[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:] HRANA - Human Rights Activists News Agency
[Date:] 17 Esfand 1395 [7 March 2017]
HRANA News Agency – The Court Hearing About the “Lands of the Roshan Kouh Baha’is” Was Held / Document
HRANA News Agency – The series of court hearings for the lands of Baha’i citizens living in Roshan Kouh in Mazandaran Province was held in Branch 1 of the Public Court of Kiasar City during the last two weeks of Bahman [February 2017], with a complaint from the Natural Resources Department. The Baha’i citizens are facing complaints from the Natural Resources Authority; they do not have access to sufficient evidence to defend themselves, and they also face unrealistic and high costs of litigation.
According to the HRANA, the news organ of the Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran, the trials regarding the lands of Roshan Kouh Baha’is were held on 19, 24, 26 and 27 Bahman 1395 [7, 12, 14, and 15 February 2017] in Branch 1 of the Public Court of Kiasar.
The complainant in this case is the Department of Natural Resources—headed by Mr. Mehdi Shokri Saravi—which has requested eradication and eviction from these lands. This office claims that the lands currently held by Baha’is used to be forest. A source close to the Baha’i families living in the village told HRANA, “In this case, one of the flaws in the petition is the value claimed for these lands, which is five or six times higher than their real value, and has been determined by the Natural Resources Department, as the claimant. For example, the value of a piece of land with an area of about one hundred square metres is set at 1,240,000,000 rials, in which case, the value of these lands in the remote village of Roshan Kouh is almost equal to the value of land in the best parts of Sari City, the centre of Mazandaran.”
According to this informed source, one of the problems that the high asking price creates for the villagers of Roshan Kouh is that if the case goes to the appeal stage, the cost of legal representation and cancellation of the stamp based on the existing tariffs for each case will be about 70,000,000 rials. Certainly, in such a situation, it will be very difficult for the villagers, who do not have much financial ability, to defend the case in the appeal stage.
The Baha’is of Roshan Kouh Village have objected to the price demanded in the preliminary court. According to Article 63 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the judge in the case must consult an expert to determine the true value of the land.
A source close to the Baha’i citizens of Roshan Kouh continued, “Another ambiguous point in this case is the lack of access to the aerial maps from the 1340s and 1350s [1960s and 1970s] for the farmers of Roshan Kouh Village.” The Department of Natural Resources has refused to provide the aerial maps and images of the disputed lands from the 1340s and 1350s [1960s and 1970s]. Other departments have also been instructed to refrain from providing the aerial photographs and maps of Roshan Kouh to Baha’is in the village.
The claim of the Baha’is of Roshan Kouh Village is that if the maps and aerial images are made available, they will make it clear that not only have they not violated any natural resources, but rather, over the past few decades, tens of thousands of metres of their agricultural land have been confiscated by the Department of Natural Resources.”
According to this report, assessment notice number 31/2/54-8752 indicates that Roshan Kouh Village is one of the exceptions to requirements about natural resources. However, the Department of Natural Resources avoids providing the prepared map, which is part of the appendix to the assessment notice.
The owners of these lands who have been summoned to court are: Morad Gholinejad, 2. Houman Gholizadeh, 3. Saed Gholizadeh, 4. Shahrokh Nabipour, 5. Anwar Moslemi, 6. Navid Derakhshan, 7. Mansour Rouhani, 8. Hojjatollah Naimi, 9. Mino Naderi, 10. Ehsanollah Rowhani, 11. Behzad Zabihi 12. Ghobad Hashemi, 13. Kiavash Hashemi, 14. Nader Derakhshan.
See below the image of the summons to appear in this court.