By Kian Sabeti
Weeks after his arrested on September 1, 2021, and later his temporary release, Iranian Baha’i citizen Arsalan Yazdani and his family continue to experience threats and pressure from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. Yazdani was released after 45 days on a one billion toman bail. The charges against him have not yet been announced.
Yazdani was released from Evin Prison after 45 days, on a one billion toman bail, on October 16, 2021. IranWire now understands that, on December 7, Yazdani was summoned by his case prosecutor to collect his confiscated belongings and that the prosecutor also threatened to re-arrest him. Yazdani’s wife, Samira Ebrahimi, has now also been summoned for questioning.
At 7:30am on December 7, Yazdani received a phone call asking him to go to Branch 2 of the court to collect items confiscated during his initial arrest. During this visit to the prosecutor, Yazdani saw that his interrogator during his detention was also prsent. The interrogator asked Yazdani to step into another room.
The interrogator then began asking questions and giving Yazdani paper to write and sign a statement. Yazdani protested against this, saying that he had been summoned to collect his belongings, not for a fresh interrogation. Yazdani added that this form of interrogation was illegal and that, if the authorities wanted to interrogate him again, they should send him a written summons.
The interrogator then threatened Yazdani with re-arrest for reactivating his Instagram page and for posting to the account. Yazdani said the graphic he had posted was related to his religious beliefs, that these beliefs were part of his identity, and that he could not deny his identity. Yazdani’s interrogator finally returned his belongings to him; these included his passport, a SIM card, a contract, a theft complaint, a box for an iPad, business cards, and other items.
Yazdani then asked for other items, such as a laptop and an iPad, to also be returned to him. The interrogator told him not to complain and that, if he did not want what had been returned to him, he could give them back again.
Around noon on December 7, an hour after Arsalan Yazdani returned home, the family received a summons from the Revolutionary Court for Samira Ebrahimi, Yazandi’s wife, instructing her to report to Branch 2 of the Tehran Public Revolutionary Court to answer questions regarding charges against her.
The case against Samira Ebrahimi also started on September 1, 2021, the same day that Arsalan Yazdani was arrest. A veiled female security officer forcibly entered the Yazdani home, stating that a complaint had been lodged against Samira Ebrahimi. Ten other agents also entered the property. The agents showed an arrest warrant and began searching the home, as well as Yazdani’s workplace, warehouse and car. After a thorough search of the home, officers confiscated items belonging to Yazdani, Ebrahimi and their young children, including laptops, phones, and religious books, and arrested Arsalan Yazdani.
Arsalan Yazdani’s mother, Saeedeh Khozouei, was on September 30 also visited by security agents. The agents searched her home, confiscated personal belongings such as laptops, phones and photographs, and summoned this Baha’i citizen for questioning. Khozouei was summoned to the Shahid Moghadas Court at Evin Prison on October 5 and was released after questioning.
It is unclear why the summons for Samira Ebrahimi has now occured at this time. Did Arsalan Yazdani’s dispute with the interrogator, as he collected his belongings, cause the summons to be sent to his wife to pressure him once he had left? Or had the summons already been issued and it simply coincided with Yazdani’s visit to the courthouse?
The interrogation of Yazdani’s mother – who had been summoned to put extra pressure on him – suggests that Samira Ebrahimi may now be questioned to achieve the same purpose.