[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:] Radio Farda
[Date:] 21 Aban 1391 [11 November 2012]
“The Number of Baha’is Arrested Has Doubled in the Last Two Years”
By: Mahtab Vahidi Rad
Reports from Iran indicate that in recent weeks, security agents have detained more than 20 Baha’is in Gorgan, whose whereabouts and the reason for their detention are still unknown. In an interview with Simin Fahandej, a spokeswoman for the Baha’i International Community in Geneva, we first asked her about the date of the arrest and the latest situation of these individuals:
Simin Fahandej: Yes. Over the past month, we have witnessed widespread arrests of Baha’is in Gorgan. On 17 October, security forces raided the homes of 24 Baha’is in Gorgan and arrested them after confiscating their personal belongings, such as computers, books, and personal family albums, of which we have no further information.
What about the names of these individuals? Have the names of the arrested people been published?
Yes. Their names have been published, but no other information about their whereabouts and their condition has reached us. The names we have received include Farhad Fahandej, Soudabeh Mehdinejad, Farah Dehghan, Farahmand Sanaie, Farre Sanaie, Houshmand Dehghan, Kamal Kashani, Pouneh Sanaie, Shahram Jazani, Sholeh Samimi, Hana Aghighian, Sheida Ghoddousi, Parivash Fanaian, Navid Moallemi, Nazi Tahghighi, Behnam Hasani and Camelia Bidelian.
The Baha’i detainees that you mentioned: what specific activities did these individuals perform which led to their arrest? Do you know the activities of these people?
All Baha’is arrested in Iran are detained simply because they are Baha’is. They have done nothing but be Baha’is, and now we have about 120 Baha’is in prison―a record that is unprecedented, meaning that the number of Baha’is arrested has doubled in the last two years. Although they are accused of spying for Israel or membership in illegal groups, they are only imprisoned for being Baha’is. There have been mass arrests of Baha’is in the past. There has been one mass detention of Baha’is in Semnan over the past few months.
These people who are arrested in groups, how are they usually charged, and do they have access to a lawyer during their inspection process?
In many cases, these people do not even have a lawyer. There is no legal system to process their cases at all, and many times they are even arrested without a warrant. In some cases, they are released on very heavy bail, and in other cases, they receive sentences of four or five years, which requires them to remain in prison. These arrests are just a sign of the increasing repression of Baha’is and only one example of the repression that is taking place throughout the country.