[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:] Rooz Online
[Date:] 31 Khordad 1390 [21 June 2011]
Continued Arrests of Baha’is in Iran
Dissidents Are Under Double Pressure
[By:] Kaveh Ghoreishi
[Email:] [email protected]
In an interview with Rooz, Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, said, “The escalation of Baha’i detentions has created very difficult conditions for the followers of this religious minority in Iran.”
Human rights news sources related to the Baha’i community in Iran reported the arrest of at least four Baha’is in Isfahan and Mashhad on Sunday, 29 Khordad [19 June], including a 16-year-old teenager. This is the umpteenth detention of Baha’i citizens in the past month in different cities of the country.
Detention of a 16-Year-Old Baha’i
On Sunday 29 Khordad [19 June], three members of the Baha’i community in Iran, Katayoun Nik-Aien, Samin Imeni, and Jiena Enayati, were arrested by the security forces in Isfahan, and another citizen, Dorri Amri, was arrested by the security forces in Mashhad.
The Committee of Human Rights Reporters in Iran reported that three Muslim citizens were also arrested along with Baha’is in Isfahan, and the charges against them and their whereabouts are unknown. About the arrests, the human rights section of the Population for Combating Discrimination in Education stated in its report that the imprisoned Baha’i, named Samin Imeni, was only 16 years old.
The arrests are said to have been accompanied by violence from the security forces. In Mashhad, the security agents raided the house of Mrs. [Amri], and after searching her house, took away her computer, books, camera and other personal belongings.
Recently, the news source affiliated with the Baha’i community in Iran has reported the arrest of a Baha’i citizen living in Isfahan, by the name of Anisa Dehghani.
In an interview with Rooz about the arrests, Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations said, “In general, the pressure on dissidents has increased over the last two years. The Baha’is, like those who do not agree with the Iranian government, have come under double pressure during this time.” Ms. Ala’i recalls a confidential letter signed by Ayatollah Khamenei on the treatment of Baha’is in Iran, which she said was cited in a 1991 report by the [United Nations] special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.
The representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations said, “The letter sets out how the Baha’is are to be treated. According to that [letter], for instance, Baha’is have been deprived of education [at universities]. Currently, at least 15 Baha’is are in prison just for their desire to study and receive education. We think these encounters have taken place following the contents of the same letter.”
100 Baha’i Citizens Are in Prison
In one of the most prominent cases of pressure on Baha’i citizens by the Islamic Republic, in early Khordad [June] this year, the Baha’i International Community reported the arrest of at least 12 individuals associated with and responsible for the [open] Baha’i [Institute for Higher Education] (BIHE) in various Iranian cities where numerous homes and offices of [these people] were raided and searched.
Regarding the fate of those arrested, Diane Ala’i told Rooz, “Two of them have been released and the rest are still in prison; so far, they have not been able to visit their families. In fact, it can be said that no information is available about the other detainees.” She added, “Activities against national security, the formation of illegal groups, and insulting the sanctities of the regime, are common charges against the Baha’i citizens.”
According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, there are currently about 300,000 Baha’is living in Iran. According to human rights groups, at least 30 Baha’is are being held in Iranian prisons. But Baha’i activists, including the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, believe that about 100 Baha’is are currently in prison.
Baha’is are not recognized as a religious minority in the constitution of the Islamic Republic and have been subjected to various [kinds of] political, social, economic and cultural discrimination over the past 30 years. It is said that at least 200 of them have been executed since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution.
According to Article 13 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, only Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian religions are the official religions of the country, and the Baha’is are not among the official religions.
Regarding the legal status of Baha’is in the laws of the Islamic Republic, Diane Ala’i said, “Although the Constitution of the Islamic Republic does not mention the Baha’is and their rights, some clauses of the same law emphasize that all Iranians should have equal rights, especially equal citizenship rights. Unfortunately, this policy has not been true for the Baha’is.”