Five Iranian Baha’is Arrested in Isfahan Without Warrant on Unknown Charges
Five Baha’is were arrested at their homes in the city of Isfahan on March 28, 2017, Simin Fahandej, the faith’s spokesperson at the United Nations in Geneva confirmed to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
The agents, who did not identify themselves or show a warrant, searched the homes of Ehsan Eshtiagh, Enayat Naimi, Farzad Homayouni, Soroush Pezeshki and Sohrab Taghipour and took away some of their personal belongings before detaining them, said Fahandej.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know which authority arrested them or why,” she added. “All we know is that if there were warrants, they did not show them at the time of the arrests.”
An informed source told CHRI that the five were taken to Isfahan Prison, but no information is available on their current condition.
Iranian officials deny prosecuting Baha’is for their religious beliefs, but the Baha’i community is one of the most severely persecuted religious minorities in Iran.
The faith is not recognized in the Islamic Republic’s Constitution and its members face harsh discrimination in all walks of life as well as prosecution for the public display of their faith.
Despite a pledge by President Hassan Rouhani in 2013 to protect the rights of religious minorities during his term, dozens of Baha’is have since been arrested, their businesses sealed, and they have been denied higher education.
Between December 2016 and January 2017, at least 15 Baha’i students were expelled from universities and colleges in various Iranian cities.
“The sealing of so many businesses demonstrates the emptiness of assurances by the Iranian government that the Baha’i community is not discriminated against,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the New York-based Baha’i International Community, on November 7, 2016.
“We call upon the international community to denounce these unjust actions and exhort the Iranian government to take immediate, visible, and substantive measures to reverse the situation,” he added.
In October 2012, twelve Baha’is wrote a letter to the judiciary detailing their torture by interrogators at Amir Abad Prison and its detention centers in Iran’s Golestan Province.