Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Systematic Oppression of the Baha'is of Iran (Episode-2)

Destruction of the National Baha'i Centre in Tehran, Iran by extremists (circa 1955)

The following is the second episode of the series "Systematic Oppression of the Baha'is of Iran" which began in this previous post.

The purpose of these posts is to expose the actions of the government of Iran in its efforts to systematically harass and oppress the Baha'i population of Iran who, numbered over 300,000 individuals, make up the largest religious minority in that country.


• Mr. Sháhridá ‘Abbásí [Shahreza Abbasi] of Hamadan, who had been detained for six days in 2006 and had been treated very harshly at that time, was arrested again on 13 December 2007. He was summoned to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Hamadan where he was held while officials searched his house and collected his Bahá’í books, compact discs, and portraits. After having been incarcerated for two days in a 1.5 by 1.5 metre chamber in the detention centre of the Intelligence Ministry in Hamadan, he was transferred to the jail at the local police station. The police refused to accept him as a prisoner and sent him back to the Intelligence Ministry’s detention centre. A few days later, Mr. ‘Abbásí was again transferred, this time to the detention facilities of the Islamic Revolutionary Court. After a long interrogation, he was released on bail that was provided by a non-Bahá’í, on 21 December 2007.

• On 15 December 2007 Mr. Jamálu’d-Dín Khánjání [Jamaloddin Khanjani], who has served for many years as a member of the “Friends in Iran”, the group that coordinates the affairs of the Iranian Bahá’í community, was ordered to meet with Intelligence Ministry officials in Hamadan, where he underwent interrogation. This was the third time since the end of September that Mr. Khánjání had been questioned by officials of the Ministry of Intelligence, each time in a different locale. On 26 November 2007 he had been summoned to meet with officials of the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz. When he arrived there he was arrested and imprisoned. He was released the same day following extensive questioning about the activities of the “Friends in Iran” and of the Bahá’ís throughout the country. Prior to this, on 25 September 2007, he had been directed to present himself at the local office of the Intelligence Ministry while on a personal trip to Isfahan. When he did so, he was detained for five days. He was released on 1 October 2007 having provided collateral as bail.

• Mr. Hurmuz Háshimí [Hormoz Hashemi] of Shiraz was arrested 25 December 2007. Mr. Háshimí has indicated that he had given Bahá’í books and an introduction to the Faith on a compact disc to a few shopkeepers close to where he takes his child for Bahá’í classes. When he returned to the shops the following day to answer any queries these shopkeepers may have had, all the books and the compact disc were returned to him and he was handcuffed and taken to a detention centre. There, he openly admitted that he had been, and would continue, teaching the Faith. He was asked who had given him the materials, and he stated that he had received them from Mrs. Kamálí. Mr. Háshimí was released on 10 January 2008. His bail was set at 20 million tumans (approximately US$22,000).


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