Mohammad Zolfaghari

Monthly report about Bahais in Iran

Baha’i Mother and Daughter Begin Prison Term

a Baha’i mother and daughter turned themselves in to begin serving one-year prison sentences.

Mashhad resident May Kholousi, her daughter Saghi Fadaei, and their fellow Baha’is Shayan Tafazzoli and Dorri Amri were all sentenced February 2018 by Judge Soltani of Mashhad Revolutionary Court Branch 3 on charges of propaganda against the regime. The appeals court upheld their sentences on August 26, 2018.

Baha’i Citizen Zabihollah Raoufi Begins Prison Term in Sanandaj

Baha’i Sanandaj resident Zabihollah Raoufi, age 69, went to Sanandaj Prison to begin his one-year prison sentence.

In July, Branch 4 of Sanandaj Appeals court — for the charge of “propaganda against the regime” — sentenced Raoufi to one year in prison and one year of exile to Minab County, Hormozgan Province.

Raoufi’s wife Parvaneh Rahmani faces one year in prison on the same charge. Her case is currently under review in Kurdistan Province Appeals Court.

Exhuming the Grave and Removing the Body of a Deceased Baha’i in Gilavand

The body of a Baha’i citizen, Shamsi Aghdasi Azamian, from Gilavand, a suburb of the city of Damavand, on October 24, was exhumed by unknown individuals several days after being buried in the Gilavand Bahá’i Cemetery and abandoned in the deserts of Jaban in the suburbs of that city.

No individual or institution has accepted responsibility for this action, although security forces had told the Gilavand Baha’is earlier that they had no right to bury their deceased member in this place, and that they should perform burials only in Tehran.

Evin Prison Infirmary Officials Deny Access to Emergency Dental Treatment for Negin Ghedamian

Negin Ghedamian, a Bahá’í citizen imprisoned in the women’s ward of Evin Prison since 18 December 2017, has been deprived of going to a specialty clinic to receive emergency dental treatment.

Officials of the Evin Prison infirmary have refused Ms. Ghedamian access to an outside dental clinic for treatment of a gum infection and severe tooth and jaw pain. This is despite Ms. Ghedamian having been granted permission by the assistant to the special prosecutor at Evin to be sent for treatment.

Negin Ghedamian was arrested on December 16, 2017, at the airport while traveling, and two days later was transferred to the women’s ward of Evin Prison to serve her five-year prison term.

Charged with acting against national security due to her membership in the Bahá’í Faith, which is illegal in Iran, in February/March 2013, Ms.Ghedamian was sentenced to five years imprisonment by Judge Mogheiseh, in absentia and without having been summoned to the court.

Furlough Granted to Bereaved Baha’i Prisoner Azita Rafizadeh

Authorities have granted a November 7th to November 10th furlough period to Baha’i prisoner Azita Rafizadeh, who will attend memorial services for her father, Seyed Yadollah Rafizadeh, who recently died in a car accident.
Azita Rafizadeh is serving a four-year sentence for her Baha’i affiliations, including the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, as well as a charge of acting against national security.
The furlough request of her spouse Peyman Koushk-Baghi, who is currently serving a five-year sentence on the same charges, was denied.

The Forced Closure of the Private Business of Two Baha’is in the City of Abadan, for the Second Time This Year

On November 5th, the Business of Two Baha’is in Abadan, Aram Azadi, and Arman Azadi, was shut down and sealed by order of Judiciary Authorities, for the second time this year. This action coincides with important Baha’i religious holidays, on which, based on their religious beliefs, Baha’is close their place of business. Earlier this year, the business of these two Baha’is was sealed for 15 days.

Sealing of Baha’i-owned Businesses in Khorramshahr and Ahvaz

The closure of Baha’i-owned businesses continues in Ahvaz and Khorramshahr, in the Khuzestan province, where several Baha’i-owned businesses have been sealed by the law enforcement and the Offices of Public Places, on the order of the judicial authorities. This was done in retaliation for the owners having closed their businesses in observance of Baha’i Holy Days.

Baha’i Motocross Champion Arrested

Shahrzad Nazifi, an Iranian Baha’i and a women’s motocross champion and coach, was arrested on Sunday, November 18 and taken to Evin Prison. After her arrest, security agents searched her house for five hours and confiscated books, her cell phone, her laptop, and some other personal items.

Eight Members Of Iran’s Baha’i Religious Minority Sentenced To Prison

In a wave of persecution of Baha’is in Iran, eight members of the Baha’i community in Isfahan were sentenced to a total of 42 years behind bars. They had been arrested on September 23. According to the verdict, Afshin Bolbolan, Saham Armin, Milad Davaran, Farhang Sahba, and Anoush Rayneh were each sentenced to six years behind bars while Fozhan Rashidi and Sepideh Rouhani each received four years. No information is available on the charges brought against the eight Baha’is.

Baha’i Businesses Shuttered In Ongoing Persecution Campaign

Six businesses in Khorramshahr owned by members of the Baha’i faith have been indefinitely shut down by the authorities after some owners closed their establishments for their religious rituals.

The action was in apparent reprisal for owners closing their businesses in observance of the recent Baha’i holidays celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah (the prophet of the Baha’i faith), which is of particular importance to the worldwide Baha’i community.

Statistical Increase in Sealing of Baha’i Businesses in Ahvaz

Continuing the shuttering of the businesses of Baha’is in Ahvaz who had closed their shops because of a religious holiday. Based on the labor law people are allowed to close their shops for fifteen days without any reason. However this law does not apply to Baha’is; when as a result of any of their religious celebrations they refrain from working and close their shops based on their beliefs, security forces have sealed their businesses.

About the Author
Mohammad Zolfaghari is a Baha'i News reporter and human rights defender who worked exclusively on Human Rights Violations especially religious minorities in Iran and as a documentary maker with Amnesty International. Lives in Norway.
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