Baha’i Citizen Parwa Behdad Arrested

On November 14, 2022, security forces arrested Baha’i citizen Parwa Behdad at her house in Isfahan and took her to an undisclosed location. The agents also searched her home and confiscated some of her personal belongings.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on November 14, 2022, Parwa Behdad was arrested at her house in Isfahan.

The reason for this arrest, charges and her whereabouts are still unknown.

 

Baha’is Citizen Enayatollah Naeimi Arrested

Last Wednesday, September 28, security forces arrested Baha’is citizen Enayatollah Naeimi in Isfahan. The agents searched his house, workplace and garden in the Isfahan suburbs. Naeimi was a member of a now-disbanded Baha’i group known as the “Yaran e Iran” or “Friends of Iran,” which addressed the spiritual and social needs of the Baha’i community.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on September 28, 2022, the intelligence agents arrested Baha’is citizen Enayatollah Naeimi in Isfahan.

An informed source told HRANA that Naeimi underwent surgery last year and is now in poor health condition, making him hard to endure jail.

On July 31, 2022, three other members of the “Yaran e Iran” Afif Naeimi, Mahvash Sabet and Fariba Kamal Abadi were arrested.

Baha’i Individual Fariba Ashtari Arrested in Yazd

On September 7, 2022, the intelligence agents arrested Fariba Ashtari and transferred her to Yazd Prison.

An informed source told HRANA that Ashtari has been arrested to start her five-year sentence. She had a heart disease for which she had undergone surgery two times last year.

On December 2, 2019, the intelligence agents arrested Ashtari at her house and on February 2019, she was released on bail.

On June 20, 2020, the Revolutionary Court of Yazd sentenced Ashtari to five years on the charge of “membership in an anti-regime group” and one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime”. Based on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, five years imprisonment for the first charge is enforceable to her.

Previously, Ashtari and her husband and son had also faced arrests and convictions. Between 2014 to 2016, she had been imprisoned in Yazd Prison. Her husband, Naser Bagheri was imprisoned for nine months. Her Son, Faez Bagheri was arrested in March of 2015, when he was 17 years old. He was released on bail after five months. Later, he was sentenced to three years in prison but the verdict was commuted to a one-million-toman fine on appeal.

Four Baha’is’ Pre-trial Detention Extended 

The judicial authorities extended four Baha’i individuals’ detention time for a month. The individuals are identified as Basir Samimi, Negar Darabi, Samieh Gholinejad, and Bita Haghighi. Two last individuals contracted Covid-19 in Qaemshahr Prison and were denied proper medical care.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the pre-trial detentions of four Baha’is, Basir Samimi, Negar Darabi, Samieh Gholinejad, and Bita Haghighi were extended for one month.

On August 31, security forces arrested 14 Baha’is in Qaemshahr, of which two were released after a few hours and eight later on bail. During the arrest,  agents mistreated the individuals and caused injuries.

One informed source told  HRANA that judicial authorities cited “the lack of cooperation with interrogators” as the reason for the prolonged detention of these individuals.

The reasons for these arrests and the charges are unknown so far.

UN Human Rights Experts: Stop Persecution of Baha’is

In a statement issued on August 22, UN Human Rights Experts urged Iranian authorities to stop “persecution and harassment of religious minorities and end the use of religion to curtail the exercise of fundamental rights”. In recent weeks, security and judicial authorities targeted dozens of Baha’is in a new wave of arrests, house searches, land confiscations and home demolishing. 

Additionally, dozens of Baha’is were banned from entering the university. The organization demanded that the international community should not remain silent while”the Iranian authorities use overbroad and vague national security and espionage charges to silence religious minorities or people with dissenting opinions, remove them from their homes and effectively force them into internal displacement”.

Further, the organization called for an “immediate and unconditional release of all individuals detained on the basis of their religious affiliation.”

In recent weeks, in several cities across the country, security forces raided at least 36 Baha’i houses. They also arrested 44 Baha’is including three members of a now-disbanded Baha’i group known as the “Yaran e Iran” or “Friends of Iran.” 

In early August, in Roshan-Kouh village, Mazandaran Province, state-owned agencies demolished Baha’i-owned houses and grabbed their lands. During this operation, the security forces arrested a Baha’i citizen and beat another one.

Also, this year, like the previous years, many Baha’is were banned from entering the university under the pretext of “document deficiencies”. So far, HRANA has identified 63 Baha’i applicants whose enrollments have been rejected by the National Organization of Educational Testing (NOET).

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Baha’is Banned from Higher Education in Iran

HRANA has identified 60 Baha’is this year who sat for the nationwide university entrance exam and were banned from entering the university under the pretext of “document deficiencies.”

The individuals who complained to the National Organization of Educational Testing (NOET), have been threatened by the security apparatus.

Each year, numerous Baha’is participate in the nationwide university entrance examination and get rejected for various reasons by the official website of the NOET, an organization designated for holding the exams and announcing the results.

The enactment of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution of Iran, which ensures that education and culture remain in line with the Islamic teachings, barred Baha’is from taking an occupational position as well as tertiary education. This is at odds with Iran’s laws recognizing the right to education indiscriminately for all citizens.

 Such systematic discriminations stand in violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which both affirm that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

Imprisoned Baha’i Hanan Hashemi Pressured to Make Forced Confession

In a phone call, Imprisoned Baha’i individual Hanan Hashemi informed her family that she is under pressure by the interrogators to make a forced confession. She is currently at a detention facility belonging to the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Baha’i individual Hanan Hashemi is in custody and under pressure to make a  confession.

An informed source told Hrana that Hashemi told her family during a phone call that interrogators have told her that her release from prison will only happen if she makes a confession as they instruct. 

On July 19, 2022, security forces arrested Hashemi and four other Baha’is, Niloofar Hosseini, Misagh Manavipour, Bahyeh Manavipour, and Elhan Hashemi in Shiraz, of which Niloofar Hosseini and Elhan Hashemi have been released on bail.

The charges against these individuals are unknown so far.

Baha’is Houses Demolished, One Arrested

In Roshan-Kouh village, Mazandaran Province, state-owned agencies demolished Baha’i-owned houses and grabbed their lands. During this operation, the security forces arrested a Baha’i citizen and beat another one.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, a Baha’i citizen identified as Farid Alavi was arrested during a state-run operation to demolish Baha’i houses to grab their lands.

On August 2, 2022, about 200 police special forces, security police and the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad officials blocked the Roshan-Kouh village and begin to demolish six houses owned by the Baha’i residents with an excavator and other heavy machinery. They also grabbed about 20 hectares of farmland and installed barbed wire fences around them.

An informed source told HRANA that the agents used pepper spray against those who resisted. 

Earlier, on August 2, 2021, security forces raided and demolished three Baha’i houses in this village without prior notice. This incident has created reactions on global media and Farsi-speaking social media.

Three Detained Baha’is Released in Shiraz, Five Others Still Detained 

On July 26, 2022, three detained Baha’i residents of Shiraz, Shaghayegh Khaneh-Zarin, Negar Ighani and Zhila Sharafi Nasrabadi were released from prison on bail. 

Five other Baha’is, Niloofar Hosseini, Misagh Manavipour, Bahyeh Manavipour, Elhan Hashemi and Hanan Hashemi are still held at a detention facility known as Number 100 in Shiraz. These individuals had been arrested on July 19, 2022.

An informed source told HRANA that the detained individuals are still under interrogation and the charges against them are unknown so far. 

According to the Baha’i International Community (BIC), during the last month, 44 Baha’is were arrested, arraigned or imprisoned.

Bani Dugal, BIC’s Principal Representative to the United Nations said “Baha’is in Iran have experienced ongoing persecution for their beliefs over the last 44 years, But the present acceleration is beyond troubling”

Freedom of religion is a breach of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations Covenant holds that every person has the right to practice religion freely, freedom of converting to a religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively, openly or secretly.

Baha’i Citizen Shahnaz Sabet Arrested and Sent to Adel-Abad Prison

On Saturday, March 12, 2022, Baha’i citizen Shahnaz Sabet was arrested by security forces and transferred to Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz city.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Saturday, March 12, 2022, Iranian Bahai citizen Shahnaz Sabet was arrested and sent to Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz for her sentencing.

According to an informed source close to Ms Sabet, while she was still awaiting the final verdict of the Supreme Court of Iran, they arrested her and took her to prison. Ms Sabet suffers from severe back pain and kidney stone, which raises concerns about her health conditions in prison.

On September 1, 2019, the security forces arrested Shahnaz Sabet at her house in Shiraz. After a while, she was released on bail until the end of legal proceedings. At the time of the arrest, the agents searched her house and confiscated some of her personal belongings.

On May 10, 2020, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz sentenced her to six years imprisonment on the charges of “propaganda against the regime and membership in anti-regime groups.”

In July of 2020, in a trial in absentia, the Court of Appeals of Shiraz reduced the sentence to two years in prison.

On October 12, 2020, she was arrested to serve her sentencing. On May 2, 2021, she was released temporary from prison after the approval of her request for a retrial by the Supreme Court of Iran.

According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam as the official religion, in addition to Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Bahai faith is not considered legitimate by the authorities, and the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated for years.

Freedom of religion is a breach of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations Covenant holds that every person has the right to practice religion freely, freedom of converting to a religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.