[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:] 16 Tir 1394 [7 July 2015]

 

HRANA News Agency - Farah Baghi’s Letter From Yazd Prison; Opposition of the Intelligence Service to the Conditional Release of a Baha’i Citizen

HRANA News Agency - Farah Baghi, a Baha’i citizen imprisoned in Yazd Prison since 21 Bahman last year [10 February 2015], has written a letter to the director general of the Yazd Province Intelligence Office following the opposition to her conditional release, and she has briefly recounted the oppression inflicted upon her and her family. The full text of this letter, which was given to HRANA, is as follows:

In the Name of God

Respected Director General of Yazd Province Intelligence Office

Greetings and respects,

As you are aware, I have been charged with “propaganda activities against the regime” and “activity against national security”. Some of the reasons for these allegations are that some officials state that the observance of the Baha’i life and keeping the Baha’i morals in dealing with friends and neighbours is regarded as propaganda for the Baha’i Faith, or they state that Baha’is should neither associate with friends and acquaintances, nor help the needy in the community, nor be diligent in improving the situation of the community, because these measures are considered to promote the Baha’i Faith. My other charge is taking care of Baha’i affairs, such as marriage, divorce, and burial procedure, taking care of the poor, the needy, the elderly, paying attention to the spiritual education of children and adolescents and the performance of religious rites and ceremonies.

According to the International Charter of Human Rights (to which Iran is also a signatory), every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom of expression or belief, and the practice of the rites and ceremonies of which the Baha’is in Iran are deprived.

Baha’is in the sacred land of Iran have also been subjected to many injustices and deprivation of citizenship rights, including the imprisonment of a number of Baha’is and the execution of some 250 of them; deprivation of university education; deprivation of employment in government offices, institutions and government centres; termination of the salaries of employees and retirees, and their dismissal from government jobs; and confiscation of properties (especially in Yazd). Every Baha’i citizen tries to be benevolent to his homeland and government. It should be noted that Baha’is do not interfere in politics but are determined to demand their rights through legal channels.

The examples of these injustices, including injustice to my family, are: confiscation of my father’s and father-in-law’s properties; expulsion of me and my husband from university (Cultural Revolution 1360 [1981]); and expulsion of my children and the children of my siblings, all of whom were accepted in medical and engineering fields [at the university] (seven students). In 1362 [1983/1984], my husband was in state of uncertainty for five years (in the same prison where I am now) and sentenced to death; then, he was sentenced to ten years of exile in the Jahrom Prison. After a year and a few months, Imam Khomeini pardoned the prisoners and my husband was released. A few years later, again, my husband was sentenced to one year in prison, and now my brother (Fariborz Baghi) and I are in this prison due to the same charges mentioned above.

As an Iranian citizen and a Baha’i, whose goal is nothing but to serve the community and who has always been subject to the policies and laws of the country, I consider it my duty to strive for my rights; therefore, I applied for conditional discharge, which is one of the rights of every prisoner, and I wrote a letter to the prison classification council requesting conditional discharge (dated 11 Khordad 1394 [1 June 2015]). After two weeks, they replied that the Intelligence Office had objected to my request for conditional release; this is while I have not admitted to any of the above-mentioned accusations (propaganda against the regime and activity against national security) and have not taken any action that would confirm these accusations; therefore, I want to know the reasons for the Intelligence Office’s opposition to my conditional release.

Respectfully, Farah Baghi