On May 20, Baha’i citizens Sanaz Rasteh and Firoozeh Rastinejad were released on bail from Dolatabad Prison in Isfahan after their arrest in Baharestan.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, 11 Baha’i women, including Rasteh and Rastinejad, were detained by security forces on April 25, April 30, and May 5.
Three of the detained women (Roya Azad Khosh, Nasrin Khademi, and Maryam Khorsandi) were released on bail earlier this week, while six others (Shurangiz Bahamin, Sara Shakib, Azita Rezvani, Mojgan Pourshafi, Noushin Hemmat, and Shola Ashouri) are still in the detention center.
In recent months, the homes of at least 29 Baha’i families have been searched by security forces. During the searches, belongings have been confiscated and, reportedly, in a few cases residents have been beaten.
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 for 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.