Report on the Arrest of Fifteen Members of an Iranian Religious Group

In December 2022, fifteen members of a religious group called “Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light” were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence agents and jailed in Evin Prison.

According to the reports obtained from multiple sources, these individuals were targeted and arrested due to their beliefs, deemed heretical to Shia beliefs by Iran’s regime. The arrests occurred on the 15th of December 2022, but it is unclear where the arrests took place.

Four individuals’ passports were confiscated at the airport while leaving the country. The detained individuals have been forced to sign a repentance letter, renouncing their faith and denouncing their leader.

These detained individuals, including two women and three minors, are:

1- Ghasem Yousefi Ramanti – from Babol – (his passport was seized at Imam Khomeini Airport on December 7)
2- Mohammad Reza Shekarian Asl, a resident of Tehran, was arrested for the second time.
3- Alireza Akbari Arzati
4- Owais Akbari Arzati
5- Maryam Naqshbandi
6- the 8-year-old child of Alireza Akbari Arzati and Maryam Naqshbandi
7- the 14-year-old son of Alireza Akbari Arzati and Maryam Naqshbandi
8- Saeed Gudarzi – (His passport was seized at Khomeini Airport on December 7)
9- Mohammad Hashem Bazarafshan- (His passport was seized at Khomeini Airport on December 7)
10-Hamid Reza Yousefi – (his passport was seized at Khomeini Airport on December 7)
11- Saba Sedaghat
12- Amir-Mahdi (last name is unknown)
13- Farzan (last name is unknown)
14- Mohammad Amin Nouri, 17 years old (detained in the correctional center)
15- Arman Feydabadi

Their legal cases have been delivered to the Special Clerical Court.

Ahmadi (officially: Ahmadi religion of peace and light, not confused with the Qadiani sect) are supporters of a religious movement that believes in “Imam Muhammad Mahdi and Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan”.

Iran’s security apparatus, the Ministry of Intelligence in particular, has formed special teams to target and prosecute a variety of religious, mystics and intellectual-religious communities whose beliefs diverge from the official interpretation of Shia Islam.

Every year, many people are summoned or arrested just for claims such as having a spiritual connection to the Twelfth Imam or propagating a different interpretation of Islam.