Its unabated wave of arrests clearly points to its systematic and predetermined lines of action, leading up to the arrest of the entire leadership of the Baha'i community of Iran on 14 May 2008. The whereabouts of these detained leaders remains to be unknown. They have not been formally charged, and are held incommunicado. Worldwide condemnation of these actions is faced with indifference and denials by the Iranian authorities.
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A) ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS (continued)
• On 15 January 2008, Mr. Fu’ád Ágáh [Foad Agah], a twenty-one-year-old Bahá’í from Isfahan was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence along with his Muslim friend, Mr. ‘Alí Karímí [Ali Karimi] when they went to pick up photocopies of a Bahá’í pamphlet that had been made by a person recommended by Mr. Karímí. It appears that the Basij Resistance Force had become aware of this activity while the pamphlets were being printed and had the shop under surveillance until Mr. Ágáh and Mr. Karímí came to take delivery of the order. They were arrested as they were leaving the shop, taken to the police station, and then to the Ministry of Intelligence. Mr. Karímí was released within twenty-four hours. Mr. Ágáh was held for two days, interrogated, and sent to Dastgerd Prison where he stayed for another four days while his bail was being set. He was released on bail (his business permit was used as collateral) on 21 January 2008.
• On 27 January 2008, Mr. Púríyá Ḥabíbí [Pouriya Habibi] and Miss Símín Mukhtárí [Simin Mokhtari] of Tehran were arrested while in a public park. The authorities accused them of teaching the Faith subsequent to their having been searched and found to be in possession of a Bahá’í book of scriptures and a card with details of the Bahá’í Persian-language radio programme, Payám-i-Dúst [Payame Doust] that is broadcast from the United States and accessible in Iran via satellite. After two days of trying to ascertain their whereabouts, their families were able to locate them in Evin prison and to visit them there. The authorities set the bail for each at 50 million tumans (approximately US$55,000). When the families went to the prosecutor’s office, they were informed that the prisoners could not be released because their names had not yet been entered in the computer system by their interrogator.
• On 31 January 2008, officers of the Hamadan police department (in civilian clothing) searched the homes of ten Bahá’í families (four in Hamadan and six in surrounding localities), under judicial orders. They confiscated Bahá’í books, pamphlets, and compact discs and arrested Mr. ‘Azíz Púrḥamzih [Aziz Pourhamzeh], from Hamadan; Mr. Kámrán Aqdasí [Kamran Aghdasi], from Hamadan; and Mr. Fatḥu’lláh Khutb Javán [Fathollah Khatbjavan], from Mirza Hesari. These three Bahá’ís remain in prison.
• On 31 January 2008, Mr. Fu’ád Ittiḥádu’l-Ḥaq [Foad Ettehadolhagh], who serves as a member of the small group that coordinates the affairs of the Shiraz Bahá’í community on an ad hoc basis, was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence at the highway police station on his return from Tehran to Shiraz, after a meeting with the “Friends in Iran”, the group that coordinates the work of the national Bahá’í community. The bus Mr. Ittiḥádu’l-Ḥaq had been travelling on was stopped at 08:00 by the Shiraz highway police, and he was asked for his identification card. When he gave them his driver’s licence he was told to get off the bus because the licence was forged. He was then taken to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz. An official told Mr. Ittiḥádu’l-Ḥaq that he had been under surveillance since the meeting in Tehran and that they wanted to know what had been discussed there. Mr. Ittiḥádu’l-Ḥaq was interrogated until 15:00 and required to explain in detail the contents of the various documents he was carrying from the meeting. All the documents were copied and the originals were returned to him when he was released following the interrogation.
• On 9 March 2008, Messrs. Túraj Amíní [Touraj Amini], Íraj Amíní [Iraj Amini], and Paymán ‘Amú’í [Payman Amoui] were arrested on the charge that they had been teaching the Faith at their place of work. Messrs. Íraj Amíní and Paymán ‘Amú’í were released following a court hearing the next day, having been required by the court to submit their birth certificates as surety. Mr. Túraj Amíní was released on Monday, 17 March 2008. It is not yet known what bail may have been stipulated for his release.
• On 17 March 2008, Mr. Mohammad-Ismá‘íl Furúzán [Mohammad Ismael Forouzan] from Abadeh, who had been arrested in May 2007, and whose appeal had been heard in November 2007, was called to the office of the Ministry of Intelligence and immediately detained upon his arrival. Officials informed him that his appeal had been denied and that his one-year imprisonment had begun on that same day. For the first two weeks he was not permitted to have visitors, but is now able to receive two visits weekly (separate days for male and female visitors). Mr. Furúzán is forty-two years of age, married, and has two children.
• The fifty Bahá’ís from Shiraz whose three-year prison sentences were suspended conditional upon their regular participation in classes conducted by the Islamic Propaganda Organization began these sessions on 3 March 2008. Separate classes are held for men and women and on different days. The three-hour long sessions, which consist mainly of recitation of Qur’ánic verses followed by discussion in a question and answer format, are held once every two weeks. To date, the Bahá’ís have avoided any discussions related to the Faith. In one of the classes, the instructor, who teaches both the men and the women, asked them specifically whether they had studied certain Bahá’í books, naming two well-known Persian works; they did not respond. The instructor also encouraged the Bahá’ís to read more and investigate the truth; in a seemingly friendly gesture, he expressed a desire to be invited to their homes.
• On 9 April 2008, Miss Hálih Rúḥí (Haleh Rouhi), Mr. Sásán Taqvá (Sasan Taqva), and Miss Rahá Thábit (Raha Sabet)—the three young Bahá’ís from Shiraz who had been incarcerated on 19 November 2007 on the wholly unjustified grounds that the social service activities in which they and fifty other Bahá’ís as well as a number of their Muslim friends had been engaged, were being used as a subterfuge to teach the Bahá’í Faith—were granted temporary release for five days, with permission to extend this release. It is understood from reports received from their families that the three Bahá’ís did remain free for the additional five days, at the end of which they returned to the detention centre of the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz, where they continue to be confined. Mr. Taqvá, who requires surgery for the painful injury he had sustained to his leg prior to his incarceration, was able to obtain some medical attention during this brief reprieve.
TO BE CONTINUED....