Translation by Iran Press Watch
HRA News Agency – Ruhollah Zibaie, a Baha’i resident of Karaj, was arrested by security forces at his home today and taken to an unknown location. Failure by officials to respond explicitly to the reasons for his arrest, his current whereabouts and his condition due to Mr. Zibaie’s poor health has raised concerns among his family.
According to the HRA News Agency, the human rights arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, Baha’i resident Ruhollah Zibaie was arrested by security forces on Saturday, August 3.
The arrest was carried out today by seven agents of the security forces at his home in Baghestan, Karaj. After the arrest, the agents searched the house and seized his cellphone and personal computer and took these items with them.
According to a source close to Mr. Zibaie’s family, despite the family’s follow-up, no response has yet been received from authorities regarding his whereabouts, the reason for his arrest, or his condition. This, along with Mr. Zibaie’s poor physical condition and internal health issues, including having only one kidney and only part of his liver, as well as a handicap in the leg area, have raised concerns for his family.
Some media outlets close to the government have announced the arrest of a certain Baha’i citizen in Karaj without mentioning his identity, claiming that he was one of the active and prominent elements of a sect who has worked to “escalate current difficult economic and human rights conditions”. Mehr News Agency also, in a report attributed to an unnamed source, has accused this Baha’i citizen of disrupting foreign exchange and economic activities.
The house of Ruhollah Zibaie had previously been searched by security forces in January of 2011 and personal items were confiscated; he himself was summoned in person.
Baha’is in Iran have systematically been deprived of freedoms related to religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation is in direct contradiction to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to both of which Iran is a signatory: “All persons have the right to religious freedom, the right to change their religion or belief, and the freedom to express their belief individually or collectively in public or private.”
According to unofficial sources in Iran there are more than 300,000 Baha’is living in Iran, but the Iranian constitution recognizes only the religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrian, and does not recognize the Baha’i religion. This is why over the years Baha’is’ rights have been systematically violated in Iran.