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.

Zahra Majd Sequestered for Opinions of her Dissident Spouse

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Upon her arrival to Iran via the Isfahan airport on Thursday, October 11th, security forces arrested Zahra Majd — wife of Mohammad Hedayati, a critic of Iran’s ruling clergy — along with her children, ages three and five.

The children were put in the care of relatives late that night, Hedayati said, and Majd was transferred to an undisclosed location in Tehran the next morning.

The Secretary-General of the Traditional Cleric’s Association of America, Hedayati is a vocal dissident of the Iranian regime who lives in the United States with Zahra and their two children.

Hedayati confirmed the news of his family’s arrest to HRANA, adding that Majd and their children had previously traveled to Iran for family visits without running into any trouble.

“Last week, our three-year-old daughter was hospitalized for six days in the United States because she fell into critical condition from diabetes,” Hedayati said. “She was hospitalized again this morning, after being arrested with her mother, because she missed the insulin she needs to get after each meal.”

Majd was initially told she was being arrested on a personal civil case, Hedayati said, until it was revealed that her detainment was ordered by Iran’s Special Clerical Court. “The condition of her release is that I go to Iran and present myself to this Court,” Hedayati explained.

According to Hedayati, Zahra was scheduled for transfer to the Clerical Court on Saturday, October 13th at 9 a.m.

The Special Clerical Court has been trying cases involving the clergy, as well as graduates of Iran’s Islamic seminaries, since its establishment at the time of the Iranian Revolution. HRANA previously published a report marking the 40th anniversary of this judicial institution.