[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:] 6 Farvardin 1393 [26 March 2014]

 

Letter From 46 Baha’i Citizens of Ivel to Judicial Authorities

HRANA News Agency – In recent years, the Baha’i citizens of Ivel, whose houses have been demolished and subsequently their property confiscated, in a letter to judicial authorities: “The Islamic Republic is an Alawite government, a government whose ruler, Imam Ali (PBUH), during his ruling is quoted as having said, ‘If I hear that an anklet is being snatched from a Jewish woman (the Jews who were always at war with Muslims), I will not sleep at night.’ According to another narration, when issuing a governorship decree for Malik al-Ashtar for Egypt, he said, ‘Malik goes to a place where his people are your religious brothers or are in creation like you, so treat everyone equally.’”

 

Enclosure Number 14: In the Name of God the Merciful

5 Esfand 1392 [24 February 2014]

The honourable general director of justice of Mazandaran Province, Hojatoleslam Taghavifard

We, the signatories of this petition, would like to inform you, with all due respect, while congratulating Your Honour on the occasion of your worthy appointment to the position of director general of the Justice Administration of the province, that we, the [former] residents of the Village of Ivel—from Chahardangeh District, the centre of which is the City of Kiasar—have lived in peace and tranquility with the rest of the residents of the mentioned village for a long time; [we] had houses, farmlands and gardens there, until the Islamic Revolution took place when a limited number of local, uninformed people, at the instigation of a few, began to attack and disturb us, because we believed in the Baha’i Faith. Their aggression and harassment reached its peak, so that we lost our financial and personal security; yet, because of our affection for our hometown, we left the affairs in the hands of God. In 1362 [1983/1984], we were displaced and forced to leave and reside in Sari and the nearby cities.

We continued to travel to our hometowns and visited many residents, since we were related to many of them, and used our homes, gardens, and farmlands throughout the year, and had a constant physical presence there. In the month of Tir of 1389 [June/July 2010], we learned that, at the instigation of the same few uninformed people, they had razed our residential homes, the haystacks warehouse, and the cattle barns to the ground, using bulldozers and other heavy mechanical equipment, and with a truck, carried, piled and dumped our household belongings with dust and ashes along the public road from Sari to Semnan, behind the village. In this way, all our buildings were completely demolished, leveled and excavated in a matter of days.

Since we are all law abiding citizens and subject to the law and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, due to the huge damage that was inflicted upon us unlawfully and contrary to the laws and customs, and our ancestors’ homes were destroyed, and such operations are not in accordance with the dignity of the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we like any other citizens of the Islamic Republic, have filed a lawsuit against the perpetrators of these serious crimes.

The necessary orders to address this issue were issued by the esteemed Judiciary Court of Kiasar City, and the officers of the Poshtkouh police station went to the place, recorded their observations regarding the destruction, arson, leveling and excavation, and especially the presence of furniture and belongings along the public road, and made an official report, which is in the case file. During the investigation of this incident by the judicial authority, a number of residents of the villages near Ivel, the elders and the members of the Islamic Council, testified to the existence of our homes, ancestral agricultural lands and the historical background of our residence in Ivel.

On the other hand, the letters signed by a number of perpetrators of the above crimes to the high authorities to obtain permission for violent acts and their hatred towards us due to having a different religion from their religion, are attached to the file.

The accused and the perpetrators of this incident have confirmed the contents of these letters in the investigation reports of the Poshtkouh police station and especially in the interrogation sheets of the Sari Security Police headquarters.

Against this background, and with the certainty of the crime committed by the defendants, unfortunately, the Preliminary Court has ruled against the existing evidence in the case file, about which we protested, and the case was sent to Branch 8 of the Court after being sent to the Court of Appeals and registered under number 900732. The esteemed court of Branch 8 took the necessary measures to investigate the incident and find out the truth. The investigation of this case had progressed to the point of proving the veracity of our claims and proving the guilt of the accused. A final decision had not yet been reached, and we were hopefully awaiting justice when we received information that, in letter No. 175/49 dated 21 Dey 1392 [11 January 2014], the head of the Article 49 Constitutional Court of the Revolutionary Court of Sari had requested that the case be dropped; unfortunately, Hojatoleslam Talebi, the esteemed head at the time, explicitly issued the order for the suspension of the investigation of the said case.

The Esteemed Director General,

It is true that we are followers of the Baha’i Faith, but we all have the citizenship of the sacred land of Iran and the regime of the Islamic Republic. According to the legal guidelines of the regime, we have rights equal to those of other Iranian citizens [and should be able to] enjoy the legal benefits. According to Article 22 of the Constitution, our “dignity, life, property, rights, residence, and occupation” are inviolable. According to Article 159, “The courts of justice are the official bodies to which all grievances and complaints are to be referred.” We, who are citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran, like any other Iranian citizens, went to the public authority [to file] complaints, namely to the judiciary, asking for investigation into the blatant persecutions that had befallen us. According to Article 3 of the Islamic Penal Code, Iran’s criminal laws shall apply to all persons who commit a crime within the territorial, [maritime and aerial jurisdiction] of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to Article 6 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: “Pursuit of a criminal act and performing a punishment which has already been started cannot be suspended unless in the following cases:

One – Death of the accused or charged person in cases of individual punishment.

Two – Forgiveness by the personal plaintiff or complainant in forgivable crimes.

Three – Those given amnesty.

Four – Abolishment of the legal punishment.

Five – Validity of the closed case.

Six – Time lapse in deterrent penalties.”

In addition to the above-mentioned legal provisions that need to be observed, the provisions of Letter Number 175/49, dated 21 Dey 1392 [11 January 2014] of the Article 49 of Constitutional Court of the Revolutionary Court, indicate that the custody of the property of the Baha’i sect of Ivel has been entrusted since 18 Aban 1391 [8 November 2012] to the Execution of Imam Khomaini's Order [EIKO].

The letter does not even mention the issuance of the order for these properties, while the announced crimes were related to the month of Tir 1389 [July/August 2010], i.e. two years before the property came under surveillance. The fact that our properties were under surveillance did not mean that we were deprived of our property rights; so that this year (Autumn 1392 [September-December 2013]), as in previous years, we cultivated our fields with the court order of the esteemed head of Kiasar Court, under the supervision of the Poshtkouh police station. We are waiting for the weather to be favourable so that we can fertilize and harvest our land. Finally, according to the stipulated laws, even if such a sentence is issued, it cannot be implemented retroactively.

Honourable Head of the Judiciary, the criminal acts that are against the Islamic regulations have been committed by a few uninformed individuals. This occurs while various legal frameworks, from the Constitution and ordinary laws, to the existing fatwas[1] and traditions, specify that we have citizenship rights. The Charter of Citizenship Rights of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran also confirms it.

In the same case, a fatwa was issued by the founder of the Islamic Republic, stating that our lives and property are as safe as those of Muslims, because we are Iranian citizens. “The Islamic Republic is an Alawite government, a government whose ruler, Imam Ali (PBUH), is quoted in his ruling, ‘If I hear that an anklet is being snatched from a Jewish woman (the Jews who were always at war with Muslims), I will not sleep at night.’ According to another narration, when issuing a governorship decree for Malik al-Ashtar for Egypt, he said, ‘Malik goes to a place where his people are your religious brothers or are in creation like you, so treat everyone equally.’”

Given the legal status and the facts reflected in the case, our minimum expectation from that esteemed authority is that an appropriate order be issued to remove the ban on the case and continue the judicial investigation, in order to reach the conclusion and the realization of our rights.

In this regard, we entrust Your Honour to the Almighty and to justice.

 

Copy: Honourable president of the Court of Article 49 to make an appropriate legal decision.

Distinguished Judges of the Court of Appeal, Branch 8

The following individuals, who are all Baha’is from Ivel, have signed the letter:

1- Ataollah Movaffaghi, 80 years old

2- Asadollah Naimi, 72 years old

3- Ghamar Movaffaghi, 67 years old

4- Seyyed Mehraneh Hoseini, 58 years old

5- Yousef Ali Ahmadi, 87 years old

6- Aziz Movaffaghi Iveli, 81 years old

7- Fakhrieh Aalishah, 69 years old

8- Kheirolnesa Binaie, 73 Years old

9- Farajollah Naeimi Iveli, 51 years old

10- Saadat Rowhani, 48 years old

11- Rahman Rowhani, 51 years old

12- Hormat Sadeghi, 51 years old

13- Ali Piri, 58 Years old

14- Faramarz Rowhani, 64 years old

15- Abdolbaghi Rowhani, 88 years old

16- Morteza Movaffaghi, 55 years old

17- Hosein Sadeghi, 55 years old

18- Zatollah Darabi, 52 years old

19- Rowshan Movaffaghi, 53 years old

20- Changiz Jazbani, 67 years old

21- Kamal Akbari, 46 years old

22- Ali Ahmadi, 56 years old

23-Ali Jazbani, 56 years old

24-Rouhollah Rowhani 67 years old

25- Hojjat[ollah] Kheradmand, 73 years old

26- Hosein Ahmadi, 56 years old

27- Akbar Movaffaghi, 56 years old

28- Seyyed Mohammad Derakhshan, 69 years old

29- Nejatollah Laghaie, 66 years old

30- Samariyyeh Akbari, 80 years old

31- Seyyed Badi Sadeghi, 75 years old

32- Daryoush Movaffaghi, 47 years old

33- Golverdi Movaffaghi, 56 years old

34- Kourosh Ahmadi, 42 Years old

35- Jamal Movaffaghi, 61 years old

36- Fakhreddin Akbari, 53 years old

37- Rouhol-Amin Aali, 63 years old

38- Afshin Movaffaghi, 35 years old

39- Shahroukh Movaffaghi, 37 years old

40- Atrollah Movaffaghi, 61 years old

41- Natali Derakhshan, 45 years old

42- Hosein Sabetian, 57 years old

43- Baharollah Sabetian, 57 years old

44- Fereidoun Rowhani, 58 years old

45- Seyyed Akbar Hoseini, 54 years old

46- Mohammad Movaffaghi, 46 years old

 

[1] [Fatwa:  A legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader]