IRAN: Monthly News Digest about Baha’is and Christians in Iran in March
Four Baha’is from Varamin re-sentenced in Tehran
Hrana/ Sens Daily (13.03.2021) – https://bit.ly/3rVrxUf – A Revolutionary Court in Tehran, under Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad, has sentenced Mrs. Mona Mehraabi, Elhaam Karam-Pisheh, Afsaaneh Yaadgaar-Ardestaani and Mr. Ehsaan-Allah Yaadgaar-Ardestaani.
These Baha’is all live in Varamin, Tehran Province. In September or October 2018, they were sentenced by a revolutionary court in Tehran, in a secret trial without a hearing or defence. This trial was not reported on Sen’s Daily. The court has since agreed to a retrial, and has announced sentences of three years each, in place of the original five years. They were charged with membership of illegal organisations with the aim of undermining state security.
Mrs. Elhaam Karam-Pisheh and Mona Mehraabi were arrested on February 16, 2015, in a raid on a meeting in Tehran where six Bahais were present. All were separately interrogated in the house, and the two women were arrested in accordance with a warrant and taken away in a car from the Ministry of Intelligence. During the search, which lasted five hours, all the books, pictures and religious symbols of those present, as well as computers, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, were seized. One report adds that the officers demanded that those present should sign undertakings not to participate in Bahai meetings.
Mr. Ehsaan Yaadgaar was arrested in a neighbouring home at the same time, and again religious materials were seized, along with some gold coins. He was told to present himself to the public prosecutor’s office in Varamin (the capital of Varamin County in Tehran Province). He did so, and was released after several hours. He was again arrested in early March, 2015, and taken to Evin Prison for questioning before being released.
Mrs. Safa Forqani-Araani was arrested in a raid on her home [apparently in Tehran] on February 17, 2015, and her father Mehrdaad was arrested at his home in Varamin an hour later.
During these raids a number of other Baha’is in Tehran were questioned, but they are not mentioned in this report.
Iran to tighten repression of Baha’is and Sufis in Mazandaran Province
Hrana/ Sens Daily (11.03.2021) – https://cutt.ly/wcFrVre – A leak of confidential documents has revealed that a meeting of representatives from nine of Iran’s security organisations, together with officials from government departments, held in Sari on September 3 last year, decided to tighten the repression of Baha’is and Sufis in Mazandaran Province.
The activities of Baha’is in the bazaar (in the economy) and in private meetings are to be more tightly controlled. The Directors of primary and secondary schools in Sari County are tasked with identifying Baha’i pupils and attracting them to Islam, while the heads of tertiary education in the County are required to ensure that the exclusion of Baha’is from tertiary education is enforced. The head of the Ministry of Industry and Mining was tasked with controlling the activities of Baha’is in the bazaar. Such a high-level meeting confirms anecdotal evidence that Baha’i and Sufi communities are growing in Iran, to the extent that they are seen as a threat.
5-year sentences confirmed for Sufeya Mobini and Negin Tadrisi
Hrana/ Sens Daily (10.03.2021) – https://cutt.ly/7cFyTWH – The Review Court for Tehran Province has confirmed the five-year prison sentences of Sufeya Mobini and Negin Tadrisi. They were initially sentenced in the Revolutionary Court by Judge Muhammad-Reza Amouzad. For the details see a previous report on this blog.
Parkinson’s sufferer and wife summoned to begin prison sentences
Article 18 (25.03.2021) – https://articleeighteen.com/news/8192/ – A Christian convert with advanced Parkinson’s disease and his wife have been summoned to begin their prison sentences for belonging to a house-church.
Homayoun Zhaveh, who is 62 years old, and his wife Sara Ahmadi, 42, received the summons on Friday, telling them to report to Tehran’s Evin Prison within days.
Their lawyer has applied for a retrial.
Homayoun faces two years in prison, while his wife was given a stiffer sentence of eight years for her alleged leadership role within the house-church.
The sentences were handed down in November 2020 but only reported last week after the couple were informed by their lawyer that they could be summoned any day.
Sara was initially sentenced to 11 years in prison, but her sentence was reduced to eight years on appeal.
Article18 calls for renewal of mandate of UN rapporteur on human rights in Iran
Article 18 (12.03.2021) – https://articleeighteen.com/news/8073/ – Article18 has joined 38 other rights groups in calling for the renewal of the mandate of the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman.
The renewal of Mr Rehman’s mandate is set to be voted upon at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, where he presented his latest report earlier this week.
In a joint letter sent today to all member states of the Council, we say the renewal of the mandate by at least another year is “essential in light of the persistence of widespread and systematic violations of human rights committed by Iranian authorities with total impunity”.
Continue reading on the link above.
UK ambassador calls on Iran to end persecution of Christian converts
Article 18 (11.03.2021) – https://articleeighteen.com/news/8062/ – The UK’s permanent representative to the UN has called on Iran to end its “persistent” discrimination and persecution of religious minorities, “particularly the Baha’i and Christian converts”.
Honouring the Iranian Christian women persecuted for their faith
Article 18 (08.03.2021) – https://articleeighteen.com/features/7989/ – On International Women’s Day, we honour the Christian women who have been arrested, charged or imprisoned over the past 12 months in Iran as a result of their faith or religious activities.
This article highlights just 12 such women, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, nor does it include all the women whose husbands are currently serving prison sentences as a result of their faith and are thereby deprived of support in looking after their homes and children.
Read more about each of them on the link above