Bandar Lengeh: Arrest of a Baha’i, and Sealing of Home and Businesses of Two Other Baha’is

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

HRANA – Noushin Hakimi (Nouhnejad), a Baha’i resident of Bandar Lengeh, was arrested by security forces on Saturday, December 14, and taken to an unknown location. At the time of the arrest, officers searched her home and confiscated some of her personal belongings. At the same time, the home and business of Erfan Nouhnejad and the business of Vahid Zeraatkar, two other Baha’i citizens, were sealed.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists in Iran, on Saturday morning, December 14, 2019, Noushin Hakimi (Nouhnejad), a Baha’i resident of the town of Bandar Lengeh, was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

Security forces searched her home, and confiscated some personal belongings, including her cellphone and books.

The reasons for the arrest, the charges brought against her, and the whereabouts of Ms. Hakimi were not known at the time of this report.

On the same day, the business and home of Baha’i citizen Erfan Nouhnejad, in the town of Bandar Lengeh, was also sealed.

Also on Saturday, December 14, the home of Vahid Zeraatkar, the son-in-law of Nouhnejad’s family, was searched by security forces.

During the search and inspection of the house, officers also seized some of his personal belongings, including a camera, a cellphone, and Mr. Zeraatkar’s laptop.

Following the search of the house, the officers proceeded to seal the optical business owned by Mr.Zeraatkar.

Up to the time of this report, there was no exact information about the reason for sealing the homes and businesses of these citizens.

Baha’is in Iran are systematically deprived of religious freedoms, while according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all people are entitled to freedom of religion, belief, and changes thereof, as well as the right to express and practice those beliefs as individuals or collectively, in public or in private.

Though unofficial, sources estimate the Baha’i population of Iran at more than 300,000, Iran’s Constitution officially recognizes only Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, and does not acknowledge the Baha’i faith as an official religion. As a result, the rights of Baha’is in Iran are systematically violated.

The sealing of Baha’i owned businesses takes place despite By-Law B of Article 28 of the Trade Union Law, which states that business owners may close their businesses for up to a maximum of 15 days per year, without informing the Union. The sealing of Baha’i-owned businesses continues despite assurances from Shahindokht Molavardi, the Special Assistant to the President on matters related to civil rights, in her conversation with the media on December of last year, who said: “In relation to the sealing of the business premises and prevention of Baha’is from activities, inquiries have been made to the President’s legal deputy, and we will continue this discussion through legal means so that we can find a solution for the issue.”


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