Persecution of Baha’is in Hamadan, : A letter to Mohamad Javad Larijani



By Aida Ghajar 

Translation by Iran Press Watch


Persecution of Baha’is in Hamadan, : A letter to Mohamad Javad Larijani

Mr. Sohrab Habibi, a member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Hamadan, while in prison with six other members of the same Assembly, died under torture in Khordad of 1360 (June 1981).

Recently, his daughter Roya, in a letter addressed to Mohamad Javad Larijani, Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary, described the events of her father’s murder and protested against the deprivation of Baha’i students from continuating their studies at Iranian universities.


Referring to Mr Larijani’s speech in which he said that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not discriminate against Baha’is merely because they are members of the Baha’i faith, Roya emphatically expressed that “what has been said by you, Mr. Larijani, is only confined to the Books of Laws.”

Below is the full text of her letter, which has been published for the first time and reached Iran Wire:

Mr. Mohamad Javad Larijani,

Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary,

With greetings and my apologies in going directly to the core of the issues without explaining the background details. Some time ago you mentioned the following matters with regards to the rights of the citizen: “The authorities have never discriminated against the followers of the Baha’i faith merely based on being Baha’is, as they believe that based on the Iranian Constitution every individual has the same Rights and cannot be deprived of constitutional rights.”

Regrettably, whatever you have mentioned remains only in the book of laws, but in action and reality none of the forementioned Rights have been, and are not, actually implemented. Just to remind you of a few of them: the right to life, to freedom of speech, the right to security as well as to freedom of belief, etc., are all fundamental rights of which my family, particularly my father, have been deprived.

I have no idea whether you remember the year, 1360 (1981) or not. In that particular year my father, along with some of his friends who were representatives of the Baha’i community of Hamadan, were arrested and imprisoned just because they were Baha’is and administering the affairs of that community. After repeated interrogation, the judge (Mr. ‘Alami), in their final court hearing expressed that he had studied the files and the court proceedings and found all of them innocent, and that they would be released within the next few days. At that time we were all pleased to see that justice had been served by the judge and the head of the court.  Not only were they not freed, but, after few instances of mock execution, finally on 23rd Khordad, 1360 (13 June 1981) all seven of them died painful deaths under vicious torture.

Mr Larijani: although the foremost and primary documents were their lacerated dead bodies, which are not now at hand, and despite the assertion of the innocence of those seven people by the now deceased Judge (Mr ‘Alami), and the destruction of the rest of the court documents, I personally am a living witness to some of the most painful scenes. My eyes have seen the burnt back of my father and the dagger wounds on his body. I have also seen the broken fingers and hanging arm from the elbow of my uncle. My ears haves heard the voice of people who said that they had shredded Dr. Vafa’i’s legs, that they crushed Mr Khozain’s chest. I still clearly hear the lamentations of the people who said “They have butchered all of them!” Did you know that they tore open the abdomen of one of these seven individuals and poured out his internal organs? This is one of the “rights” of citizenship of these seven people, but the story does not end here. Did you know that the dead bodies of these seven people, instead of being kept in the morgue, were left on the footpath near Imam Khomeini hospital in Hamadan to be cursed and insulted by people?

This is another of the “rights” you mentioned. Besides, did you also know that a few months after the burial of these seven people, the Baha’i Cemetery was confiscated and all burial sites were destroyed? They even took all the headstones and offered them for sale. All the remains of the dead in that cemetery were completely annihilated. In your opinion, what was the crime of those silent residents of that cemetery, to deserve such an insult and punishment?

In another part of your speech you mentioned “if anyone claims to have been prevented from continuing in higher education solely because of being a Baha’i, could you send the relevant documents to the Human Rights Headquarters for follow up.”  After finishing high school, for few years I registered for the University Entrance Exam, but because I indicated my religion as a Baha’i on the registration form, I was not allowed to sit for the exam. When I followed up to find out the reason, I was verbally told that because I am a Baha’i I am not allowed to sit for the exam.  Regrettably the rest of the documents along with other property and books were confiscated during the several raids on our house in the years of 1377 (1998), 1384 (2005) and 1390 (2011).

Obviously you are now confidently asking for documents from “those who claim to have been deprived of studying at university due to being a Baha’i” simply because you are absolutely sure that all the documents have been destroyed, and that even a little piece of paper is not available. You really made a very “smart” assertion which is very well calculated.

Mr. Larijani, although there is no existing paper document, nevertheless several hundred Baha’is, including me, are the living witnesses who have been deprived of education at universities in Iran since the beginning of the Revolution.

Now by offering these living witnesses, and as you have also clearly indicated that we should “send your documentation for follow-up”, I request your high office do a speedy follow up and respond with the restoration of my and my family’s lost rights, including my father’s unpaid pension since 1359 (1980), and an investigation into his execution despite the Court’s decision that he was innocent, and the prevention of my study at university too.


With thanks,

Roya Habibi



2 Responses

  1. Bill

    September 14, 2014 2:41 am

    Will this powerful letter be the lone voice, or will all the Baha’is – indeed all Iranians – raise the same questions to Mr. Larijani, the Head of “Human Rights” of the Judiciary in the Islamic Republic of Iran. As for Mr. Larijani’s words that “The authorities have never discriminated against the followers of the Baha’i faith merely based on being Baha’is” – we do not hear them.


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