Imprisoned Baha'is Barred from Release despite Prosecutor's Ruling


Afshin Ehsanian
Afshin Ehsanian

The following report was received on Thursday, April 16, 2009 and is offered below in translation (sources cited at the end):

Four Baha’is, namely, Mrs. Haleh Houshmandi, Mr. Kayvan Karami, Mr. Farhad Ma’sumi, and Mr. Afshin Ehsanian, who were arrested in the last two months, continue to languish in prison of the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz, known as Pelak 100.

According to a letter of the Prosecutor General of Fars province, they were scheduled to be releases from incarceration on April 4 on condition of bail and surety.  However, the judiciary official investigating their case has so far refused to issue their discharge order and for this reason the four Baha’i continue to remain imprisoned.

After repeated visit by their families to various governmental offices requesting their release, it was announced that they would be allowed to go home after Naw-Ruz festivities [which were concluded on April 2].

On April 4, the Prosecutor General of Fars province issued a letter to the judicial investigator of these cases, indicating that bail was set for these individuals and they should be allowed to leave prison immediately.  However, when the family followed up on this instruction, they were confronted with angry and inhumane response of the judiciary investigator stating that under no conditions would he accept the instructions of the Prosecutor General and allow these Baha’is to be discharged on bail.

During the last two weeks, many times the families of these imprisoned Baha’is have received threatening phone calls from the Ministry of Intelligence and in a number of instances these threats were accompanied with insults and accusations.

It should be noted that under intense psychological and physical pressures in the prison, Mrs. Haleh Houshmandi has developed severe heart conditions, but until now has been barred from seeing a physician or a specialist. Therefore, considerable worries about her physical well-being remain.

[Reported on Thursday April 16, 2009, by and Translation by Iran Press Watch.]


8 Responses

  1. Mark Obenauer

    April 18, 2009 10:13 pm

    It sounds like there must be some administrative confusion with different authorities making different rulings? I hope this confusion will be resolved with some clarity of what ruling to follow.

  2. Mark Obenauer

    April 19, 2009 6:18 am

    Iran is a sovereign nation. I am giving them the latitude to perform the legitimate duties of a legal system within their borders because I respect the IRI’s sovereignty. I just think it would be nice if the authorities could decide who has authority over an issue to create less confusion. Any justice system is ideally based upon consistency and not on two sides of the government disputing each others’ legal rulings. It is like a tug of war between legal authorities or government agencies with people incarcerated within the justice system being in the midst of it.

  3. Sangi

    April 20, 2009 3:58 am

    Mark, are you going back to believing in Westphalian notions of svereignty? Sovereignty has limits. Among those limits are when a government does not/can not stop genocide inside its borders, or willfully plans genocide…. you get the rest, Mark….

  4. Mark Obenauer

    April 20, 2009 6:15 am


    Then what is the solution to this problem? Sorry, I really don’t want to go there. It just seems like what we have now is a band-aid solution (outside pressure) that is stalling what you have described or a real solution that could create massive chaos. I don’t really wish for this latter outside force solution, although it has been an effective during the last century (ie,The Axis empire, Pol Pot, Bosnia…). We also never really dealt with these issues in these later cases until so much damage was done, or after the fact.

    And this probably comes back to Westphalian notions of national sovereignty. I am sorry because I am getting off topic. Perhaps the editorial staff could have a contributer dealing with your very interesting question about the limits of sovereignty.

  5. rad

    May 17, 2009 9:44 am

    با سلام من یک ایرانی هستم مذهب من بهائی است زندگی در ایران برای من غیر ممکن است
    من درخاست کمک دارم من30سال سن دارم دارای 1فرزند پسر2ساله هستم
    خاهش میکنم به من کمک کنید زندگی من در خطر است
    منتظره ایمیل شما هستم


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