IRAN: Monthly FORB new digest about Baha’is and Christians in Iran in May 2022
Sa`ideh Khasousi free on bail in Tehran
Hrana / Sens Daily (25.05.22) – Mrs. Sa`ideh Khasousi was released from Evin Prison on bail of 2 billion tumans (44,000 euros ; $US 47,000) on May 24. She was arrested on April 11.
Amin Dhulfaqaari begins 8-month sentence in Yazd
Hrana / Sens Daily (25.05.22) – Amin Dhulfaqaaribegan his prison sentence in Yazd on May 24. Amin Dhulfaqaari was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on May 21, 2021 [but the HRANA report says 2020], and released on bail on June 23. He was accused of teaching the Baha’i Faith. In July 2021 the Revolutionary Court in Yazd, presided by Judge Reza Javad Musavi sentenced him, and three other Baha’is, to two years and eight months in prison for membership of anti-regime groups, and to eight months in prison for propaganda against the regime. The Review Court rejected the charge of membership of anti-regime groups and reduced these sentences to eight months.
Sa`ideh Khasousi’s interrogation ends after 40 days
Hrana / Sens Daily (24.05.2022) – After over 40 days’ detention by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mrs. Sa`ideh Khasousi has been transferred to Tehran’s Evin Prison. Her son Arsalaan Yazdaani reports that she will be released on bail. She was arrested on April 11 after responding to a summons to the court at Evin Prison in Tehran. On May 19 she was allowed a telephone call and told her family she was being (or had been?) transferred to the Revolutionary Guards’ interrogation centre “A1”. Her son Arsalaan was arrested on September 1, in a raid on the family home, and taken to Evin Prison. The agents also seized some personal effects. In another raid on September 30, agents seized more personal belongings, including Mrs. Khasousi’s new mobile phone. Arsalaan was released on bail on October 16 after 45 days in detention, however Mrs. Khasousi was summoned to Evin prison in late March, only to be told she should return on April 11, which she did.
Group of 26 Baha’is to stand trial six years after arrests
Iran Press Watch (24.05.2022) – A group of 26 Iranian Baha’is who were arrested almost six years ago in September 2016 were due to appear in court on Wednesday even though a judge has repeatedly called the case against them “incomplete”.
Prosecutors recently issued a fresh indictment against the 26 and sent the case to Branch 1 of Shiraz Revolutionary Court. The group are variously charged with “propaganda against the regime”, “membership in groups opposed to the Islamic Republic”, “organizing an anti-regime group” and “connections to hostile governments”.
Sahba Farnoush begins 2-year sentence (reduced from 6 years)
Hrana / Sens Daily (13.05.2022) – Sahba Farnoush began serving his two-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison on May 11. He was initially sentenced to 16 years, which was reduced to six years by the Review court for Tehran Province. This was appealed to the Supreme Court, which reduced the sentence to two years. His crime was celebrating the birthday of Baha’u’llah. Mr. Farnoush was arrested by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence on November 15, 2015. He was one of 20 Bahai’s arrested in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad on that day. Agents from the Ministry of Intelligence also closed down Baha’i-run businesses in the Province of Mazandaran. It appears that the Ministry of Intelligence actions all related to Bahai’s commemorating the birth of Baha’u’llah.
RWCHR Statement concerning the confiscation of Baháʼí property in Iran
Iran Press Watch (10.05.2022) – The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR) strongly condemns the continued confiscation of Baháʼí-owned property by Iranian authorities. Recent reports from the Baháʼí International Community found that groups connected to Iranian leadership are “orchestrating a rising trend of confiscations of properties belonging to Iranian Baháʼís,” including in Ivel, Semnan and Kata, among other localities. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief recently cited property confiscation as a dimension of “state-driven and systematic” persecution of Baháʼís in Iran.
House-church members still detained, families told upcoming appeal doomed
Article 18 (17.05.2022) – Three house-church members already facing five-year prison sentences remain in detention more than a week after they were re-arrested.
Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh and Ahmad Sarparast were arrested following raids by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) intelligence agents on their homes on 8 May.
Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh
Article 18 (17.05.2022) – Christian converts Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh are the second group of Christian converts to have been convicted under the amended Article 500 of the penal code, for “engaging in propaganda and educational activities for deviant beliefs contrary to the holy Sharia”, and “connections with foreign leaders”. They have been sentenced to five years in prison.
Europe should seek new relationship with Iran grounded on human rights.
Article 18 (13.05.2022) – ‘Challenging Minority Discrimination in Iran’ was the title of a conference held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.
The two-hour discussion was hosted by Italian MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo, and jointly organised by Minority Rights Group International, The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), and the Centre for Supporters of Human Rights.
The discussion focused on the human rights situation in Iran, the structure of the government’s religious ideology, the situation of ethnic minorities, and violations of their rights.
Converts already facing charges re-arrested in Rasht
Article 18 (09.05.2022) – Four “Church of Iran” members already facing criminal charges relating to the practice of their faith, with two having spent over two years in prison, were re-arrested last night, while a fifth was ordered to hand himself in today.
Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Ahmad Sarparast, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh were arrested at their homes last night by intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and taken to an IRGC detention centre.
Persian-speaking Christians demand right to work
Article 18 (03.05.2022) Twenty-five Iranian Christians have signed a joint statement highlighting the Islamic Republic’s deprivation of Persian-speaking Christians’ right to work.
The statement, released on Sunday to coincide with International Workers’ Day, says this deprivation is just one of the ways the Islamic Republic has targeted this unrecognised religious minority over the past four decades, with the ultimate aim of its elimination.