A Letter from Fariborz Baghi, A Convicted Baha’i

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Source: HRANA News Agency, http://goo.gl/dvv8Tc

Translation by Iran Press Watch

August 6, 2014

Fariborz_Baghi

A Letter from Fariborz Baghi, A Convicted Baha’i

My name is Fariborz Baghi. I am a resident of Yazd, a city in southern Iran. In 2012, my wife and I were among 15 people arrested, accused of acting against national security and of propaganda against the regime by the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Yazd. In our month-long stay in solitary confinement, we had to defend ourselves in court without any representation.

We were released on bail, and a year later our court date was set for August 22, 2013. We defended ourselves against the charges set by three prosecutors in a 2400 page dossier. Shortly thereafter, my wife and I received one year of probation and 2 years of imprisonment, respectively. We appealed the rulings, and finally, on April 14, 2014, the Court of Appeals endorsed the original verdict.

 

Following the Court of Appeals’ decision, I repeatedly tried to communicate with the judges. I wrote a brief account of my life in a letter, asking them to add it to my case; however, even this request was denied.

Since I do not agree with the judgments issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Yazd, and I believe in my complete innocence, I am sharing the content of the letter I wrote to the judges with you, whom I believe to be more “just” than the justices on my case. I leave the judgment to you. I will gladly clarify more if further explanations are necessary.

(Letter dated: August 3, 2014)

To Honorable Judges of the Court of Appeals, Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Yazd

Greetings!

In regard to my alleged crimes recorded in case file number 9109980304600233, I, Fariborz Baghi, state the following:

I am an Iranian citizen of Zoroastrian lineage whose ancestors have lived in this land with honor and utmost dignity. My forefathers refused to recant their faith and leave their homeland despite all oppression, restriction and persecution. About a century ago, my great-grandparents heard about the Baha’i Faith; they became Baha’is upon investigating it. As a result, I was born a Baha’i. I was only 14 when the Islamic Revolution took place in 1979. I was very studious and excelled in school. I was admitted to a high school affiliated with the University of Shiraz. After finishing this high school, I might have continued my education in the field of medicine without having to take an entrance exam. After the revolution of 1979, however, and with the increase in waves of violence and discrimination against Baha’is, I was denied a high school diploma, and as a result was not able to attend the university. All the property of our family was confiscated, and my brother-in-law was arrested and sentenced to death. In this day and age, we (as Baha’is) were faced with all the adversities and horrible events our Zoroastrian ancestors had endured for many centuries. Although I found an opportunity to go to Canada to pursue my education, I decided to stay. My conviction in my beliefs and my love for service to my country was too strong; I preferred deprivation, humiliation and slander in my country over financial prosperity and growth opportunities abroad. I started a small business for tuning auto engines. I chose this occupation with service to my fellow Iranians in mind. In the past 20 years, I have played a small role in helping my country and fellow countrymen save gasoline, reduce pollution, conserve the environment and reduce import expenditures. I never sought monetary assistance or loans from any institution, nor have I burdened my government financially. I have fixed and tuned some 25,000 vehicles, which has kept me constantly busy. I have a lot of happy customers who are completely satisfied with my performance. I have telephone number for some 2,000 customers, all of whom will testify to my level of attention, care, service and fairness, should you decide to survey them.

While running my business, I have tried to serve my fellow Baha’i citizens who like me had tasted the bitter flavor of deprivation and persecution. As you are well aware, there are Baha’i organizations all over the world that take care of the immediate needs of the Baha’i communities. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, in obedience to the order of the government, these organizations in Iran were dissolved on 3 different occasions after enduring massive damage and financial losses: first, all local and national spiritual assemblies in 1983; second, the Baha’i Institution for Higher Education (BIHE) in 2003; and third, the councils of Yaran (“Friends” on the national level) and Khademeen (“Servants” on the local level) in 2009. It is noteworthy to say that although these organizations were disbanded, the Baha’i community still managed to take care of their immediate needs on an individual and neighborhood basis. All the services in a Baha’i community are done voluntarily and without financial reward. The nature of the service I provide for my fellow believers is humanitarian, non-profit and non-political.

One of the charges against me was acting against national security and setting up “secret organizations”. The term ” secret organizations” in the realm of national security has a negative and dangerous connotation, and causes alarm and concern. However, a close look at the activities of Baha’i organizations will prove that they were meant to take care of the needs of the Baha’i community, such as helping the needy, resolving marital and financial issues, and education and nurturing of children. Even if these activities had been conducted “secretly” and were “organized”, they do not impose any threat to the security of any country.

But unfortunately, these limited and harmless acts, in this case, have been stamped as propagation against the regime and acting against national security. Although my wife and I tried to clarify the truth during interrogations and trials, regretfully we were found guilty and were handed sentences of 2 years of imprisonment and one year of probation in court, a verdict that was confirmed by the appeals court as well.

Honorable Judges; I am now 50 years old, with many unrealized dreams and wishes that are still enkindled in my heart. Despite this, the thought of betraying my country or any similar act never passed through my mind –  not even for a moment. I hope that the light of equity and justice may enlightens us all and the wish of my beloved Master (1) in regards to Iran will be realized that:

“The government of Iran will be most respected by all the leaders of the world”.

I thank you for your attention in reading my letter. Please drop my charges and release me.

 

Fariborz Baghi

(1) Refers to Abdu’l-Baha (1844-1921), the son of the Baha’i prophet Baha’u’llah.

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14 Responses

  1. brooks garis

    August 26, 2014 11:18 am

    Dear Fariboz, our prayers and support are with you always that you and your loved ones may be protected and your dreams may be realized.

    Reply
  2. Venu Nambiar

    August 27, 2014 2:09 am

    Dear Fatiborz, the friends of Malaysia will continue to pray for the freedom of our dear friends in Iran, who continue to face great persecution in spite of their dedication and loyalty to the country and government. May you taste freedom and achieve all your goals in the not too distant future.

    Reply
  3. Elsy Esther Alvarado

    August 27, 2014 2:32 am

    Dear Baha’i friends: Fariborz and dear wife,

    I dedicate this Prayers to both of you and all the Yaran friends. From among all just ones, GOD IS THE MOST JUST!!

    O God, my God! How can I glorify or describe Thee inaccessible as Thou art; immeasurably high and sanctified art Thou above every description and praise.

    O God, my God! Have mercy then upon my helpless state, my poverty, my misery, my abasement! Give me to drink from the generous cup of Thy grace and forgiveness, stir me with the sweet scents of Thy love, gladden my bosom with the light of Thy knowledge, purify my soul with the mysteries of Thy oneness, raise me to life with the gentle breeze that cometh from the gardens of Thy mercy—till I sever myself from all else but Thee, and lay hold of the hem of Thy garment of grandeur, and consign to oblivion all that is not Thee, and be companioned by the sweet breathings that waft during these Thy days, and attain unto faithfulness at Thy Threshold of Holiness, and arise to serve Thy Cause, and to be humble before Thy loved ones, and, in the presence of Thy favoured ones, to be nothingness itself.

    Verily art Thou the Helper, the Sustainer, the Exalted, the Most Generous.
    Abdùl-Bahá

    Reply
  4. Elsy Esther Alvarado

    August 27, 2014 2:45 am

    Dear Fariborz and dear wife:
    May the love of God sustain you and give you the strength to face all this tribulations! Your sisters and brothers around the world are with you and pray for your prompt freedom!
    With Baha’i love from Ottawa, Canada.
    Elsy Esther Alvarado

    Reply
  5. Dawn Jensen Nobile

    August 27, 2014 6:15 am

    Thank you to those who do the work of translating these stories so that the world may hear them. Our prayers and voices are with the gentle but strong Baha’is, and those who assist them.

    Reply
  6. Don Schellberg

    August 27, 2014 9:59 am

    Both your history and your magnanimity is inspiring. You are a lesson for all Baha’i s. I will pray for you.

    Don Schellberg

    Reply
  7. Rob Jenkins

    August 28, 2014 1:32 pm

    Dear Friend, Fariborz Baghi:
    You and your dear wife are living martyrs whose example shines as a beacon of truth for the Cause of God. May the blessings of the All Merciful fill your souls with His Endless Light, give you the serenity of His Presence, and soon liberate you from the injustice that now afflicts you, the Yaran Seven in general, and all the Baha’is of Iran.

    Reply
  8. Bill Collins

    August 28, 2014 8:21 pm

    May you be sustained by almighty God and brought safely out of prison and home again.

    “… innocence shall make false accusation blush and tyranny tremble at patience.” – William Shakespeare

    Reply
  9. Lynne

    August 29, 2014 7:08 am

    Much Love from your Bahai Family in the remote regions of Western Australia. Everyday you are all in our hearts and prayers Fariboz.

    Reply
  10. Eileen Naseby

    August 29, 2014 10:14 am

    I am thinking of you. I cannot envisage the depth of your sadness. I am not a Bahai but my dear brother is a member of the Universal House of justice.

    Reply
  11. Jay Banta

    August 29, 2014 1:23 pm

    Mr and Mrs Fariborz Baghi, first if all I want you to know you will be in my prayers daily. You are living martyrs not only for Baha’is but for other people if Faith around the world. I will pray for your continued strength and your freedom from this injustice.
    Peace
    Jay Banta

    Reply
  12. Elisabeth Kharono

    August 30, 2014 6:58 am

    Dear Baha’i Friends,
    You are constantly in our minds and prayers. We pray that your constancy under such stark injustice will continue to nurture good will amongst your fellow citizens in Iran and the officials of government to stand up for justice. Your country is much loved as the Cradle of our beloved Faith. We long for a time when we shall be able to celebrate with you this great bounty.
    Kharono – Uganda, Africa.

    Reply

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