HRANA News Agency – Behzad Zabihi-Mahforujeki, a Baha’i from city of Sari, Iran who was arrested around 08:30 am of 8 March 2016 and held in a solitary confinement at the Intelligence and Security Office, was released on 90 million touman bail on 15 March 2016. On the same day as his arrest his business was also shut down and sealed by the government despite his valid business license. This is the fourth arrest, and third business shut down for this Iranian Baha’i in the past four years.
A person close to Mr. Zabihi told HRANA, a branch of Human Rights Activists Organization, in Iran, that: “At half past eight in the morning on 8 March 2016 Mr. Behzad Zabihi Mahforujeki was arrested and his house was searched and at half an hour past two in the afternoon of the same day his shop was seized and shut down.”
He added: “Five unknown individuals, who introduced themselves as intelligence officers and presented a hand-written sheet of paper with no court stamp or signature, arrested him (at his house). In the meantime, his home was searched, photos of a Baha’i religious figure in the house were torn and religious insults were spoken. Religious books, a laptop, and three mobile phones, etc. were seized. When officers searched the home, one of them pushed him in a way that he fell on the sofa. At the time of his transfer also he was beaten several times.”
This informed source said the following regarding the business shut down and the sealing of the premises: “The officials of the Land and Property Office, under the supervision of the interrogator from the Intelligence and Security Office (as admitted by the officer during the interrogation) in the afternoon the same day (less than two weeks before the end of the year) shut down his eyewear business.” This business was shut and sealed while he had not committed any wrongdoing or illegal act. His business license had already been renewed and was valid for five years and his business’s income tax payments were remitted regularly and on time. In addition, previously, on 13 November 2015, his business was illegally shut down for nine days by the government, due to the closing of his business for one day on a Baha’i Holy Day.”
This informed source stated: “On the first day the judicial authorities stated that his charges were non-religious, but in the session for issuance of the charges, his charges were stated as “propaganda against Islam and Quran”. Further, Mr. Zabihi experienced and endured additional difficulties while under arrest, he was denied all visitation rights during detention. Also the interrogation team placed continuous pressure on him with constant debate on the basis of investigating his ideology.”
Finally, he reiterated: “Over the past four years, this is the fourth time that this Baha’i individual is being arrested, and is the third time that his place of business is ordered to shut down and is sealed by the government.