[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Iran Wire

[Date:] 14 Shahrivar 1393 [5 September 2014]

 

Execution of Baha’is of Hamadan, A Letter to Mohammad Javad Larijani

[By:] Aida Ghajar

Roya, the daughter of Sohrab Habibi, a member of the Hamadan Assembly who died under torture in Khordad 1360 [June 1981] in the city prison along with six other members, wrote a letter to Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of human rights in the Judiciary, describing the event in which her father was killed, and has protested against the banning of Baha’i students from studying at the university.

Referring to Larijani’s remarks that “The Islamic Republic does not mistreat citizens because they are Baha’is”, she said, “What you said is only for the book of law”. The full text of this letter, which has been provided to Iran Wire, is published for the first time:

 

Mr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the Human Rights in the Judiciary

With greetings, I apologize for beginning my letter with the main point and without including a preamble.

Recently, you mentioned a few issues regarding citizenship rights, such as this: “The authorities have never mistreated the followers of this religion, just because they are Baha’is, because according to the Constitution, they [the authorities] believe that every Iranian citizen has rights, and no one can deny them the rights stipulated in the Constitution.”

Unfortunately, what you have said is only what is [written] in the book of law. In practice, not one tenth of these rights has been observed, and it will not be. I just mention this, since, the right [to freedom from] inquisition, the right to life, freedom of expression, the right to security, [etc.,]  are among the basic and essential rights that you have denied my family and my father.

I do not know whether you remember the year 1360 [1981]. In that year, my father and several of his friends who were representatives of the Baha’i community in Hamadan were arrested and imprisoned for being Baha’is and managing the Baha’i affairs. After the repeated interrogations, the judge (Mr. Alami) stated, at the last court hearing, that he had been investigating their cases and that they were innocent, and they would be released in the next few days.

At that time, we were all happy with the justice and fairness of the judge and the head of the courts, but not only was there no freedom, but also after performing several mock executions, [finally] on 23 Khordad 1360 [13 June 1981] all seven were brutally tortured to death.

Mr. Larijani, although the original evidence of their dismembered bodies has vanished, and although the judge of the court, Mr. Alami, who announced the innocence of these seven individuals, is not alive, and although they destroyed other court documents, as a living eye witness, I watched the heartbreaking scenes. My eyes saw my father’s burned back and his body that was stabbed with a dagger. My eyes saw my uncle’s broken fingers and his [dislocated] elbow. My ears heard the voices of people who said that Dr. Vafaie’s legs had been shredded, that Mr. Khozein’s chest had been pressed [by a hot iron]. I still hear people moaning that these seven people were butchered. Did you know that they tore the abdomen of one of these seven people and spilled its intestines? This was part of the citizenship rights granted to these seven people!

But the story does not end here. Did you know that the bodies of these seven Baha’is were dumped on the sidewalk in front of Imam Khomeini Hospital in Hamadan, instead of being placed in the morgue, in order to be insulted and disrespected by the people? This is another right that you mentioned. Again, did you know that a few months after the burial of these seven people, the Baha’i cemetery was confiscated and then destroyed, and the gravestones were sold and all the bodies at the cemetery were removed and destroyed?

In your opinion, what crime did this cemetery and its silent inhabitants commit that they should be disrespected and punished in this way?

In parts of your speech you said, “If someone claims that he/she has been deprived of education simply because he/she was a Baha’i, he/she can submit his/her documents to the Human Rights Council for follow-up.” After graduating from high school, I registered for the national university entrance exam for a few years, and because there was a question about religion and I had written Baha’i, they did not allow me to enter the exam. When I followed up, I was verbally told that I could not take the national university entrance exam because I am a Baha’i. Unfortunately, the rest of the documents were confiscated along with other books during the several raids on our house in 1377 [1988/1989], 1384 [2005/2006] and 1390 [2011/2012]. It is obvious therefore, that you can ask confidently for “the claimants of the deprivation of education for the sole reason of being a Baha’i” to provide their documents since you are absolutely sure that all the documents have been destroyed and not even a piece of [evidence] is available. You made a really clever and calculated speech.

Mr. Larijani, although there are no paper documents available, I, and a few hundred other Baha’is, exist as living documents in Iran, which have been deprived of university education since the beginning of this revolution.

Now, considering the presentation of the “living evidence”, I request that high-ranking official, according to your speech, “to submit documents to the Human Rights Council for the follow-up”, to follow up immediately and to respond by restoring the violated rights of myself and my family, which include the termination of my father salary since 1359 [1980/1981], his execution based on the fact that the court ruled he was innocent, and deprivation of my education rights.”

With gratitude, Roya Habibi