[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]

 

[Newspaper:] Kayhan

[Date:] 22 Khordad 1335 [12 June 1956]

[Issue No.:] 3896

 

Today, Trial of 44 Residents of Sakhvid Village in Yazd Who Are Accused of Murdering Seven Residents of Hormozak Village Over Religious Disputes Began In the Supreme Criminal Court of Tehran

This fight took place eleven months ago, because a Baha’i woman from the Village of Hormozak went to a public bathhouse that was in the Village of Sakhvid. These two villages are located one kilometre apart and there have often been religious disputes between the residents.

One of the defendants is a woman, who says that she lost six of her relatives in this incident. The residents of the Village of Hormozak, which consists of a total of eleven families, are Baha’is. The dispute erupted last year when the conflict between the inhabitants of the two villages had reached its highest level.

Today, an important trial took place in Branch 1 of the High Criminal Court of Tehran. The number of defendants in this trial is 44, of whom 43 are old men and young people of the Village of Sakhvid and Khosrow Farm in Yazd, and one is a woman. According to the indictment of the public prosecutor, all of them are considered Muslims and followers of the Jafari sect. They are accused of killing seven residents of Hormozak Village, which is one kilometer away from Khosrow Farm. All the victims were apparently Baha’is and there was a Baha’i woman amongst them.

As mentioned in the indictment, the cause of the dispute and the occurrence of the murder was the disputes between the residents of Khosrow Farm and the Baha’is of Hormozak Village, which had intensified from time to time. This incident happened about eleven months ago, on the evening of Thursday, 5 Mordad of last year [1334] [28 July 1955]. At that time, the propaganda and struggle against the Baha’i sect was continuing, and even in the first line of the indictment, about the cause of this incident, these words were seen: “After the propaganda and struggle against the Baha’is began ...”

It should be noted that in the Village of Hormozak, which has about 15 families, said to be Baha’is, there was no [public] bathhouse, so the villagers would often go to Khosrow Farm to bathe. After the intensification of the propaganda against the Baha’is, people of Khosrow Farm complained to the government that, “Because we pray and the entrance of the people of Hormozk Village, who are Baha’is, into our bathroom is contrary to purity and cleanliness, so we must prevent the villagers from Hormozak from entering the bathroom.” But since there was no other bathroom in that area, there was no other way than to keep [the matter] quiet.

Last year, in the month of Tir [1334] [July 1955], a girl, who was apparently a Baha’i and was called the bride of Jafar, who is also a Baha’i, went to Khosrow Farm to use the public bathhouse. Those who were in the bath prevented her and told her that, if she entered the bath, it would become najis [impure] and in this way, the scope of the conflict escalated from there. Since Baha’is were insisting, the Muslim inhabitants of Sakhvid and Khosrow Farm became angry. They went en masse to Hormozak Village to punish the locals, and their arguments led to the fight, as a result of which seven people were killed.

As soon as the law enforcement officials were informed, the incident was reported to the Isfahan Division, and as a result, a large number of soldiers, tanks and armoured vehicles were sent to the City of Yazd and the said villages. This force managed to extinguish the riot and arrest many people. Several of the accused escaped and the rest of them, 44 people―and as has been said, one of them was a woman―were arrested. Of course, among these people were some of the villagers who may not have been involved in this incident at all, and their situation will be clarified after a court hearing. It should be noted that the residents of Hormozak Village, who were said to be Baha’is, often had minor demonstrations and would organize meetings.

This case was transferred to Kerman Criminal Court after the interrogations and the preliminary investigation were completed, and an indictment was issued from the City of Yazd. But later, due to local requirements, with the permission of the Supreme Court, the case came to Branch 1 of the Tehran Criminal Court. At 10:00 this morning, the first hearing of the trial was held in the presence of Mr. Nematollahi. The judges of the Branch were Mr. Tabibi, Mr. Forough, Mr. Kiai and Mr. Khodaverdian, who was the representative of the provincial prosecutor.

The defence attorneys for the accused were the following eleven people: Mr. Adib Razavi, Khodadad Saber, Zolmajd Tabatabai, Ahmad Tabatabai Qomi, Jalali Naeini, Jafar Azmayesh, Jalil Okhovat, Haj Seyyed Mehdi Razavi, Faghihi Shirazi, Dr. Asayesh and Abtahi, all of whom have agreed to defend the defendants according to their petition and without receiving any attorney’s fee.

The petition of the private plaintiff was submitted to the court by Mr. Ghaem-Maghami on behalf of the survivors of the victims. In addition to him, several other people were representing the private plaintiff. A large number of spectators attended today’s court hearing, and the presence of Khavar, who is one of the defendants, attracted attention. Khavar was brought to the court an hour earlier than the other defendants from the women’s prison. She was constantly crying and saying, “I have lost six members of my family in this incident, including Abdolrazzagh, my father, Gholamali, my brother and Fereydoun, my uncle, Hedayat and Amanullah, my cousins, and the wife of my uncle, Roghayeh and they have accused me, and they have arrested me in the murder of my brother and father.”

Currently, Hasan Amiri, the father, Mohammad-Ali Amiri, the son and Esmail Mozaffari, one of other relatives of Khavar, are imprisoned along with her. She is a Muslim woman, but it is said that her brothers and her other relatives who were killed were Baha’is, which will be clarified during the trial.