- New wave of attacks on Baha’is of Semnan
- Baha’is In Iran Await Justice For Demolished Homes, Graves
- Baha’i leaders under pressure in the new prison.
- 31 Eminent Indians Call on the Iranian Government for Immediate Release of the seven Baha’i leaders
Posted: 11 Sep 2010 04:04 PM PDT
HRANA News – Following provocative speeches against Baha’is which recently took place in some mosques in Semnan, a new wave of attacks and pressure against the Baha’is of Semnan has started.
As reported by HRANA reporters, on the morning of Friday the twelfth of Shahrivar [6 Sept] a number of hooligans attacked the home of a Baha’i named Yahya Hedayati, then ran away after breaking the windows in his home.
That same evening another group smashed the storefront sign of Akbar Pourhoseini’s store and broke the windows of Peyman Shadman’s car
As usual, security officers arrived and, after writing a report, stated that they could not take any steps to identify the perpetrators and arrest them.
For the special case of Semnan, please see: Semnan, Iran: The small city is a fertile breeding ground for anti-Baha'i activities.
Posted: 11 Sep 2010 03:38 PM PDT
(9 Sep 2010 – Radio Free Europe) Ferdosieh Nikoumanesh remembers a time when she and her family couldlive in peace as practicing Baha'is in the Iranian city of Ivel, where more than 50 Baha'i homes were demolished in June. Her childhood home, her grandparents' home, and her grandfather's store were among the many properties burned to the ground. Nikoumanesh and her husband now live in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
Nikoumanesh spent many of her childhood summers in Ivel, northeast of Tehran in Mazandaran Province, visiting her grandparents, who lived in the village until 1983.
She left Ivel when she was a little girl but still holds many memories of living alongside practicing
Muslims. Baha'is have resided in Ivel for more than 160 years and once made up more than half of the population — building schools, a hospital, and stores.
While her family's homes and shop were destroyed this summer, her memories remain alive.
"The best part of the summer was with my grandparents. The feelings I have toward the land [in Ivel] are because of how my grandparents took us there and showed us how to experience its generosity," she said.
She recalled raising livestock, picking flowers in the rich landscape, and having candlelit dinners over storytelling.
The current Iranian government made no apparent efforts to prevent the destruction of the Baha’i homes last June, nor has an investigation been launched into who orchestrated the demolition, despite efforts by the Baha'i community to seek justice.
On August 12, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued her strongest statement yet in support of the Baha'i community and in opposition to Iran's repression of religious minorities. "The United States is deeply concerned with the Iranian government's continued persecution of Baha'is and other religious minority communities in Iran,” Clinton said in a statement. “The United States is committed to defending religious freedom around the world, and we have not forgotten the Baha'i community in Iran.”
While the United States may have stepped up its criticism, the people of Ivel have yet to find justice for the loss of their homes.
"Two Baha'i men from Ivel — Faramarz Rohani and Mahmood Piri — sent letters and complained to the courts in Saari, Kia Sar, and Telma Dare. None of them gave the right response," said Nikoumanesh. "They even said since this order was from the higher courts, nothing could be done."
While the international community has spread awareness of the issue and many Muslims in the country oppose the destruction of Baha'i property, the government has done little to respond.
"Recently, there have been many attacks on Baha'i homes, cemeteries dug up, and sites of worship destroyed," said Shastri Purushotma, the human rights representative for the U.S. Baha'i community. "But how can 50 houses be demolished without some prior arrangement to do that level of demolition? We don't have documents showing the government was behind it, but all of these things need planning, heavy equipment, and government support.”
Nikoumanesh hopes to one day return to Ivel but knows the dangers she would face if she visited anytime soon. She and many members of the Iranian Baha'i diaspora continue to push for accountability in acts of vandalism toward Baha'is.
"My grandparents have passed, but we children still have faith in being able to return to Ivel and re-experience good moments of our childhood we had there," she says.
She then recited a poem written by Ali Ahmadi on the destruction of homes in Ivel:
"Oh, home, you
– Ladan Nekoomaram & Sarvazad Katouzian
Posted: 11 Sep 2010 03:11 PM PDT
Both Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran (http://hrdai.blogspot.com/2010/08/4-6.html) and Iran Press News (http://www.iranpressnews.com/source/081070.htm) are reporting on the arrival of the former Yaran at their new Raja'i Prison facility in the Gohardasht district [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gohardasht] of Karaj.
According to these reports, on Tuesday, August 10, 2010, four (4) of the Yaran were transferred to room 17 in Section 6 of this notorious prison. One of the four has been identified as Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli.
Based on these reports, in order to humiliate the Baha'is and put them under further psychological pressure, the Mafia-like gangs incarcerated in the same facility have began to refer to the Yaran as "infidels". They have also tried to pressure other prisoners to insult and belittle the newly-arrived Baha'is, but it appears that most other prisoners have so far refused to comply with this suggestion. In fact, it is reported that most other prisoners are showing considerable respect to the Baha'is and try to be hospitable.
Section 6 is infamous in human rights circles, and the fact that some of the Yaran have been transferred there is deeply worrying. Often this section is a scene of bloody fighting among prisoners, and it is considered extremely dangerous. It is where certain political prisoners are sent to vanish. In the most recent clash among the prisoners in this section, 40 prisoners were injured, 10 of them so badly that they had to be transferred to outside hospitals for treatment.
Since the sentencing of the 20 years of imprisonment for these 7 Baha’is, the Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran, many Governments of the world, United Nations, European Community, many international humanitarian organizations, religious leaders, well-known individuals and people around the world have strongly denounced the manifestly inhumane treatment of the seven Baha'i prisoners, the unjust sentence against them and condemned their banishment to Raja'i prison in Gohardasht (see Iran Press Watch for complete listings of the said announcements).
Posted: 11 Sep 2010 12:26 PM PDT
New Delhi, August 31, 2010 – Deeply distressed by the sentence of 20 years' imprisonment, for the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders, on patently false and unjustifiable charges, 31 prominent Indians have issued an open letter appealing to the Iranian government to release the seven immediately and to ensure a fair and open appeal process in accordance to international standards of jurisprudence.
Signatories include prominent leaders from religious communities as well as leaders in various fields of endeavour: judiciary, civil society organisations and academia. Justice Krishna Iyer, Mr. Fali Nariman, Mr. Soli Sorabjee, religious leaders – Archbishop Vincent Concesso, and Swami Agnivesh, as well as champions of human rights groups such as Miloon Kothari, Maja Daruwala, Suhas Chakma, and other civil society organizations, Rajesh Tandon, Ashok Khosla, George Verghese, Ajay Mehta, and the academia such as Prof. R. B. Singh, Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Prof. C. Raj Kumar, Prof. Tahir Mahmood, have jointly expressed, " India and Iran have had historic ties of language, poetry, architecture, music and religion. In the name of these ancient ties that bind our two nations, we call on the Government of Iran to act according to the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which it has ratified. These provisions mandate the upholding of the principles of justice and freedom-principles cherished by all great religions of the world and all nations."
Maja Daruwala, Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, on behalf of all the signatories sent the open letter to the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The letter says, "truth is that the only crime that these seven individuals – two women and five men, the oldest among them being 77 years old – have committed is that they are Baha’is. They are peace – loving and obedient to the law of their land and have worked for the betterment of Iranian society."
"In speaking up for these seven Bahá'í leaders we are therefore also standing up for the 300,000 Iranian Baha’is, who constitute that country's largest religious minority, whose lives have been blighted and whose progress has been crippled by the injustices that have so systematically and remorselessly been visited upon them."
UN agencies, governments, parliaments, NGOs and prominent individuals across the globe – including an increasing number of Iranians – have raised their voice against this unjust verdict and the systematic persecution of the Baha'is in Iran. United States, UK, Netherland, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the European Union have issued statements condemning this sentence. Amnesty International, Human Watch and the International Commission for Religious Freedom, amongst others have issues statements.
In this open letter, these concerned citizens of India have also called on the Indian government to use its good offices with Iran to see that these detainees are immediately released and they be given a fair hearing.
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Iran Press Watch: The Baha'i Community Part 1
Iran Press Watch: The Baha'i Community Part 1
Iran Press Watch: The Baha'i Community Part 1
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