Arrest of Baha’is in Shiraz

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Saturday 26 November 2016

By Kian Sabeti,

Translation by Iran Press Watch

On the evening of Tuesday 22 Nov, agents of the Office of Information of Shiraz, in a coordinated attempt, went to the residences of four Baha’i citizens. After a thorough search of the houses, they seized all books, religious posters, computers, laptops and mobile phones. In addition, they arrested five Baha’i citizens ‒ Nasim Kashaninezhad, Lala Salehi, Parisa Sepehri, Rezvan Yazdani and Samar Ashnaii ‒ and transferred them to Building Number 100 in Shiraz.

Regarding the arrest of Lala Salehi and Parisa Sepehri, a Baha’i citizen told Iranwire: “The agents went to Lala Salehi’s residence and proceeded to search her house around sunset.” After the search, they arrested Lala Salehi and her sister-in-law, Parisa Sepehri, who is expecting a child. Although Parisa stated that she was pregnant and conditions in the prison are not suitable for her, they were indifferent.”

Also, security officers, without a warrant, after searching the house, interrogated their guests who were there, including Bahareh Noruzi and Mahyar Sefidi. Finally they confiscated their mobile phones.

At the same time, another three groups of agents of the Ministry of Information went to three different Baha’is’ residences and arrested Nasim Kashani and Rezvan Yazdani. At that time another Baha’i, Samar Ashna’i, was not home. After returning home at 10:00 PM she was also arrested by agents of the Ministry of Information, and then transferred to Building Number 100 in Shiraz.

Based on one of the Baha’i’s assertions, on Wednesday, 23 Nov, while the husband of Parisa Sepehri was making inquiries about his wife at the Office of Information, he was asked to provide them with a medical certificate regarding her pregnancy. This was because she was not in a good health condition in prison, as they assumed she was merely pretending to have discomfort. After seeing the medical document, the responsible officer released Parisa on bail. This occurred 24 hours after her remand. At the time of this report, there was no news of the accusations against the other four arrested friends.

The Baha’is of Shiraz are not unfamiliar with collective arrests. There were arrests of tens of Baha’is in the early 1980s, and subsequently sixteen Baha’is were hanged in two consecutive days on16-18 June 1983. These are still fresh in people’s minds. Concurrent arrests of 54 Baha’i youth in May 2006, resulted in the conviction of three of them ‒ Raha Sabet, Haleh Rouhi and Sassan Taghva ‒ to four years of imprisonment. Also another 51 Baha’is were sentenced to three years suspended imprisonment and having to attend Islamic Education classes. In addition, in Feb 2011 fifteen Baha’is were arrested, convicted and sentenced to varying terms, ranging from one to five years. They are still waiting to be summoned for incarceration.

These are just a few incidents to show how the government of Iran treats the Baha’i citizens of Shiraz.

In recent months the Baha’is of Shiraz have faced more severe attacks. Agents of the Ministry of Information in three separate attempts arrested some of Baha’is. During the current year, on 16 & 17 July 2016, seven Baha’is were arrested, interrogated and were released on bail. Yekta Fahandezh Sa’adi and Nabil Tahzib are the last two who were arrested; after 82 days, on 3 October 2016, they were released on 250,000 Tumans ($77) bail.

On 27 Sept-3 Oct, officers of the same Ministry, in a widespread operation, simultaneously arrested 17 Baha’is in their residences and transferred them to the Shiraz prison known as Building Number 100. Within last two months 13 Baha’is have been arrested, interrogated and released on bail of 200,000 Tumans ($20) each. Currently four of them are still in prison. They are: Ahdieh Enayati and her husband Sahba Moslehi, Bahareh Noruzi and Mahyar Sefidi.


One Response

  1. Brooks Garis

    December 9, 2016 11:29 am

    Always striking in these recurring reports of systematic arrests of Baha’is in Shiraz and elsewhere in Iran: there is never a search to find the someone. The world is quite aware that these actions of the Ministry of Information are simply arbitrary mischief to disrupt the orderly lives of law abiding citizens. Men, women, young, old -the pattern of abuse of authority is always to astonish the world with its indifference to innocence. Meanwhile people of conscience across Iran and through the world witness how far this Islamic Republic of Iran has strayed from the world-healing tenants of the faith it claims to uphold. Good people everywhere pray for the speedy repair of this illicit conduct on the part of Iran’s government.


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