Several Updates on the Baha’is of Iran

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The following news items appeared on June 4, 2009, on the Persian site of the Baha’i International Community and are provided below in translation by Iran Press Watch.  The source of each story is cited next to the name of the town.

Isfahan (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060403)

More details have reached us regarding three Baha’is of Villashahr (near Isfahan) who were arrested because they participated in the burial of a deceased Baha’i, who were later released on bail pending their trial.

Hushmand Talebi-Iskandari, Mehran Zayni-Najafabadi and Farhad Ferdousiyan were convicted on July 21, 2008, on the charge of “trespassing and illegal use of governmental property”.  The court had set a fine and instructed that they “should cease their use of this property (the cemetery)” and “to return it to its original condition”, i.e., that they should remove the bodies buried there.  Upon appeal, the appeals court ruled on February 14, 2009, clearing the three Baha’is of this charge and designating that parcel of land for burial of the dead as a cemetery.

However, according to the latest news, on May 21 a large sign was posted on this land next to some graves, which read, “According to a letter dated January 21, 2009, this land has been bestowed by the Ministry of Minerals to the Municipality of Najafabad and now belongs to the Municipality.  Therefore, any encroachment, trespassing or burial of the dead on this location is strictly forbidden; violators will be prosecuted in accordance with provisions of Section 635 of the Islamic penal code, which rules on punishments for unauthorized burials.”

In addition, news has reached us that the Municipality has received instructions from the Ministry of Intelligence that they may no longer provide hearses to Baha’is to carry their dead.

Karaj (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060408)

Shahram Safajoo (http://www.iranpresswatch.org/post/2452) was released from prison on bail on May 18.  On May 31, he was again summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence and was given two weeks to locate a lawyer for his trial.

Semnan (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060402)

Mrs. Maryam Shiraliyan (Subhani), a Baha’i of Semnan, passed away on May 20, 2009.  However, governmental authorities have refused to issue a burial certificate, and have informed her family that they would only do so if the family consents that the deceased by buried under an Islamic headstone in the Baha’i cemetery.  The family of Mrs. Shiraliyan refused this demand.  After several appeals to the office of the Governor of Semnan, two days later a burial certificate was issued on May 22.

Shiraz (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060407)

Sasan Taqvi, one of the three Baha’i youth who in November 2007 were imprisoned on charges of being involved in a humanitarian project intended to indirectly promote the Baha’i Faith, commenced his temporary [medical] leave from prison on April 28, 2009, and has been authorized to extend it until May 26.  No news has been received about his return to prison at this time.

Shiraz (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060401)

Shahram Kamali was arrested on May 25, 2009.  During the previous two months he had been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence.  Since the time of his arrest, he has only been able to contact his family once, and has expressed his expectation that the authorities intend to transfer him to Tehran for incarceration.

Tehran (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060404)

Shahram Hasim, who on May 27 received instructions to present himself at the Ministry of Intelligence (see http://www.iranpresswatch.org/post/2885), had disappeared since May 20.  It has been learned that he was imprisoned as of that date , but was released on May 23.  His place of incarceration has not been given.

Tehran (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060405)

According to the latest information received [from Iran], Shahram Chiniyan-Miyanduab was a resident of the village of Hasan-Abad near Tehran, and not Miyanduab.  From the time of his arrest in February-March, he has been incarcerated in Evin prison.  The authorities have told one of the Baha’is who went to Evin to inquire of Mr. Chiniyan’s condition that he has been charged and imprisoned for “membership in the Baha’i sect”, “insulting Islamic religious sanctities” and “collaboration with anti-revolutionary groups”.

Yasuj (http://news.persian-bahai44.org/2009060406)

Ali-Askar Ravanbakhsh and his wife Zulaykha Musavi-Ravanbakhsh, who are from Mehryan, and another Baha’i from Yasuj, Ruhiyyih Yazdani, had been on temporary leave from prison since May 3, 2009 (http://www.iranpresswatch.org/post/392).  On May 22, they returned to the place of their incarceration.

yasooj

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7 Responses

  1. Ali

    June 10, 2009 1:30 am

    Today all Iranians are asking Aya Khamanei who for the past 28 years (8 years as President of IRI immediately followed by 20 years as Supreme Ruler of IRI) has been relentlessly persecuting and killing the Baha’is in Iran this one question. Is what awaits you any different than what had awaited all those killers before you?

    While you still can, leave a name behind for yourself and FREE these people.

    Reply
  2. sb

    June 10, 2009 2:21 pm

    What greater insult can there be than to restrict a group of people from burying their own beloved dead according to their heartfelt belief?

    Who in Iran could be insulted by a simple burial ceremony and headstone? Clearly withholding burial certificates to the Baha’is strains even the capacity of the Iranian municipal authorities; otherwise they would not have reconsidered and issued the certificate in Semnan.

    This shocking treatment baffles me! It is so intentionally cruel! What contingencies do Baha’is have in the Villashahr case? I know this is not a new form of persecution and that Iranian Baha’is have been denied access to burial certificates in the past. Still, it is defies all humanitarian consideration.

    Don’t the Iranian authorities have better things to ordain for the good of its citizens? What a wasteful, pitiful concentration of municipal powers. Isn’t it deadly tiring to orchestrate this kind of persecution? What good can it hold?

    Reply
  3. Ali

    June 10, 2009 5:34 pm

    sb jaan,
    This I don’t think is an insult to you Baha’is. It is an insult to the leadership of Iran that has sunk into the abyss of desperation that has to resort to such tactics. Every plan Aya Khamanei and his mollah try to destroy your Faith gets no where. We Iranians are smart and progressive. It’s our leadership that is driving in reverse.

    Reply
  4. Dayan James

    June 11, 2009 9:28 am

    The inhumane treatment is unbeleivable. The goung generation will have to rewrite the constitutions and the future. The present leadership will sooner or later realise that life on earth will come to an end. They will have their moment to reflect when their time comes, I promise you this much. To the Bahai’s, Kia Kaha! Kia Kaha! Kia Kaha!

    Reply
  5. sb

    June 11, 2009 1:12 pm

    (Please forgive my tendency to “cross-talk” in the comments fields) I must tell Ali-Jan how much his comments mean to me (and I suspect everyone else who reads here).

    The hope we hold for the Baha’is of Iran is the same hope we feel for all Iranians, for all Iran, for all the world. If the conditions of Baha’is improve in Iran, the condition of ALL will improve. This I believe with all my heart. (May be I am a dreamer, but wouldn’t it make better sense for Iran’s government to end the mistreatment of Baha’is and issue visas to Baha’i pilgrims, instead?)

    Reply
  6. se

    June 21, 2009 9:06 pm

    It is sad to see how history repeats itself and how humanity fails to recognize the teachings of God for each age. These innocent souls are being tested with their very lives and freedom. Fortunately, they have all passed their individual spiritual test in their Faith in God. May we all pass our own spiritual tests which in magnitude is incomparable to their tests. We also learned from history that the Cause of God is always victorious at the end! All that this persecutions will do is to strengthen their Faith and advance/propel world’s recognition of this great Cause!

    Reply

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