Recent Atrocities against the Baha’is of Shiraz

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shirazEditor’s Note:  The Baha’is of Shiraz have kindly shared a report with Iran Press Watch about recent attacks perpetrated against them, which appears below in translation.  Most of these events have previously been reported on the pages of Iran Press Watch, but publication of the following summary was deemed beneficial.  Media outlets are encouraged to republish this report.

February 20

  • Agents of the Ministry of Intelligence went to the home of Mr. Kayvan Karami; after a search of the residence and confiscation of some personal property, they arrested Mr. Karami.  After his family contacted the authorities, they were told, “The reason for his arrest is his contact with someone who recently became a Baha’i; in this regard, Mr. Karami is expected to answer certain questions.”
  • The person accused of converting to the Baha’i Faith had also been arrested some time earlier, but was released on March 18.  Mr. Karami continues to remain incarcerated, even though his family was told that he would be released on bail prior to year-end [March 21].

March 14

  • Authorities went to the home of Mr. Farham Masumi and searched his residence.
  • On the same day, the authorities went to the home of Haleh Houshmandi, but behaved very differently.  They knew that she was away from Shiraz, and so approached the home of a neighbor who lived on the floor below the Houshmandis.  The authorities presented themselves as postmen, but when an elderly woman opened the door, they pushed inside. While shouting abuse and insults, they entered the residence en masse.  They disconnected the phone line, and by threatening the household they managed to get the key for the Houshmandi’s residence, which had been entrusted to that family.  The authorities completely disregarded the repeated request of the family to show legal authorization to enter the Houshmandis’ home – confining themselves to spouting abuse and insults.  The agents gathered the entire household in one place and locked them in that room.  They searched the residence, and without anyone being allowed to raise an objection, confiscated a large quantity of personal effects.  They forced the family to sign an inventory of what they had taken, but the inventory list only showed a small fraction of items taken from the residence.
  • Farham Masumi was arrested the same morning, but was released by the afternoon.

March 16

  • The agents had left a message for Mrs. Houshmandi to present herself to Pelak 100 (Ministry of Intelligence) upon her return.  She went to that office on March 16, but was dismissed.

March 17

  • Both Haleh Houshmandi and Kayvan Karami were asked to present themselves at the Ministry of Intelligence at 8 AM on the following day, March 18.

March 18

  • The above-named Baha’is continue to be imprisoned to this date.  They are kept in isolation and under extremely harsh conditions.  No information has been given to their families about the duration of their arrest.  When Haleh Houshmandi’s mother inquired about the charges against her daughter, the authorities stated the charges consisted of: (1) propagation of the Baha’i religion, and (2) activities pertaining to her previous arrest.  It should be noted that these two Baha’is are among the 54 Baha’i youth arrested two years ago because of their humanitarian activities promoting hygiene and literacy among deprived young population of Shiraz.  As result of that arrest, they received one-year suspended sentences and forced participation in Islamic training classes.
  • Authorities had indicated that Mr. Karami would be released prior to Naw-Ruz (March 21), but he continues to this date to be imprisoned in solitary confinement.

April 4

  • The Prosecutor General of Fars province wrote a letter to the investigator in charge of the above-mentioned cases and instructed that they should be released on bail.  Nevertheless, from that date the families have been confronted by inhumane and cruel attacks by the same investigator, who absolutely refuses to comply with the instruction of the Prosecutor General.
  • Since April 4, the families of the imprisoned Baha’is continue to receive threatening phone calls by the Ministry of Intelligence, and in many instances these calls include obscene and insulting language.
  • The authorities refuse to allow the prisoners to have visitors.
  • During the 3 phone calls that the Baha’i prisoners have been allowed, it has been clear that they are under great physical and emotional stress.  The worrisome point is the condition of Haleh Houshmandi, who suffers from a serious heart ailment, but no medical personnel have been allowed to visit her.
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