On January 11, Natoli Derkshan, a poet and Baha’i citizen, was arrested by intelligence agents at his home in Sari City and transferred to an unidentified location.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Derkshan has faced other arrests before. The reasons for this arrest, the charges against him and his whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing.
According to unofficial sources, it is estimated that 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 for years.
The deprivation of the freedom to practice their 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 freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.