HRANA News Agency – As reported by HRANA, the news agency for Human Rights Activists in Iran, the court hearing for the charges against Faruq Izadinia, scholar, translator and Baha’i citizen of Tehran, was held last week in the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. This citizen, who has now been released on bail, describes the process of his prosecution and last week’s court hearing in an open letter that follows below. Mr. Izadinia was also been arrested previously for his religious beliefs, including being among those sentenced to death in the 1980’s whose sentence was reversed and who was released after a five year prison term.
The complete text of Mr. Izadinia’s open letter is as follows:
It is exhausting. As you sit in court, you don’t know how the horrific blows will come down on you. You sit in silence and in awe, stare at the so-called judge’s mouth, and wonder where all that hatred and animosity comes from.
The words roll out of his mouth, and as the Beloved Master said, they completely distort the aspirations of the People of Baha. Insults are flung around against everyone: the Universal House of Justice, the Counsellors and others.
You just sit and listen, and when you are asked what you have to say for yourself, and try to speak, the judge sharply interrupts and ridicules you and resumes his own talk.
He does not accept any defense from you, and portrays you as the most corrupt element on earth. He abruptly asks how much collateral was put up for your release. As you mention the amount, he increases it tenfold, and threatens to send you behind bars. You are still silent, and he waits for your reaction. You say nothing.
He speaks again, and brings up another charge. You just say ‘I deny the charges’, since you know he will not listen to you. The judge is suddenly staggered, because he wants you to defend yourself and for him to reject it. Your brief statement leaves no room for an argument, so he orders the clerk to record this. This is repeated over and over and over again. He will not get anything other than the same answer.
He concludes his remarks, and asks: ‘What do you have to say now?’. The attorney tries to speak, but the judge stops him, and he says the defendant should speak for himself. You object that the judge does not allow anyone to speak. He remains quiet so you can speak. You state your reasons, which he has to have put on the record. You emphatically deny some of the charges, which he has to accept. But at the end, it does not do any good, as he rules from a position of oppression, not justice. Your quest for justice is in vain.
Baha’i activities, coordination of sending Baha’i ‘elements’ to the Irfan Colloquium, organizing and administering activities in the country and abroad, sending articles by you and others for publication in the ‘Safineh-I Irfan’, etc. These and other activities are uttered as if you had committed the most heinous crime; a crime unlike any in the whole world. And you remain silent and wonder: ‘Where is the Lord of Justice now to see and hear all this?’
He is silent too. As if he is also contemplating ‘what kind of justice is this inflicted by one man upon another?’ The judge speaks as if you should certainly be grateful for his generosity if he does not sentence you to death.
In this situation you resign yourself to spending many years behind bars. You quietly leave the court, and wait for the attorney to say: ‘Let me get your papers stamped, so you can go home’. It seems the threat of multiplying your collateral ten times was not followed up on.
You head for home, joined by your daughter who had come to keep you company. On the way, there is little conversation. Gradually, the exhaustion caused by emotional stress is setting in.
When you get home, you have no energy left. You sit in the chair and recount the events to your wife, and she is also awestruck by all the injustice inflicted upon the servants of God. The remaining energy is gradually dissipated, and your eyelids are getting heavy, and little by little sleep takes over. You know then the body has surrendered to mental afflictions.
Faruq Izadinia – February 2019
Faruq Izadinia was also arrested and imprisoned earlier. During the arrest and execution of dissidents in the 1980’s, he was arrested and sentenced to death. Later his death sentenced was reversed and reduced to ten years in prison. Mr. Izadinia was eventually released after serving a five year term in prison.
The Baha’i scholar and translator was last arrested by security forces at his home on February 12, 2017. At the time of his arrest, agents also confiscated 1,200 volumes of books and his personal belongings. Two weeks after his arrest, he was released on bail, pending the conclusion of the inquest.
Faruq Izadinia, born in 1951, is a Baha’i scholar and translator in Tehran. His works include a translation of The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Leonard Huxley, published by Niloofar Publishing in 2016.
Baha’is in Iran are denied freedom of religion, a systematic exclusion in contravention of 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, which state that everyone has a right to freedom of religion and to conversion to another religion based on personal belief, as well as the freedom to express it individually or collectively, in public or in private.
According to unofficial sources in Iran, there are more than three hundred thousand Baha’is; however, the Iranian constitution recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism, and does not recognize the Baha’i Faith. For this reason, Baha’i rights in Iran have been systematically violated over a number of years.