by the security forces On May 22, 2011, some electronic and communication devices were sized and no arrests made. Later Mrs. Rafizadeh was summoned to the intelligence office and received the letter of withdrawal of prosecution in September 2011. But the same case was reopened in February 2012 and she was summoned to Shahid Moghadas court, and released on a bail of 500 million IRR.

On May 2014, Ms. Rafizadeh was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment by Judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court. Ms. Rafizadeh self-surrendered to Evin prison on October 25, 2014 in order to serve her sentence. Her husband, Payman Kooshk-baghi is also currently serving 5 years of imprisonment in Rajaei Shahr prison, this couple has a 6-year-old son.

Kamal Kashani, born in 1968 in Gonbad Kavoos was arrested on October 17, 2012 in Gorgan and transferred to Tehran. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison by judge Moghise in branch 28 of the revolutionary court under charges of “Propaganda against the Regime, Cooperation with Conflicting Countries and Membership in Bahai Underground Organization”.

This Bahai citizen was expelled from university in 1980s while attending his last semester of studies in the major of Automobile Industry. From1983 to 1988 he was arrested and has served 5 years and three months in prison for being a member of spiritual assembly of Bandar Torkaman. His older brother “Jamal Kashani” a member of spiritual assembly of Dehghan Villa was arrested in Karaj about the same time, and in December 1984 he was executed in the Evin prison.

Farhad Fahandexh, born in 1969 in Torbat-e-Haidariyeh and was a resident of Gorgan. He was arrested on October 17, 2012 in his house and after 7 months in limbo, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by judge Moghiseh in branch number 28 of the revolutionary court, on charge of “Advocacy of Bahai faith and managing a Bahai Organization”.

Need to be mentioned, he was previously arrested in 1983 (when he was 24 years old) and has been sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment. He is suffering from different digestive diseases due to poor prison conditions.

Foad Fahandexh (younger brother of Farhad Fahandexh), born in 1963 in Torbat-e-Haidariyeh, and a resident of Gonbad Kavoosh, was arrested on October 17, 2012 and under charges of “Propaganda Against the Regime, Cooperation with Conflicting
Countries, Membership in an Underground Bahai Organization” has been sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment by judge Moghiseh in the branch 28 of the revolutionary court.

Worth mentioning, despite all of the efforts made to obtain a furlough for him to attend his daughter’s wedding, furlough was rejected. According to him, judge Moghiseh only with few questions and for giving positive answer to the question of “do you pray at your house with your family?” has told him “only this, is enough to issue a sentence for you”.

Koorosh Ziyari, born in 1964 in Sangar and resident of Gonbad Kavoos, was arrested on the way back to his home in Gorgan, on November 18, 2012. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court under chargeds of “Propaganda against the Regime, Cooperation with Conflicting Countries, and Membership in an Underground Bahai Organization”.

Just two months before his arrest Mr. Ziyari had injured and broken his leg in an accident, his cast had been recently removed and he was still under treatments at the time of his arrest. Due to lack of compilation of his treatment he suffered from leg and back pain for a while in the prison. After multiple requests for medical furlough, Mr. Ziyari was transferred a few times to the hospital, yet he is not healed completely.

Payam Markazi, born in 1965 in Tehran and resident of Gorgan was arrested on November 18, 2012. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court under charges of “Propaganda against the Regime, Cooperation with Conflicting Countries, and Membership in an Underground Bahai Organization”. Judicial authorities have rejected his request for furlough to attend his daughter’s wedding, or to help his ill mother.

His father, Amirhooshang (Shapoor) Markazi was executed in October 1984 at the Evin prison. His mother, Parichehr Azadeh, has also been imprisoned for 5 years during the 1980s.

Siyamak Sadri, born in 1973 in Yazd and resident of Gorgan was arrested on October 17, 2012. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court under charges of “Propaganda against the Regime, Cooperation with Conflicting Countries, and Membership in an Underground Bahai Organization”.

This Bahai citizen was fired from ministry of agriculture because of his religion.

Farahmand Sanayi, born in 1966 in Gorgan, along with his wife were arrested at their home on October 17, 2012. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court under charges of “Propaganda against the Regime, Cooperation with Conflicting Countries, and Membership in an Underground Bahai Organization”. After a while his wife was released on bail.

Farhad Eghbali, born in 1958 in Bandar-e-Gaz and resident of Gorgan was arrested along with 4 other Baha’I citizens on November 18, 2012. He was initially released on bail on the same day due to his health conditions. Later He was sentenced to 5 years in prison by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court under charges of “Propaganda against the Regime, Cooperation with Conflicting Countries, and Membership in an Underground Bahai Organization”. Eventually on the 27th of August 2014, contrary to advice of cardiologist, he was summoned and transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in order to serve his sentence.

Shahab Dehghani was arrested on 10th July 2012 in Tehran, in a massive crack down of security forces on the Baha’I citizens. In this crackdown 20 baha’I citizens were arrested in cities of Tehran, Mashahad and shiraz. He was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment and on 22nd, May 2014 self-surrendered to Evin prison in order to serve his sentence, and only one day later he was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison.

Mr. Dehghani is currently serving his 4 years sentence in the salon 12 of Rajai Sahr Prison. It worth mentioning that Mr. Dehghani’s Wife, Shamim Mohajer is also sentenced to one year of imprisonment under similar charges.

Vahed Kholousi, human right activist, was arrested on 17th August 2011, and after receiving his summon to the third branch of Evin prison court, was arrested on his visit. He was held in ward 2-A of the revolutionary Guards in Evin prison, and then was exiled to Rajai Shahr prison.

Mr. Kholousi was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutiojnary court. This sentence was upheld by the appeals court.

His charges are “Assembly and Collusion against National Security, Propaganda for the Baha’ism and Membership in its community, Membership and Effective activism in Education Right Organizations, Membership in Human Right Organizations, and Propaganda against the Islamic Republic Regime”.

Afshin Syed Ahmad was arrested in 2011, and was under interrogations for 40 days in solitary confinements of ward 209 of Evin prison before he was temporarily released on bail.

Mr. Seyed Ahmad was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court under charges of “propaganda against the regime, and assembly and collusion”; this sentence was upheld by the appeal court.

Saeed Rezaee is one of the seven board members of National Iranian Baha’I community, whom on 14, May 2008 along with the 5 other board members, Fariba Kamal Abadi, Jamal-aldin Khanjani, Afif Naeemi, Behrouz Tavakoli and Vahid Tizfahm, were arrested and transferred to Evin Prison by the security forces raid at their homes. This incident was after the arrest of Mahvash Sabet another board member in March 2008.

Need to be reminded, on February 2009, prosecutor’s office of Tehran’s security, announced its order of conviction for 7 Baha’I Citizens under charges of “Espionage for Israel”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities” and “Propaganda Against the Regime”. On august 2010, each one of them were sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by judge Moghiseh in branch 28 of the revolutionary court, which makes up 140 years of imprisonment in total.

After reciving the sentence, Mr. Rezaee was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison, where he spent 6 months in ward 6 with general prisoners before being transferred to salon 12 of ward 4 of this prison were the political prisoners are held.

Mr. Rezaee is serving his last year in prison, by the reduction of his sentence to 10 years of imprisonment.

Vahid Tizfahm was born in 1973 at Urumieh and lived in Tehran. He was a former board member of the National Iranian Baha’í community. After being arrested in May 2008, he was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the branch 28 of the Revolutionary court of Tehran, on charges of “Espionage for Israel”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities” and “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s Regime”. He is currently detained at Rajai Shahr Prison with reduced sentence of 10 years of imprisonment.

Vahid Tizfahm was an optician and owned an optical shop in Tabriz, where he lived till early 2008 before he moved to Tehran.

He was born in Urumieh and spent his childhood and teenage days in that city. After earning his high school diploma he moved to Tabriz to continue his education in optometry. He later studied sociology in Baha’I studies higher institution, under Baha’is higher educational institute.

Afif Naimi a former board member of the National Iranian Baha’I community was arrested in May 2008 and was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the branch 28 of the Revolutionary court of Tehran, on charges of “Espionage for Israel”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities” and “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s Regime”. Afif Naimi is suffering from many health issues in the prison, such as blood clotting, periodic anesthesia, acute irritation and swelling of the lymph nodes in the throat and is currently detained at the Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj.

Adel Naimi born in 1952 in Tehran and his Wife Elham Farahani (naimi) are two of the arrestees of the 21st July 2012. Their home was inspected for hours and many of their personal belongings, books, pictures and CDs related to Baha’I Faith were sized. 23rd July of the same year, their son, Shamim Naimi was summoned to the Shahid Moghadas Court in the Evin Prison, where he was arrested at the visit. After nearly a month Elham and shamim were released on bail until their trial, but Adel, the Father of the family, was still detained at the solitary confinement. Nearly 3 months later he was transferred to the public ward and then transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison.

On 24th, April 2013, Adel Moghimi’s trial took place on the 24th of April 2013 along with seven other Baha’I citizens from Gorgan and Gonbade Kavous who have been transferred to Rajai Sahr Prison.

Even though there was no connection between Adel Naimi’s case and Baha’I prisoners of Gorgan’s case, yet branch 28 of the Tehran’s Revolutionary Court headed by Judge Moghiseh attended to both cases in on trial.

These eight baha’i citizens were charged with: “spreading Propaganda Agains the Regime”, “establishing and administrating illegal Baha’I organizations” and “membership in illegal Baha’I organizations”.

According to the verdict Adel Naimi was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment and the other 5 defendants were each sentenced to 5 to 10 years of imprisonment, all of which are currently detained at the Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj.

Behrouz Tavakoli, born in1951 in the city of Mashhad was arrested in May 2008.  Mr. Tavakoli was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the branch 28 of the Revolutionary court of Tehran, on charges of “Espionage for Israel”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities” and “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s Regime”. He is currently detained at Rajai shahr prison with his sentenced reduced to 10 years of imprisonment. Behrouz Tavakoli worked as a social worker until the early 1980s, however then due to his belief in Baha’I Faith, he was expelled from his government job. Previous to Mr. Tavakoli’s recent detention, he had frequently been persecuted and arrested. 3 years prior to his arrest, Behrouz Tavakoli was detained in solitary confinement for 4 months without any charges and as a result suffers from serious kidney and joint problems.

Mr. Tavakoli is a graduate of Psychology, and after completing his two-year military service (as the lieutenant), and taking on training and specializing in caring for physically and mentally disabled people was working and holding a government job, until he was expel because of his belief in Baha’ism.

Mr. Tavakoli, was elected in Mashhad as the local Baha’i governing council (local Spiritual Assembly) when he was still a university student, and later he served at a different local council in Sari. These advisory councils were shut down by the government in the early 1980s. He was a member in a few youth committees as well, and in early 1980s joined the deputy board. After being expelled from his government job, he opened a small carpenter shop in the city of Gonbad to be able to make a living; he also launched classes in Baha’I studies for the youth and adults in the same city.

Jamal-Aldin Khanjani, born in Sangsar in 1933 and resident of Tehran, was arrested on May 2008, and was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the branch 28 of the revolutionary court of Tehran under charges of “Espionage for Israel”, “Insulting Religious Sanctities” and “Propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s Regime”. This elderly Baha’I Citizen suffers from many illnesses due to his age and is currently serving his reduced sentence of 10 years at ward 350 of Evin prison.

Mr. Khanjani was a successful factory owner who lost his business after the Islamic revolution of 1978, for being Baha’i. Hundreds of people were working in his brick Factory (the first automated factory of this kind in Iran) before it was forced to shut down.

Mr. Khanjani was a former member of the “National Spiritual Assembly of Iran” in 1984, four of nine members of this assembly have been executed by the Iranian Regime.

Later on Mr. Khanjani was able to build an automated farm in one of the lots belonging to his family, yet the government officials created several limitations that made managing the farm difficult. Such limitations have been extended to Mr. Khanjani’s relatives and children as well, limitation and difficulties such as, prevention from receiving loans, closing down their businesses, limitation on their commercial trading and they have been prevented from traveling outside Iran.

Mr. Khanjani has been arrested and detained at least three times prior to his recent arrest in 2008.

Keyvan Rahimian, imprisoned at Rajai Shahr prison since 2012, is a professor at Bha’is University.

Mr. Rahamian one of the professors of The Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), has been sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment and financial fine of 97 million IRR. He is supposed to be released on September 2017.

Worth mentioning, Mr. Rahimian’s Brother, Kamran Rahimian, has also been sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment for teaching at BIHE. He was released at the end of his sentence the past august. Also Keyvan Rahimians sister in Law has been sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment under similar charges.

Navid Khanjani is the former director of the educational rights committee of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI), a member of Committee of Human Rights Reporters and founder of the Association against Educational Discrimination. Mr. Khanjani was arrested by the security forces in March 2010, and was detained for about 2 months. Later he was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment and 4000 IRR in financial fines by judge Pir-Abbas in branch 26 of the revolutionary court. This sentence was upheld by the appeal court.

Mr. Khanjani’s has been charged with “Spreading lies”, “Disturbing and propaganda against the regime by disseminating news, reports, and interviews with foreign radio and TV” and “Membership in illegal groups”.

Navaid Khanjani the imprisoned human right activist detained at Rajai Shahr prison has been previously sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment, and with implementation of article 134 of penal code and reduction of sentences faces 5 years of imprisonment.

Peyman Koushk Baghi and his wife, Azita Rafizadeh, were arrested in June 2011, under charge of “Collaborating with Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE)”. This Baha’I Couple that have graduated in Computer engineering from BIHE, started teaching at the same online university for Baha’I students deprived of education. Ms. Azita Rafizadeh was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment for teaching at BIHE, and is currently serving her sentence at Evin Prison, and Mr. Koushk Baghi was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment.

On Sunday, 2016 February 2017, Peyman Koushk Baghi while was going with his 6 year old son, Bashir, to visit his wife “Azita Rafizadeh” in the Evin prison, was arrested by 3 undercover guards before entering the visiting hall, and after being held for a  month in solitary confinement was transferred to ward 8 of Evin prison.

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