The Continued Detention of Baha’i Citizens Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi in Shiraz 

Posted on: May 18th, 2021

After three weeks, Bahai citizens Saeed Abedi and Vahid Dana are still detained in Shiraz in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center known as No. 100. Following mass arrests and home searches of Bahai citizens in Shiraz, Abedi and Dana were arrested by intelligence agents on April 28th.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Vahid Dana has an acute type of chronic hypertension, and was under supervision of a specialist doctor prior to the arrest due to symptoms of angina pectoris. According to a source close to his family, Dana’s heart problems started in 2014, during a previous detention. The continued detention of the two citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with the failure of officials to provide any update on their condition, has raised concern among their families.

Abedi and Dana were arrested in their homes by intelligence agents and then transferred to the detention center. Officers searched their homes and confiscated some of their personal belongings, including cell phones, personal computers, books, and images related to the Baha’i faith.

With the beginning of the wave of pressure on Baha’i citizens, 7 additional Baha’i citizens from Shiraz, (Saeed Ittihad, Qasem Masoumi, Siamak Honarvar, Soroush Abadi, Sedigheh Aghdasi, Alieh Foroutan, and Behrooz Farzandi Ardakani) were also arrested by agents in March. Their houses were searched, and some personal belongings seized by security forces. They were gradually released on bail after about a month.

Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi had been previously arrested and charged in August of 2018. Each were sentenced to one year in prison and one year in exile, in absentia and without their or their lawyers’ information, by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. These sentences were then reduced to 6 months imprisonment each by Branch 17 of the FarsProvince Court of Appeals. Later that year, they were both pardoned on the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

According to unofficial sources, more than 300,000 Baha’is live in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Because their faith is not considered legitimate by authorities, the rights of Baha’is in Iran have been systematically violated during recent  years. This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a violation 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

It is unclear when Dana and Abedi will be released.

 

Dervish Woman Handed Prison Sentence on National Security Charges

Posted on: August 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) When 324 members of the Dervish Muslim minority [1] were arrested February 3, 2018, Sepideh Moradi was among them. According to Human Rights Watch, a sense of injustice over intensified government surveillance of their spiritual leader prompted Moradi and her comrades to organize a protest, which flagged them as threats in the eyes of authorities.

Sure enough, Dervish news agency Majzooban Noor reported that when a detained Moradi–in protest of a lack of due process and legal representation for Dervishes–refused to attend her trial on July 28th, she was sentenced in absentia by Judge Salavati and is now beginning a five-year sentence at Gharchak Varamin Prison [2] for “Collusion to Act against National Security.”

Salavati leaned on section 23 of the Islamic Penal Code to stiffen Moradi’s sentence with two-year bans on travel, membership in political groups and parties, and media or cyber activity. She had already been barred from pursuing her master’s degree in Computer Science on a prior charge.

“The accused is the daughter of Hamidreza Moradi, an extremist figure and one of the directors of the Majzooban Noor website,” her verdict read. “She was raised in a dogmatic Dervish family, and joined the Gonabadi Dervish sect under the influence of their deviant beliefs.”

Moradi and her fellow women Dervishes reportedly endured mistreatment and torture over the course of their interrogation and detention. At one point Moradi went on hunger strike to protest a violent raid conducted June 13th by the Special Guard Force of the prison. HRANA previously published the identities of these attackers.

She received medical care from an outside facility on July 25th after weeks of follow-ups; as of the date of this report, no further information was available on her health condition.

Tehran General Prosecutor Jafari Dolatabadi announced on July 24th that 330 sentences had thus far been handed down in Dervish cases. He added: “In the cases of those 25 who refused to attend their court sessions in attempts to thwart trial proceedings, the court […] followed through with procedure. Their verdicts were delivered in person.”

[1] There are various divisions among Dervishes in Iran; those featured in this article are Nematollahi Gonabadis who consider themselves followers of Twelver Shia Islam, the official state religion in Iran. According to Human Rights Watch, Noor Ali Tabandeh, spiritual leader of the Nematollahi Gonabadi Dervish faith, published a video on March 8th stating that he is not allowed to leave his residence in Tehran.

[2] For more information on deplorable conditions in Gharchak prison, please refer to pages 18 to 20 of the following document compiled by UK Home Office:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/565834/CIG-Iran-Prison-Conditions-v1-February-2016.pdf

Amanollah Mostaghim was transferred to Rajaie Shahr Prison

Posted on: June 5th, 2013

HRANA News Agency – On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Amanollah Mostaghim, a member of the Baha’is Science Institute of Iran, was transferred to Rajaie Shahr Prison in Karaj.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mostaghim reported to Evin prison on May 20, 2013 and was subsequently detained there.  He is now being held in Ward 4, Hall 12 of Rajaie Shahr Prison.  (more…)

Four Baha’i citizens were tried and sentenced in Mashhad

Posted on: May 31st, 2013

HRANA News Agency – Four Baha’i citizens were tried and sentenced to prison in Mashhad.  Nika Kholoosi, Nava Kholoosi, Adib Sho’aie and Mahsa Mahdavi received sentences ranging from eight months to six years.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), these prisoners of conscious were tried in the 3rd branch of Revolutionary Court in Mashhad.  Judge Soltani presided over the trial during which the defenders were charged with promoting the Baha’i religion, propaganda against the Islamic regime and membership in Baha’i groups. (more…)