Translation by Iran Press Watch
Following the death of Afagh Khosravi Zand (Rahimian) (wife of one of the Baha’is executed in 1984), 14 female political prisoners in Evin expressed sympathy with her family and praised her “fight against injustice and violence”.
Following her death, Ms. Khosravi Zand’s family chose to donate her body to medical students for medical education.
Afagh Khosravi Zand died on November 21st. She was the wife of Rahim Rahimian, one of the Baha’is by the executed the Islamic Republic in 1984. The security authorities of the Islamic Republic refused permission to allow Ms. Khosravi Zand to be buried “Tehran’s Golestan Javid “, the Baha’i cemetery, and demanded that instead she be buried in the Khavaran mass graves.
After being told by security authorities that they would only be allowed to bury Ms. Khosravi Zand Khavaran mass grave, on November 27th her family announced on November 27th their intention to donate her body to the Tehran University of Medical Sciences. They cited the reason for their decision as “maintaining the independence of the Baha’i community” as well as “respecting the sanctuary of the Khavaran’s cemetery”.
Kamran Rahimian, one of Ms. Khosravi Zand’s children, wrote on his Instagram account that the decision to donate his mother’s body was made based on “Afagh’s desire for learning and unwavering support” of his children in their path of learning.
On November 28th, 14 female prisoners in Evin prison wrote a letter referring to Afagh Khosravi’s “suffering and perseverance” after the execution of her husband in 1984 and praised her life-long struggle to fight “weakness and abjection” and “injustice and violence”.
The prisoners offered their condolences to her family, including her son, Keyvan Rahimian, who is himself currently imprisoned in Evin prison.
Keyvan Rahimian has been subjected to arrest several times by Iran’s security and judicial authorities. Following his last arrest on July 18, 2023, he was transferred to Evin prison.
The 14 women who have signed this letter Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, Narges Mohammadi, Golrokh Iraei, Sepideh Keshavarz, Mahvash Edalati, Sepideh Ghalian, Faezeh Hashemi, Nahid Taghavi, Shakila Monfared, Mahboobeh Rezaei, Rizvaneh Khanbeigi, Zahra Tohidi and Hoda Tohidi.
Since the beginning of this year, the security apparatus of the Islamic Republic in continuation of its harassment of the Baha’i citizens of Iran dug several new graves in the Khavaran mass graves cemetery, forcing these citizens to bury the dead bodies of their loved ones in this section.
In this context, human rights activist Atena Daemi wrote on her X social network account that “Bahá’í citizens are under the most intense pressure” by the intelligence agencies of the Islamic Republic to not bury the bodies of their loved ones in “Golestan Javid”, the Baha’i cemetery.
Simin Fahandej, the spokesperson of the Baha’i International Community at the United Nations office in Geneva, announced on April 22, 2023, via Twitter, that the Baha’is of Tehran were prohibited from burying their dead in a part of the Khavaran cemetery that is not related to mass graves.
In her Twitter post, Mrs. Fahandej mentioned that the representatives of Behesht Zahra want to “force” the Baha’is to bury their dead in the mass graves of those executed during the Revolution, instead of the usual place in the Khavaran cemetery (known as Golestan Javid). Golestan Javid has adequate room for burials for at least for the next 50 years.
Shortly after Ms. Fahandej’ post, on Thursday evening, a group of families of political prisoners killed in the Eighties and Baha’is held a virtual meeting to start the “Campaign for keeping the Khavaran alive”. This group condemned the action of the Ministry of Information of the Islamic Republic of Iran for pressuring Baha’i families to bury their dead in the mass graves of the 1988 massacre of prisoners.
On May1st, the Ministry of Information of the Islamic Republic arrested four Baha’i citizens, Shadi Shahidzadeh, Ataullah Zafar, Valiullah Eghdamian and Mansour Amini, in connection with the restrictions on the burial place of the Baha’is in Tehran.
On April 29th, the same agency buried the bodies of two Baha’i citizens, Firuzeh Akhtarkhavari and Ezzat Zarghami, in Khavaran cemetery mass grave, without informing the family and ignoring Baha’i burial requirements.