Translation by Iran Press Watch
“BahaiNews” has provided information on the condition of seven Baha’is who were arrested recently. Two of these individuals have been released on bail, but five of them are still in detention.
Based on conversations with informed sources, “BahaiNews” provides the following report on the latest conditions of the detained Baha’is in Shiraz.
On the morning of 16 July 2016, agents of the Intelligence Office in Shiraz raided the home of Mr. Naser Mosallinejad, a Baha’i in Shiraz, in which a group of people were having a conversation about the environment. They confiscated the personal belongings of everyone who was present, videotaped and interrogated them at the same location, and arrested and transferred some of them to the detention center of Shiraz’s Intelligence Office, better known as “Number 100”.
While searching the house, the Intelligence agents confiscated all the cell phones and laptops of those present, as well as all framed photographs and religious books belonging to the host. Then, they went to the homes of some of the arrested people, and with great disrespect they cursed, searched and confiscated personal items, including computers, tablets, cell phones, and even their automobiles.
According to informed sources, the intelligence agents finally arrested Yekta Fahandej Sadi, Noushin Zenhari, Behnam Azizpour, Saeid Hasani, Ramin Shirvani and Esmaeil Rousta, and transferred them to the detention center of the Intelligence Office in Shiraz. This is the third time Yekta Fahandej Sadi has been arrested and interrogated in the last few years. She was first arrested and interrogated in February 2012, and again in March 2014. Following these arrests, she was released on bail of two hundred million tumans (approx $64,000), and one week before the third arrest was sentenced to five years in prison and charged with activities against national security and propaganda against the regime.
According to this informed source, “Following the arrests of a number of Baha’i citizens in another related raid on 17 July 2016, the intelligence agents arrested two other Baha’is in Shiraz, Nabil Tahzib and Naeim Ghaed Sharafi, and transferred them to the detention center of Shiraz’ Intelligence Office (Number 100). Of course, Naeim Ghaed Sharafi was released one day later, on 18 July.”
According to sources close to those arrested in Shiraz, “The detainees were not permitted to have any personal or telephone contacts during the first 10 days. On 26 July, half of them were allowed to have in-person visits, and the other half were only allowed to have very short phone conversations. Following that, all the detainees were allowed to have in-person visits once a week, each three to ten minutes long.”
These sources said, “The charge brought against these seven individuals who were arrested last month in Shiraz is propaganda against the regime.”
Informed sources have revealed to “BahaiNews”: “The families of those arrested have attempted to hire lawyers; however, the attorney acceptance forms have neither been seen nor signed by them. In such cases, attorneys usually are not able to do anything until the interrogation and detention period has been completed. This makes the condition of these people more critical, and makes it easier to build up a case against them.”
In a recent report, “BahaiNews” announced that, Noushin Zenhari was released after 28 days on 13 August, and Ramin Shirvani was released after 36 days on 21 August, each after payment of two hundred million tumans ($64,000) in bail. An informed source also announced: “Some of the other detainees have also been told that they would shortly be released on bail. However, no dates have yet been set. In addition, some the personal belongings of those who were not arrested were returned to them after a few weeks.”
During the more than 55 days since the arrests of a number of Baha’is in Shiraz, the majority of these detainees have been kept in solitary confinement, and have been subjected to severe interrogations. It has been announced that these individuals are being held under unfavorable psychological conditions. Sources close to the detainees have announced: “Holding the detainees in solitary confinement for such long periods is an inhumane act, and the pressure exerted on these people within this period is deplorable and indescribable. Interrogations at the detention center of the Intelligence Office (Number 100) are mostly made using illegal interrogation techniques. Among them are lengthy interrogations with blindfolds, while the detainee is facing the wall, being subjected to insults, threats and psychological pressures, as well as being forced to make illegal, unsubstantiated commitments in return for freedom.”
Within the past few years, many Baha’is have been arrested and imprisoned solely for their belief in the Baha’i Faith, and charges with unsubstantiated charges such as propaganda against the regime and activities against national security.
1. “BahaiNews” is an independent non-Bahá’í initiative and is not affiliated with any Baha’i institutions.