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CHINA: China forcibly repatriates North Korean refugees

Kim Eunsun speaking in London on October 25. Screenshot.

CHINA: China forcibly repatriates North Korean refugees—especially Christians

Those who had any contact with religion in China may be jailed for life when they return to North Korea.

by Nang Ji-Na


Bitter Winter (14.11.2023) – We are all accustomed to deal with refugees “from” China. Yet, as strange as it may seem, there are also refugees who go “to” China. What kind of refugees would escape to China believing Xi Jinping’s country is freer than their own? The answer is—North Koreans.

China is one of the worst countries in the world for human rights. North Korea is “the” worst. You have better chances to be arrested, tortured, and executed in North Korea than in any other country of the world for a variety of reasons, and even for no reason whatsoever. If they could, North Koreans would escape elsewhere, but geography is such that from some parts of their unfortunate country the only place they can go with some chances of success in crossing the border is China, although some die while trying.

However, North Korean refugees are not safe in China. Young women may profit of the shortage of brides in China, a relic of the one-child policy when families aborted the girls and kept the boys, and marry a Chinese. However, there are many horrific tales of North Korean “slave brides” who never learn to speak Chinese and are abused and terrorized by their husbands. Other North Korean girls end up in the hands of Chinese organized crime and are trafficked as prostitutes.

Yet, this is not the worst possibility for North Korean refugees. The worst fate awaits those China decides to deport back to North Korea, something Xi Jinping’s regime does regularly, although somewhat capriciously. On October 25, 2023, a brave North Korean woman who was once repatriated from China and finally succeeded in escaping, gave a lecture in London. Her name is Kim Eunsun, and she published in 2012 her memoir “A Thousand Miles to Freedom,” translated into several languages.

Kim reported that China just deported back to North Korea 600 refugees, and may deport another 1,000 soon. Kim said life for refugees in China is precarious. They are expected not to “make trouble” or they are deported immediately. She offered the example of young girls who are raped. If they go to the Chinese police, rather than being helped they are deported. Yet, they still prefer to remain in China rather than being repatriated to North Korea. They know they will be jailed, tortured, and possibly killed there.

Since pregnancies need authorization in North Korea, if deported back to China “pregnant women are subjected to unspeakable abuse, beatings and in some cases forced abortions,” Kim added.

Chinese authorities treat those they have decided to repatriate as criminals. “Forced repatriation is also accompanied by human rights violations in China,” Kim said. “In the Chinese border security centers, [those awaiting deportations are] forced to defecate in plastic buckets in cells with surveillance cameras operating 24 hours a day and sometimes have to listen to the sounds of screams as people are beaten and shocked with electric batons. The human rights violations that occur during and after forced repatriation are ruthless and dehumanizing.”

Kim added that the North Korean regime has spies in China. The refugees who get in contact with religion there, which mostly means Christian churches, may be jailed for life if they are repatriated. It does not matter whether the church they contacted was part of the CCP-controlled Three Self Church. “Those who have been involved with churches in China are subjected to harsh interrogation. I never saw anyone who faced those interrogations ever released from detention. Merely meeting a Christian in China makes one a political criminal,” Kim said.

Poster protesting the forced repatriations from China. From X.

Further reading about FORB in China on HRWF website

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IRAN: Religious persecution and issues – Monthly digest November

Religious persecution and issues – Monthly digest November



UN resolution notes ‘increasing’ religious-freedom restrictions in Iran

Article 18 (22.11.2023) – The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution last week highlighting violations of human rights in Iran, including “ongoing severe limitations and increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief”.

The resolution, which was passed on 15 November by 80 votes to 29, with 65 abstentions, names Christians and “particularly converts from Islam” among the recognised and unrecognised religious minorities affected by violations “including but not limited to increased harassment, intimidation, persecution, arbitrary arrest and detention, and incitement to hatred that leads to violence”.

Continue reading…


Our daughter was terrified, running around the room, shaking and crying’

Article 18 (13.11.2023) – Touraj and Elaheh’s youngest daughter, Elina, had just turned 10 years old and was still asleep when intelligence agents came to raid her home.

In fact, it was the sound of one of the agents’ voices that awoke Elina that day, and the scene that followed was a painful one not only for the little girl, but also for her mother and older sister, Arghavan.

“She was terrified,” Elina’s mother recalls, “running around the room, shaking, crying and asking in a panic: ‘What happened? What has happened?’”

Continue reading…


Converts released from prison but must report back daily for work

Article 18 (09.11.2023) – Three “Church of Iran” members sentenced to five years in prison for their participation in house-churches have been permitted to serve the remainder of their sentences outside prison, but must report back daily to work at an adjacent factory.

Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh were convicted of “spreading deviant beliefs contrary to Islam” under the controversially amended Article 500 of Iran’s penal code, which the UN Human Rights Committee has said should be “repealed or amended”.

Continue reading…


UN experts reiterate concerns over Iran’s religious freedom violations

Article 18 (08.11.2023) – The UN Human Rights Committee has reminded Iran of its obligations, as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to provide religious freedom to its citizens, including to adopt a religion of their choosing and to change religions.

In its concluding remarks following last month’s public assessment of Iran’s compliance with the ICCPR, the Committee said Iranians of all faiths should be able to “manifest [their] religion or belief without being penalised” and that members of non-recognised religious minorities must be “protected against harassment, discrimination and any other human rights violation”.

Iran must “immediately release those imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief”, and ensure they are provided with “adequate compensation”, it said.

Continue reading…



Baha’i citizen Rouya Malakooti receives six-year, eight-month sentence

Iran Press Watch (29.11.2023) – The Mashhad Revolutionary Court, presided over by Judge Hadi Mansouri, has handed down a six-year, eight-month prison sentence to Baha’i Citizen Rouya Malakooti.

The verdict includes a six-year term for “forming groups to act against national security” and an additional eight months for “spreading propaganda against the regime.”

In the event the verdict is upheld on appeal, Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code mandates the enforcement of the initial six-year prison term.

Continue reading…


Jailed Baha’i woman denied phone calls from Evin Prison

Iran Press Watch (27.11.2023) – Iranian prison authorities have denied the Baha’i prisoner Mahvash Shahriari Sabet access to phone calls after she published an open letter from inside Evin prison.

“It is the ultimate injustice that my mother is being punished and fined for writing a diary about her 40 years of life, even in prison” her daughter Negar Sabet told IranWire.

In a letter published last week, Mahvash Sabet described the oppression and deprivation she and her family have endured under the Islamic Republic.

Continue reading…


Baha’i woman sentenced to almost four years in prison

Iran Press Watch (27.11.2023) – An Iranian Revolutionary Court has sentenced Shohreh Salekian, a Baha’i citizen living in Mashhad, to three years and eight months in prison.

Salekian was charged with “membership in a group with the aim of disrupting national security” and “propaganda against the system.”

She was sentenced to three years in prison for the first charge and eight months in prison for the second charge.

Continue reading…


Request for retrial of Homayoun Khanlari, Baha’i citizen, rejected by the Supreme Court

Iran Press Watch (23.11.2023 ) – The request for retrial of Homayoun Khanlari, a Baha’i citizen imprisoned in Lakan prison in Rasht, was rejected by the Supreme Court.

An informed source close to the family of this Baha’i citizen told HRANA: “Mr. Khanlari’s request for a retrial was rejected by the 39th branch of the Supreme Court.” It has also been opposed to his request to serve his sentence under electronic monitoring.

Continue reading…


Bi-monthly statistical report: Increased pressure on the Baha’i Community with dozens of arrests and convictions

Iran Press Watch (22.11.2023) – Over the last 60 days, at least 40 Baha’i citizens have been arrested by security forces, and the homes of at least 66 individuals have been searched by security forces. Additionally, during the mentioned period, 38 Baha’i citizens have been collectively sentenced to more than 133 years in prison by judicial authorities.

Continue reading…


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: What Iran jail hell taught me about freedom of speech

Iran Press Watch (16.11.2023) – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe shared a bunk with one of Evin prison’s pillars of resilience. She tells the Standard of what she learned about Iran’s state-sponsored cancel culture and repression

On October 6, the Nobel prize committee awarded Narges Mohammadi, the human rights activist imprisoned in Iran, the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize. That seems long ago given all we have witnessed since. This was the second time an Iranian woman has been awarded such an honourable prize within the course of 20 years. The first, Shirin Ebadi, is in exile, and Narges as the second sits in prison.

Continue reading…


USCIRF condemns Iran’s religious persecution of Baha’is

Uscirf.gov (15.11.2023) – Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the Iranian government’s recent spate of arrests of Baha’is across the country. Since the beginning of November, Iranian security forces have arrested scores of Baha’is in cities including Hamadan, MehrshahrYazd, KarajAlborz, and Tehran. Additionally, the Mashhad Revolutionary Court sentenced a Baha’i man, Zabihi Moghadam, to eight years in prison. These actions are the latest in a series of arrests and sentencings targeting Iran’s Baha’i community.

Continue reading…


Baha’i Citizen Zabihi Moghadam receIves eight years in Prison

Iran Press Watch (13.11.2023) – The Mashhad Revolutionary Court has handed down an eight-year prison sentence to Sirus Zabihi Moghadam, a Baha’i resident of Mashhad.

Zabihi Moghadam was convicted of seven years for “membership in anti-regime groups” and an additional year for “spreading propaganda against the regime.” Should the verdict be upheld on appeal, Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code mandates the enforcement of the harshest punishment in cases involving multiple charges, resulting in a seven-year prison term for Moghadam.

Arrested in September 2022, Zabihi Moghadam was released on bail after two months.

Continue reading…


Seventeen Baha’is arrested in Iran and two elderly women harassed by agents

Iran Press Watch (08.11.2023) – Security agents in Iran conducted a wave of raids on the homes of Baha’is in the cities of Hamadan and Mehrshahr, arresting at least 17 individuals and seizing personal belongings, including electronic devices, religious texts, photographs, and cash.

Eyewitnesses described the raids as “armed” and “violent,” with security forces entering homes without warrants and ransacking them.

Also on Tuesday, security agents conducted raids on the homes of three Baha’i families in Hamadan. They were subsequently summoned for questioning.

Continue reading…


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IRAN: Religious persecution and issues – Monthly digest October

Religious persecution and issues – Monthly digest October



Islamic Republic delegation quizzed by UN experts on compliance with international law

Article 18 (14.10.2023) – Iran’s violations of the rights of religious minorities, including Christians, was one of the issues raised by a panel of UN experts this week as they questioned a delegation from the Islamic Republic on its compliance with international law.

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified, calls for states to provide citizens with “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”, including freedom to “have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice”, and freedom “either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching”.

Continue reading…


Iranian Christian refugees resettled in Canada longing to call somewhere ‘home’

Article 18 (04.10.2023) – An Iranian Christian couple recently resettled in Canada have spoken of their longing to finally be able to call somewhere “home”, having spent seven and a half years as refugees in Turkey.

Earlier this year, Article18 released a report outlining the “critical need” for new resettlement opportunities for the hundreds of Iranian Christian refugees in Turkey, and Naghmeh and Yashar’s story offers a further reminder.

Continue reading…



Shiraz condemning three Baha’i citizens to imprisonment, fines, and social deprivation

Iran Press Watch (29.10.2023) – Hassan Salehi, Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi, Baha’i citizens, were each sentenced to six years, one month and seventeen days of imprisonment under the electronic monitoring system, fines, and social exclusions by the first branch of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court.

According to HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, Hassan Salehi, Vahid Dana and Saeed Abedi, Baha’i citizens living in Shiraz, were sentenced to prison.

Continue reading…


Appeal Court; Soosan Badavam, a Baha’i Citizen, was sentenced to imprisonment and social deprivations

Iran Press Watch (29.10.2023) – The sentence of four years, one month and seventeen days of imprisonment and social deprivations of Baha’i citizen Soosan Badavam was confirmed by the appeals court of Gilan province.

According to HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, Soosan Badvam, a Baha’i citizen, was sentenced to prison.

According to the verdict issued on Monday, October 23, by the eleventh branch of the Gilan Province Court of Appeal, Ms. Badavam was accused of “deviant educational or propaganda activity against the holy Islamic law in the form of a sect, group, community or the like” for which she was sentenced to 3 years, 6 months and 1 day imprisonment and another 7 months and 16 days in prison for the charges of “propaganda against the regime”. Also, according to the verdict, this Baha’i citizen will be deprived of some social rights for ten years.

Continue reading…


Eight Mashhad Baha’i women sentenced to 32 years in prison in latest crackdown

Iran Press Watch (27.10.2023) – The Mashhad Revolutionary Court has sentenced eight Baha’i women to a combined 32 years and 4 months in prison, as also reported by IranWire yesterday, as concerns grow over the intensifying harassment and repression of members of the religious minority in Iran.

The verdicts were handed down by the first branch of the Revolutionary Court in Mashhad, with Judge Hadi Mansouri presiding over the proceedings held in the past weeks.

One of the most severe sentences was given to Roya Malakouti, who was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison. Malakouti has been in prison since July.

Continue reading…


Twenty-six Baha’is in Iran sentenced to 126 years in prison as 10 Baha’i women arrested in Isfahan, and 3 Baha’is in Yazd

BIC (26.10.2023) – In an escalating pattern of persecution against the Baha’is in Iran, 36 more incidents targeting the community have taken place in recent days, affecting mostly women. Ten women, most of them young, were arrested as part of these incidents while 26 additional individuals, 16 of whom were also women, have been sentenced to a total of 126 years in prison.

The 10 Baha’i women were arrested in Isfahan, in central Iran, earlier this week. Three others have also been arrested in Yazd.

Continue reading…


14 Baha’i adherents were collectively sentenced to 69 years and 8 months of imprisonment

Iran Press Watch (26.10.2023) – A number of fourteen Baha’i members: Noushin Mesbah, Samira Ebrahimi, Saba Sefidi, Saeedeh Khozouei, Nasim Sabeti, Azita Foroughi, Roya Ghane Ezz Abadi, Soheila Ahmadi, Arsalan Yazdi, Iraj Shakour, Pedram Abhar, Hossein Salehi, Vahid Dana, and Saeed Abedi were collectively sentenced to 69 years and 8 months of discretionary custodial term and severe complementary punishment by the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic.

A report obtained by the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, indicates that Samira Ebrahimi, and Saba Sefide, were each recently sentenced to 4 years and 5 months of discretionary imprisonment. Arsalan Yazdi, Saeedeh Khozouei, and Iraj Shakour were each sentenced to six years of imprisonment. In total, they received 32 years and 10 months in detention.

Continue reading…


Businesses belonging to Baha’i citizens sealed in Northern Iran

Iran Press Watch (22.10.2023) – Iran’s Shiite clerical government has shut down at least 14 businesses associated with Baha’i citizens in Gorgan, Iran, as another instance of persecution.

Some sources reported that the sealing of the businesses occurred earlier in the week, purportedly “due to the closure on Baha’i religious holidays.” Moreover, there is an ongoing concern that additional Baha’i-owned businesses in the city may also face similar actions.


The officials in Gorgan sealed the businesses “without prior notice” and, notably, have not provided responses to inquiries made by Baha’i citizens who visited the related government department on Saturday to seek clarification on the matter.

Continue reading…


Five years in prison for Iranian Baha’i who tried to bury her grandmother

Iran Press Watch (10.10.2023) – Branch 36 of the Court of Appeal in Tehran has upheld a five-year prison sentence for Shadi Shahidzadeh, a Baha’i citizen currently in detention in Evin Prison.

Shahidzadeh was arrested on May 1 after attempting to address officials regarding the denial of the burial of her grandmother at the Behesht Zahra cemetery in Tehran. The cemetery has refused to release deceased Baha’i remains since March and several deceased individuals have been buried in the Khavaran mass grave cemetery without the knowledge of their families or proper religious ceremonies.

On May 31, Shahidzadeh and three other Baha’i citizens were tried in Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.

Shahidzadeh was sentenced to five years in prison on the grounds of being a member of “an illicit group with the intent to disrupt the country’s security.” The accusation pertains to her affiliation with the Baha’i community in Iran – Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority and a persecuted group.

Shahidzadeh has been detained in Evin Prison for over five months. She has a five-year-old child.

Four Baha’i citizens sentenced to twelve years on appeal

Iran Press Watch (10.10.2023) – In a recent development, the Tehran Court of Appeal has issued a collective 12-year prison sentence to Baha’i citizens Shadi Shahidzadeh, Mansour Amini, Valiollah Ghadamian, and Ataollah Zafar.

Presiding over the case, Judge Abbasali Hoozan has pronounced the following sentences: Shahidzadeh will serve five years, while Zafar and Ghadamian will each serve two years, and Amini will face a three-year term.

It is worth noting that initially, the Tehran Revolutionary Court had sentenced all four individuals to five years in prison on charges of “membership in illegal groups aimed at disrupting national security.”

Continue reading…


Homayoun Khanlari, Baha’i citizen, begins two-year sentence in Lakan Prison, Rasht

Iran Press Watch (06.10.2023) – Harana News Agency – Homayoun Khanlari, a Baha’i resident of Rasht, responded to summons to begin his two-year sentence in Lakan prison in Rasht on Thursday, Mehr 6th (28 September 2023).

According to Harana News Agency, the news organ of the group of human rights activists in Iran, on Thursday 28 September 2023, Homayoun Khanlari, responding to the summons of to the Fifth Branch of the Prosecutor’s Office of Rasht, reported to Lakan prison to begin his sentence.

Continue reading…


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PAKISTAN: Christian couple granted bail in blasphemy case: ‘Landmark decision’

PAKISTAN: Christian couple granted bail in blasphemy case: ‘Landmark decision’

By Anugrah Kumar

Christian Post (23.10.2023) – A Pakistani court has granted bail to a Christian couple accused of blasphemy, citing insufficient evidence. A rights group has called it a “landmark judgment,” which has sparked calls for changes to the nation’s controversial blasphemy laws.


Kiran Bibi and Shaukat were granted bail on Oct. 18 by Additional Sessions Court Judge Mian Shahid Javed, UCA News reported, adding that the couple had been accused of defiling the Quran.


Javed cited a lack of evidence of “willful damage or defilement of the original text of the Holy Quran” under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code.


Nasir Saeed, director of the U.K.-based Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, or CLAAS, lauded the decision in a statement shared with The Christian Post.


“This landmark judgment breaks from the norm,” Saeed added.


In Pakistan, violating Section 295-B could lead to life imprisonment. The couple was accused by Muhammad Tamoor, who claimed to have seen Quranic pages fly out of the couple’s house on Sept. 8.


Tamoor claimed he had been given access to the house by Kiran Bibi. She suggested the pages might have been accidentally thrown by her children — all minors. The court noted gaps in the evidence and report.


CLAAS also mentioned the court found no credible eyewitness testimony that backed the severe allegations. Questions were raised about the actual perpetrator.


The couple’s bail was set at 100,000 Pakistani rupees ($357). The court ordered police to conduct further inquiries into the allegations.


Saeed welcomed the call for further investigation. “This decision underscores the importance of a thorough investigation to establish the facts and ensure justice prevails,” he was quoted as saying.

He also emphasized the need for changes in Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. These laws have led to sentences of death or life imprisonment, although no executions have occurred.


In August, attacks against Christians occurred in Jaranwala town, where churches and homes were torched following blasphemy accusations against two local Christians.

Christians make up roughly 1.6% of Pakistan’s 241 million population.


In a separate case last August, a two-member Supreme Court bench granted bail to another Christian who was also accused of blasphemy against Islam.


Justices Qazi Fael Isa and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah ordered the release of Salamat Mansha Masih, expressing concern about the frequency of blasphemy accusations. The state must protect suspects until cases are resolved, the justices said.


In another instance, a sessions court granted bail to two Christian nurses in September 2021. It was the first time bail was granted in a blasphemy case at this level, attorneys noted at the time.


Accusations often lead to mob violence, with little consequence for false accusers.


Lower courts often bow to Islamist pressure, leading to numerous convictions. In January, a Muslim woman was sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy via text messages, marking another rare instance of such a ruling against a Muslim.


In December 2021, a mob killed a Sri Lankan man over blasphemy allegations. Although arrests were made, no legislative changes have occurred to curb false accusations.

Photo Source : CLAAS

Further reading about FORB in Pakistan on HRWF website

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IRAN: Religious persecutions and issues : Monthly digest September



Iranian-Armenian pastor begins 10-year sentence for his ‘disturbing’ teachings

 Article 18 (18.09.2023) – As Iran’s president was flying to New York this morning, an Iranian-Armenian pastor was handing himself in to prison in Tehran to begin a 10-year sentence for engaging in “propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam”.

Anooshavan Avedian, who is 61 years old, was sentenced more than a year ago, but had not been summoned to serve his sentence until he was visited last week by two plainclothes officers from the Ministry of Intelligence.

This visit took place last Wednesday, the same day that another Iranian-Armenian pastor, Joseph Shahbazian, was released from Evin Prison. 

Continue reading…


Iranian-Armenian pastor ‘pardoned’, released from prison

Article 18 (14.09.2023) – Iranian-Armenian pastor Joseph Shahbazian has been “pardoned” and released after just over a year in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

The 59-year-old was last year given a 10-year sentence for holding church services in his home, though this sentence was reduced to two years in May. 

Joseph then applied for furlough, or to be released to serve the remainder of his sentence at home with an electronic tag. But early yesterday evening, the pastor was summoned to the Evin Prison office and informed that he had been “pardoned”. 

He was then given an hour to collect his things, and then finally set free from Evin Prison and able to return home to be with his family, including a nine-month-old granddaughter – Joseph’s first grandchild – born during his imprisonment.

 Continue reading…


 USCIRF releases report on religious freedom in Iran

 Uscirf.gov (12.09.2023) – Iran Country Update – This report provides an overview of religious freedom conditions in Iran in 2023. It enumerates various forms of repression that Iran’s government has used to target religious minorities and those whose views differ from the government’s religiously-grounded interpretations. These include state-perpetrated killings, imprisonment, torture, sexual and gender based violence, bodily injury, and enforced disappearances. The report concludes by urging policy makers to take seriously the grave nature of religious freedom violations in Iran, particularly as it pertains to supporting multilateral actions that include a United Nations Security Council referral of the matter of Iran to the International Criminal Court.

 Continue reading…





Sina Shahri, a Baha’i citizen living in Tabriz, started serving his eight-month prison sentence


Iran Press Watch (27.09.2023) – According to HRANA news agency, Sina Shahri went to Tabriz prison today, Wednesday September 27, 2023.

This Baha’i citizen was previously summoned to serve the prison sentence.

Sina Shahri was arrested on the 17th of January 2022 by the agents of Tabriz Intelligence Department along with house search and confiscation of some personal belongings and then transferred to one of the detention centers of this security agency. He was finally released on bail on the 2nd of February of the same year.

Mr. Shahri was sentenced to eight months in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime”. The Court of Appeal of East Azarbaijan province confirmed the sentence later.

Continue reading…


Baha’i jailed after educational and humanitarian service projects

Iran Press Watch (27.09.2023) – Nahaleh Shahidi, a Baha’i citizen, was arrested on March 28 and taken to the Kerman Intelligence Department. 

After 37 days of detention in the Intelligence Department, she was transferred to Kerman prison. 

Since her transfer to prison, Shahidi has been held indefinitely, and her request for temporary release on bail has been denied.

According to one of her friends, the prolonged detention of Shahidi may be attributed, in part, to the lack of continuous monitoring of her condition by her family. 

Shahidi is single, and her parents died years ago. Some of her siblings live outside of Iran, and her only brother in Iran has been unable to consistently check on his sister’s situation, so he entrusted the case to a lawyer. 

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Four Baha’i women detained in Shiraz

Iran Press Watch (27.09.2023) – On September 26, 2023, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence apprehended four Baha’i individuals Sahar Moheb Pour (24), Roxana Vojdani (25), Setareh Ta’ami (57), and Bahareh Ghaderi (45), in Shiraz transferring them to an undisclosed facility.

A source intimately connected with one of the detainees’ families informed HRANA that Moheb Pour and Vojdani were taken into custody at their workplace, while Ta’ami and Ghaderi were apprehended at their Shiraz residences. During these arrests, authorities conducted thorough searches of their homes, confiscating various personal belongings.

Presently, the reasons behind their detentions, their current whereabouts, and the specific allegations against these Baha’i women remain shrouded in uncertainty.

It is worth noting that Bahareh Ghaderi had previously faced arrest and imprisonment due to her activist pursuits.


Iranian President Raisi disregards Human Rights and calls for religious respect despite 44-year record of religious persecution and rights abuses

 Bic.org (21.09.2023) – The Baha’i International Community highlighted Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s disregard for human rights in his 19 September speech to the United Nations General Assembly

NEW YORK—20 September 2023—The Baha’i International Community (BIC) highlighted Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s disregard for human rights in his speech to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, on 19 September, even as the world remembers the Iranian government’s treatment of women and minorities as well as its yearlong crackdown against Iran’s Baha’i community.

Mr. Raisi’s speech ignored the persecution of the Baha’is, Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, a situation which has been condemned by UN member states and agencies. He also did not discuss the human rights concerns of other religious and ethnic minorities, women and prisoners of conscience. 

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Father imprisoned / Son deprived of education: report on violation of Human Rights of Baha’i family

Iran Press watch (15.09.2023) – Payam Vali, a Baha’i citizen, is in prison for openly talking about violations of Baha’i rights in Iran. Outside of the prison, Adib Vali, his son, has been denied from receiving the results of his National University Entrance Exam and is not being admitted to the university due to his belief in the Baha’i faith.

Adib Vali, an 18-year-old student, has been denied entry to university because he is a Baha’i. His father is Payam Vali, a Baha’i human rights activist who is currently imprisoned on charges including “spreading lies” and “collaborating with hostile countries through interviews with Persian-language satellite channels.” Payam Vali has spoken openly about violations of the rights of Baha’is, including denying Baha’i students’ entry to university because of their faith.

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 Iran continues its crackdown on Baha’i faith with arrests, 12 school closures

 Iran Press Watch (12.09.2023) – Iran’s judiciary says it has closed down 12 schools and educational centers and made several arrests in the northern Iranian city of Babol on charges of “promoting the Baha’i faith,” the country’s largest non-Muslim community.

Mohammad Sadegh Akbari, the chief justice of Mazandaran, said on September 10 that activities promoting the religion were carried out at two schools and several educational and sports centers by “employing Baha’i teachers and coaches.”

He added that as a result of the operation, intelligence forces arrested two individuals identified as “prominent Baha’i coaches in Iran.”

During the closing of the educational centers in Babol, “several books and brochures related to Baha’i magazines” were confiscated, he said.

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Baha’i woman in Iran handed 16-year prison term

Iran Press watch (07.09.2023) – A Baha’i resident of the central Iranian city of Semnan has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for alleged “propaganda activity” against the Islamic Republic and leading a group aimed at “destabilizing the country’s security.”

According to a report received by Iranwire, Branch 1 of the Semnan Revolutionary Court also fined Shahdaokht Khanjani 50 million tomans ($1,000) and deprived her of social rights for 17 years. 

The sentence was handed down in absentia. 

Khanjani was arrested in June and released on bail 10 days later.

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Saman’s School: Iranian authorities jail education pioneer for being a Baha’i

Iran Press Watch (08.09.2023) – “I cannot remember the exact moment when the idea of launching a school with a new system first took root in my mind; perhaps it began to start towards the end of my time in traditional schooling. By my second year of high school, I started feeling that attending school was nothing more than a waste of time and that one could acquire a comprehensive academic education in a significantly shorter period. I made the decision to leave high school and dive into the job market. I continued my high school education independently, taking approximately a month to pass the exams for each grade. It turns out my intuition was right.”

Saman Ostovar, a 55-year-old Baha’i in Iran, posted the above to Instagram. A month ago today he was jailed for trying to bring his educational vision to life.

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 Nafisa Saadatyar, Baha’i Citizen, fired from job due to pressure from Security Agencies

Iran Press Watch (05.09.2023) – HRANA News Agency – Nafisa Saadatyar, a Baha’i citizen living in Gorgan, was fired from her work due to pressure from security agencies.

According to HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, Nafisa Saadatyar, a Baha’i citizen living in Gorgan, lost her job when security agencies pressured her employer to fire her.

Nafisa Saadatyar and her husband Pouya Amri were arrested in January of 2023. After a period of detention each was released after posting a bail of 500 million tomans. Their arrests occurred as part of an ongoing campaign against Baha’i Citizens of Iran.

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