Responsible authorities have created illegal obstacles to the burial of a Baha’i citizen.
According to the Baha’i Committee of Human Rights Activists of Iran, a Baha’i resident of Semnan by the name of Hasan Kasabian passed away on September 11, 2009, but his family was denied a burial certificate for the Baha’i Cemetery of Semnan, which is located in Sangsar (Mihdishahr).
Through the persistent efforts of the family of the deceased, on Sunday, September 13 a meeting was held in the governor’s office, in which the mayor of Sangsar, Mr. Nakhustin, participated as well. In the meeting, the family of the deceased was told to bury Mr. Kasabian in a different cemetery, but this was rejected by the family, who maintained, “For a great many years, the deceased has lived in this town; like all other residents of Semnan, he has the right to be buried here. Therefore, his remains cannot be moved.”
Then the family was asked that in order for the deceased to be buried in Sangsar, to falsely state that Mr. Kasabian had passed away in Sangsar. This suggestion was also rejected by the family, who were not willing to lie about this issue.
The final suggestion to the family in order to issue the burial permit by the municipality was the payment of one million tumans [equivalent of US$1,000]. This request was also refused by the Kasabian family, who stated, “While we have the financial strength to pay this sum, other Baha’is are not in a position to do likewise. Therefore, we too refuse to pay.”
Eventually, it was agreed that the burial permit would be issued as before, meaning through a payment of a fee of 250,000 tumans (about US$250), and the Kasabian family agreed in turn to expedite the burial and to carry it out quietly.
The next day, the funeral ceremony took place in the Baha’i cemetery of Semnan (located in Sangsar), but several individuals filmed the proceedings and its participants from a hill overlooking the site. At the end of the ceremony, when only a few of the close relatives of the deceased were present by the gravesite, those individuals came down from the hill and began insulting and speaking abusively against the Baha’is and the family. This incident deeply disturbed and upset Mrs. Kasabian, the wife of the deceased.
Subsequent to these events, on September 16, about 20 troublemakers and agitators in Semnan commenced protesting against the Baha’is – along the streets they shouted insulting slogans. Unfortunately, the security forces showed no reaction whatsoever to this illegal and unlicensed demonstration, but a number of local Muslims spoke up in support of the Baha’is – with their intervention, this demonstration came to an end.