Urgent Appeal by the Baha'is of Shiraz

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Editor’s Note: Iran Press Watch has received the following urgent request from the Baha’is of Shiraz. It is requested that this note be posted on as many other sites as possible.

By the Baha’is of Shiraz

The Baha’is imprisoned in Shiraz are being kept under inhumane conditions. They are being held in small cells, in solitary confinement. These cells are about 2.2 meters x 2.2 meters wide, with an open washroom at the corner, and without any sort of windows, openings or ventilation system. Their bedding consists merely of two blankets on the cement prison floor. At present, there are seven Baha’is detained in the city of Shiraz.

Among them, the situation of Haleh Houshamandi-Salehi (arrested March 18, 2009), is the gravest (see http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/04/serious-health/). She has a heart ailment, and her physician has stated that any stress or trauma will have an extremely serious impact on her health. Under the intense psychological and physical stress of solitary confinement and ongoing interrogation, she has developed numbness on the left side of her body to the point at which she could not get up from the floor. After 22 days in solitary confinement, the authorities transferred Halah Ruhi (detained since October 2007), to Haleh’s cell. Although Haleh Houshamandi-Salehi is being given some medication in the prison, she is in urgent need of proper medical care and the attention of a heart specialist. Her family has taken her medical records to the detention centre, hoping for compassion and understanding.

However, in response to her family’s ongoing inquiries into Haleh’s condition, the judiciary investigator recently said: “What happens if one of you dies — the fewer the better”.

Sooren Salehi
Sooren Salehi

Haleh Houshmadi-Salehi’s 8-year old son, Sooren, traumatized by the raid on his home and the detainment of his mother, often bursts into tears. The mothers of his classmates help their children with their homework, drop them off and pick them up from school, but the authorities have left Sooren without his mother. He says, “I feel like crying, but I try very hard and stop myself. I worry that my classmates will make fun of me”. He often asks when his mother will be home, but no one has any answers to comfort this broken-hearted child.

On April 4, bail was set by the Prosecutor General of Fars province for the release of four of the prisoners arrested in the last two months. However, the judiciary investigator stated that under no conditions would he accept the instructions of the Prosecutor General and allow these Baha’is to be discharged on bail (see, http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/04/imprisoned-bahais-barred/).

A few days ago, an arrest order was briefly shown to a Baha’i who was being questioned by Islamic authorities. The arrest order was entitled: Arrest Warrant for all Connected Individuals. This revelation is very alarming, as it indicates the authorities’ intentions to use such wide-reaching statements to justify numerous arrests. With such a vague and ambiguous warrant, any and all family members or friends of the detained Baha’is may be considered “connected individuals”, and any Baha’i may be considered a “connected individual” by virtue of their faith and their common beliefs. Their use of elusive terminology on warrants allows them to detain, question and arrest any individual for any period of time at will, and without any further justification or clarification.

It is the urgent hope of the detainees’ families that the ongoing attacks against Baha’is be stopped, and that their loved ones, detained solely because of their beliefs, are released.

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9 Responses

  1. sb

    April 20, 2009 2:49 pm

    Is there recommended course of action here? Would a writing campaign to the “judiciary investigator” and Prosecutor General of Fars be a worthwhile effort? Do we know their names? Has anyone looked at the Muslim Network for Baha’i Rights, “Postcards for Iran initiative?

    see http://www.bahairights.org/2009/03/25/postcards-for-iran/

    I would think a quantity of postcards to the the “judiciary investigator” and Prosecutor General of Fars respectfully requesting humane treatment for these persons would be in complete keeping with Baha’i principles. Shouldn’t we use our collective voice to insist that justice be applied to the Bahais of Shiraz?

    Naturally, we continue to offer urgent prayers to God for the beleaguered friends of Shiraz.

    Reply
  2. Mark Obenauer

    April 21, 2009 8:32 pm

    “What happens if one of you dies — the fewer the better”?

    This is a sad commentary with echoes of a not too distant past. It is also a view that exists in this present world both in well-publicized news and in the hidden recesses of places no one has ever visited.

    It is a proclamation of hatred. It is the hatred directed at whom? The questions that need to be asked of the jailer and his ilk are: “What has the prisoner done to you that you wish for this person and like-minded people cleansed from the Earth? Are you really certain there are no repercussions for your hatred, and what are the risks involved in harming people who don’t share your ideology? Are these people you imprison and torture really as evil as you have been told, or have you investigated it for yourself? What is the ultimate price of harming people if you know nothing about them except what you have been told?”

    So I hope you are extra certain about what your thinking and doing, because what you are doing may have unforeseen after effects. Effects that you really wouldn’t want to happen.

    Reply
  3. Dorsal

    April 25, 2009 12:20 am

    Praise be to the jailers and the judiciary investigators because they have decided to trade whatever glory their own souls would have withheld for their personal position and bigotry. Instead of keeping any immortal glory or honor for themselves, they have chosen, by their actions, to bestow all glory and honor to the Baha’is they imprison and torture. These jailers and tormenters have taken upon themselves to receive the Wrath of the Almighty and, at the same time, do more to advance the souls of these Baha’is and the exposure of the Baha’i Faith to the rest of the world. God grant the Baha’is they torment may be granted all of God’s Blessings for the afflictions they have received in His Path.
    Greater is God than every great one!

    Reply
  4. VA McCoy

    April 26, 2009 6:03 pm

    My heart breaks for these noble souls undergoing such barbaric treatment. May God come to them in their agony and lonliness. The whole World of enlightened human beings weep and demand justice and common human decency for these innocent Baha’is. My prayers are with them at all times.

    Reply

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