[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:] Human Rights Activists News Agency - HRANA
[Date:] 3 Esfand 1395 [21 February 2017]
Inconsistent Statements by the Public Prosecutor of the Centre of Mazandaran Regarding the Sealing of the Baha’i Shops
HRANA News Agency – Despite the fact that more than three months have passed since the widespread sealing of the business premises of the Baha’i citizens in Mazandaran Province, the provincial public prosecutor, who is one of the most important decision-makers in this matter, by expressing contradictory statements and positions, and while continuing to ignore the difficult conditions of these oppressed citizens, has confused the Baha’i citizens of the province in the pursuit of their demand for the reopening of their places of business.
According to the HRANA News Agency, the news organ of the Human Rights Activists in Iran, over 100 days have passed since the widespread sealing of 94 Baha’i commercial units in Mazandaran Province. During this period, the public prosecutor of Mazandaran Province, Asadollah Jafari, has made contradictory statements regarding his role in sealing the Baha’i business premises.
First point - According to several Baha’i shopkeepers in Mazandaran whose commercial units have been sealed, in the first days after the businesses were sealed, Public Prosecutor Jafari responded by saying, “I have signed the order to seal the Baha’i businesses myself, and the Public Places Supervision Officers are only the judicial officers.” He stated that the Baha’is intended to [spread] propaganda against the regime by closing down their commercial units during the Baha’i holy days. For this reason, they avoided dealing with the issue of the sealing of Baha’i commercial units.
At the same time, in the Prosecutor’s Office of one of the cities of Mazandaran, the signed order of Prosecutor Jafari to the prosecutors of other cities of the province was observed. The decree stated that if Baha’i citizens closed their shops on 11 and 12 Aban [1 and 2 November], [those prosecutors were to] take action for the sealing of their commercial units. In another letter to the Security Directorate of the Office of the Governor General of Mazandaran Province, they stated that the Baha’is were receiving orders from Israel and intended to disrupt the security of the province. For this reason, they have asked if they could close their shops during their religious holidays on 11 and 12 Aban [1 and 2 November]. [Therefore, the directorate was to] take action to seal their commercial units.
Second point - It has been over two months since the prosecutor of the centre of Mazandaran, Asadollah Jafari, took a completely different position regarding the sealing of the Baha’i commercial units in this province. Addressing several Baha’i clients, whose businesses have been sealed, he said, “I [swear and] put my hand on the Quran, that I have had no role in sealing the Baha’i shops in Mazandaran Province and have not signed the decree to seal their commercial units. I have not given an order to the officers of the Public Places Supervision Office to seal your shops! If officers of the Public Places Supervision Office have committed criminal violations, you can complain to them and be sure that they will be investigated.” However, he still refuses to address the issue of the sealing of Baha’i commercial units.
According to Article 32 of the Criminal Code, the presidency and supervision of judicial officers is with the public prosecutor. Also, according to Addendum 1 of Article 28 of the Law of the Trade Union, the business units must be sealed with the notification of the unions, and the administrator of the Public Places Supervision Office is the executive officer of the union. Meanwhile, all the relevant unions have stated that they are unaware of the reason for the sealing of the Baha’i trade unions in Mazandaran or that they have not played any role in these closures.
On 24 Azar 1395 [14 December 2016], despite the order of Hojatoleslam Taghavifard, the director general of the justice administration of the Province of Mazandaran, Prosecutor Jafari refused to pursue the grievances referred to him.
The text with the initials of the General Directorate of Justice of Mazandaran Province is as follows:
Dear Mr. Jafari, according to the background, [please] review and announce the result. General Directorate – Taghavifard.
It should be noted that in Esfand 1390 [February/March 2012], the European Union sanctioned Public Prosecutor Asadollah Jafari for human rights violations, including [those of] the Baha’i citizens of Mazandaran.