[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
Date: 16 Tir 1391 [6 July 2012]
In the Name of God
Esteemed Head of the Court of Administrative Justice
Peace be upon you,
Respectfully, I (Payam Vali, from the Iranian Citizens of Religious Minorities) submit that approximately four years ago, as you are aware, notwithstanding that I had a three-year work permit and a ten-year permit from the trade union, as well as a diploma of technical skills from the Ministry of the Interior, my shop was sealed. The reason for this, I was told through the Public Places Supervision Office of Nazarabad, was that I did not have a permit from the Health Department.
As a result of [the foregoing], I decided to establish an eyeglasses shop under the name Towhid, in new premises in Nazarabad, through an optometrist named Mohsen Heyrani. Five months after this, Mr. Mohsen Heyrani was summoned by phone to the Public Places Supervision Office and was threatened that if he continued working with me (Payam Vali, Baha’i citizen), his university documents would be invalidated. [Because of] this illegal act [by the Public Places Supervision Office], he stopped working with me; as a result, the new shop was sealed.
In light of the foregoing, at the beginning of 1390 , I started working yet again with another optometrist, named Mrs. Negin Amir-Shekari, and attempted to establish another eyeglasses shop. After [we had gone] through several written petitions to the Health Department Network to obtain the opticians’ permit, after the passage of five months, the director of the [Eye?] Treatment Division at the Health Department Network finally told us that he was unable to respond positively to our petition, as the head of the Health Department Network did not approve our petitions and gave many excuses [for doing that]. This [inability to get a work permit] happened when Mrs. Amir-Shekari had [already been operating] her optometric clinic in Nazarabad for the last two years and had a work permit from the Medical Board. Consequently, owing to [not being able to get a work permit and] the action of the Health Department Network, they sealed my shop for the third time.
As you know from my previous plea for justice that was being investigated in the [court] and was referred to Branch 5 of the Court of Administrative Justice, even though no attention was paid to my legal documents, owing to a disagreement between the judges, the case was ultimately referred to the General Forum of the Court of Administrative Justice, whose decision you are aware of. In accordance with that aforementioned decision, I tried several times to obtain a permit from the Health Department Network through [other] optometrists, and also to apply for an extension to my work permit from the union; yet, unfortunately, as set out in written statements in the files of my lawyer, Mrs. Giti Pour-Fazel, , most of the government offices in the City of Nazarabad, such as the Health Department Network, have declined to carry out the decision of the General Forum of the Court of Administrative Justice.
For approximately four years now, I have been paying rent to the owner of the sealed shop, which has caused me significant economic loss. After the General Forum of the Court of Administrative Justice ignored my legal documents, such as my work permit and Opticians’ Diploma of Technical Skills from the Ministry of the Interior, I was compelled to lodge a complaint and plead for justice at the [Commission for the Implementation of] Article 90 of the Islamic Consultative Assembly. I received a letter from that respected commission, a copy of which is enclosed, indicating that at the present time, it was not possible to investigate my case in that commission, and I have been asked to refer my case once again to the judicial courts for investigation and follow-up. Accordingly, I prepared my plea for justice and lodged it at the public court of the City of Nazarabad. Finally, with the consent of the esteemed public prosecutor of the City of Nazarabad, I am here before this court for the second time within the last four years.
As you are well aware, during the previous years, I have been subjected to many baseless accusations and calumnies by some of the officials of the Intelligence Office of Karaj. My family and my father-in-law have also been the troubled recipients of the same accusations, and we were all imprisoned. My father-in-law was ridiculously accused of having economically helped his son-in-law to reopen the sealed shop in Nazarabad, and for this he was kept in prison for five months. Later on, in accordance with the fair decision of the Court of Appeals of the Province of Alborz, he was acquitted and freed.
Owing solely to our belief, my sister, brothers, and I were not permitted to continue our tertiary education at university. Two years ago, I was falsely accused of having acted against the security of the country by having gathered a group to overthrow the regime, and for this, I underwent psychological torture for three months at the detention centre of the Intelligence Office of Karaj. Finally, I was acquitted. Again, at the beginning of the year 1390 , I was investigated on account of my beliefs at the Information Office of the Department of Intelligence of Karaj, and warned that I had no right to communicate with my fellow Baha’i friends, and am not supposed to carry out my religious obligations. This matter went to the extent of threatening that my home would be raided by Intelligence officers if, together with my friends and Baha’i relatives, we gathered to worship the One True God and say prayers.
In answer to the threat of the Intelligence interrogator, I asked, “Is it a wrongdoing in a religious country [Iran] to worship God? Have you not read in the Quran the story of Moses and the shepherd regarding the way of worshipping God? If three or four Baha’i families, who are close friends and associate with each other, and in that relationship, they mention God, have they been committing an offence? Is this not considered as investigating one’s belief, and how is it in breach of Article 23 of the nation’s Constitution? Does not your own declaration that you will raid a meeting in which there is mention of Great God, go against the principle of worshipping the One True God? Is this not a transgression of the private rights of the citizens? Where does the holy Islam stand when it comes to accusation and calumny? What is the result of extending accusations and calumnies to [include] espionage, marriage with unlawful intimates, arranging groups to overthrow the regime and other [illegal actions], to which my family and I have been subjected for many years? Is it not unlawful and unethical, as I have already said that during these past four years, time and again we have been subjected to ridiculous and baseless accusations and I have been put under severe economic hardship and other pressures, and that, according to the laws of the country, as an Iranian citizen, all actions taken against me have been unlawful?”
In your view, what kind of negative influence can such unlawful actions wield on the thoughts of other citizens? In light of the matters mentioned above and the lengthy time frame for the investigation of my case, and given the statement of appeal that was lodged in Esfand 1390 [February 2012] and was handed to the respected [court] and after the lapse of about a year, on 16 Bahman 1391 [4 February 2013] was marked “for possible investigation”, I respectfully request you to issue the necessary orders to expedite the investigation of my claim for justice. In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention the views of the supreme leader about the position of the Baha’i citizens:
- Clause 2 of section (G) of letter number 1327, dated 6 Bahman 1369 [26 January 1991], from the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution to the esteemed head of the Office of the Supreme Leader concerning the legal and social rights of the Baha’is and the suggested proviso that they have access to the necessities of life and general rights accorded to other Iranian citizens, such as grocery [subsidy] booklets, passports, burial permits, work permits and others, was approved by the supreme leader within the mentioned letter.
- According to Circular number 11/4462, dated 12 Bahman 1367 [1 February 1989], from the Office of the Prime Minister, it is mentioned regarding the Baha’is that all citizens, regardless of their beliefs, and in light of the last section of Article 23 of the Constitution, are subject, as common citizens, to available provisions and facilities. Regarding their belief, a more moderate way is to be used and none of the officials and employers of the Islamic Republic of Iran are allowed to deprive anyone of their rightful social and legal rights whose charges of espionage [have not been proven] and their deprivation of social and legal rights have not been revoked by the relevant authorities (Judiciary).
- Regarding letter number 752, dated 18 Shahrivar 1357 [9 September 1957], from the Ministry of Intelligence, it has been directed to refrain from issuing work permits for food [services] (restaurants, coffee shops, confectionaries) for the above mentioned individuals, and for any other practices it is permissible to issue permits.
[Under the circumstances mentioned above], in order to speed up my case as set out in this letter, [a copy of this letter] has been sent to the relevant authorities.
With much appreciation
16 Khordad 1391 [5 June 2012]
File number at the Section 3 of the Court of Administrative Justice is 9008980900002800 and 903983.
- Honourable President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
- Respected Council of Guardians
- Expediency Discernment Council
- Respected Head of the Judiciary
- Respected National Prosecutor General
- Respected Head of the Islamic Consultative Assembly
- Commission for the Implementation of Article 90 of the Islamic Consultative Assembly
Respected National Commander of the Law Enforcement Forces
- Respected Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
- Respected Head of the National Investigation Organization
- Respected Head of the Court of Administrative Justice
[Handwritten note at the bottom of the page]
- Ministry of the Interior
- Governor General of Alborz Province
- Commander of Law Enforcement Forces of [Alborz] Province
- Head of the Department of Commerce of Alborz Province
- Head of the Justice Administration of Alborz Province
- Head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Alborz Province
- Representative of Nazarabad to the Islamic Consultative Assembly
- Public Prosecutor of Nazarabad
- Letter from the esteemed Commission for the Implementation of Article 90 of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of 17 Khordad 1390 [7 June 2011].
- Non-prosecution order in relation to accusations dated 17 Bahman 1389 [6 February 2011].
- Certificate of Criminal Record, 13 Khordad 1390 [3 June 2011] [illegible], dated 22 Khordad 1390 [12 June 2011].
- Approval Note of the Health Network [illegible].
- Follow-up letter from the optometrist requesting opticians’ work permit, dated 21 Farvardin 1390 [10 April 2011], under file number 4889, dated 9 Bahman 1389 [29 January 2011], addressed to the Health Department Network regarding the extension of work permit, dated 10 Ordibehesht 1390 [30 April 2011].
- The Notice of Sealing [the shop] dated 8 Ordibehesht 1390 [28 April 2011], whose reason has been stipulated as lack of work permit.
- Work permit for three years, and for 10 years.
- Opticians’ Certificates from the Ministry of the Interior
National code number (Payam Vali) [Illegible]
Telephone number: [Illegible]