Translation by Iran Press Watch
According to HRANA, the News Agency of Human Rights Activists in Iran, security forces in Kerman prevented the burial of a Baha’i from Kerman, Abbas Kholousi, who died on August 7, and forced his family, after four days, to bury the deceased in the city of Rafsanjan.
An informed source told the HRANA reporter, “Mr. Abbas Kholousi, a Kerman resident, died on August 7, and despite his family’s efforts, his burial in his city of residence, Kerman, was prevented by security forces. His family, regardless of their wishes, were forced to take his body to the city of Rafsanjan and bury him there after four days. The security forces summoned Mr. Kholousi’s son and emphasized: “If you do not transfer him to Rafsanjani yourself, we will transfer him and bury him there.”
The source added: “The authorities’ demand was in contravention of Baha’i burial laws, in which the distance from the place of death to the burial place should not exceed one hour: the distance between Isfahan and Rafsanjan is more than that. However, Mr. Abbas Kholousi’s burial ceremony was held today in the presence of a large number of people from Kerman and other cities in the city of Rafsanjan.”
Last March, HRANA reported of the closure of the Baha’i cemetery (Golestan Javid, meaning “Eternal Rose Garden”) in Kerman by the Kerman Municipality.
The Baha’i cemetery in Kerman province was closed at noon on March 15, 2018, at the behest of the Kerman judicial authorities, and burial of deceased Baha’is has been prevented. This has been imposed although according to the 2015 announcement of the Judiciary, in each province at least one town has been designated to bury deceased Baha’is. On the morning of March 15 of this year, some Baha’i residents of Kerman who had gone to the Baha’i cemetery were prevented from entering by the closure, seal, and banner at the gate.
Kerman municipality, by mounting a banner at the entrance of the cemetery, has announced the closure and ban of burials at this location. “In accord with the order of the honorable judiciary, according to Article 688 of the Islamic Penal Code, due to problems and health issues, the environmental and following addendum 6 of Article 96 of the regulations regarding the city and municipality, burial is forbidden at this location after March 15, 2018. ”
Over the past several years, HRANA has reported on the demolition and closure of Baha’i cemeteries in different cities of Iran by judicial and security officials.
Baha’is in Iran are denied freedoms related to religious beliefs. This is a systematic exclusion, even though according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, everyone has the right to freedom of religion and the conversion of religion with conviction, as well as freedom to express it individually or collectively, and publicly or in private.
According to unofficial sources, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i religion. For this reason, Baha’i rights in Iran have been systematically violated in recent years. The following videos are related to the burial ceremony of Abbas Kholousi, a Baha’i from Kerman, among the Rafsanjan Baha’is.