Baha’i Sentenced On Spurious Charge In Iran

An innocent Baha’i has been sentenced on a spurious charge in Iran.

Mr. Zabiu’llah Raufi, a Baha’i resident of Sanandaj, has been given the sentence of a year imprisonment and exile to the town Minab [near Bandar Abbas in south of Iran]. On August 19, 2009, he was summoned before the Revolutionary Court and arrested at the same time. He continues to be incarcerated. It should be noted that the actual date that the court convened is not known, nor was he provided legal representation, or was there formal legal proceedings. It was at this trial that his sentence was communicated to him. It should further be noted that in recent days, 18 friends and acquaintances of Mr. Raufi have been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence of Sanandaj and they have been forced to sign assurances that they would not associate with the family of Mr. Raufi.



Whereabouts Of Detained Baha’i Unknown

There is no further news about a Baha’i detained in Qa’emshahr, Iran in early July.

While at work, Sohrab Laqa’i, a Baha’i resident of Qa’emshahr, in the province of Mazandaran, was arrested in the afternoon of July 8 by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence who produced no warrant for his detention.  However, in all these days, Mr. Laqa’i has had only a very short conversation with one of his children, though no mention was made of his whereabouts or conditions under which he remains incarcerated. In response to many inquiries by his family from the local judiciary or security authorities regarding Mr. Laqa’i’s condition, whereabouts or charges against him, no specific or convincing answers have been given.  The vary fact that authorities remain evasive about this case has given considerable worries to the family.It should be mentioned that Mr. Laqa’i’s resident was raided and searched more than a month ago by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence, who confiscated his computer, CDs and books.


Yet Another Baha’i Detained In Iran

Yet another innocent Baha’i has been detained by ‘security forces’  near the town of Sari in the north of Iran.

In the afternoon of July 28, nine Intelligence agents raided the residence of Mrs. Vesal Yousefi, a 38-year old Baha’i faithful and resident of Mahforozak village in the vicinity of Sari, without presenting a warrant.  The agents began searching the residence in a rude manner.  After a few hours of searching and confiscating books and religious portraits, agents detained Mrs. Yousefi.  Even though Mrs. Yousefi’s brother demanded to see the warrant for her arrest, the agents in charge refused to present any warrant and they took her to an undisclosed location.
On Tuesday, August 4, the agents returned to Mrs. Yousefi’s residence and, by presenting a warrant, they attempted to detain Mrs. Yousefi’s 18-year old son, Payam, and since he was not present in the residence, her aunt promised that he would appear in Sari’s Intelligence Ministry on Wednesday. 


Baha’is In Yemen Still Detained

Sadly it is not just in Iran that Baha’is are being persecuted for their beliefs- three innocent Baha’is have been detained in Yemen for over a year now.

A source close to the community, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitive subject matter, said that he we was concerned about the possibility of the government accusing three of the Baha’is of proselytizing their religion in the country, which is against Yemeni law.

Human right activist and lawyer Khaled Al-Anesi, who represents the arrested Baha’i practitioners, said that the Yemeni security has not yet accused any of them of anything and that this renders their jailing illegal. It is forbidden in Yemeni law to hold prisoners without charges, though it is regularly practiced in the country regardless of this law. “The lawyers are not even allowed to meet with the four prisoners or study their files to know the accusations [against them],” said Al-Anesi.

Al-Anesi did not exclude of possibility of the detainees’ deportation without trial. “It is not the first time that the Yemeni government would deport or hand over people to other governments under the guise of military cooperation or the war on terrorism, and then these people can be subjected to maltreatment. Such procedure is against international law and human rights,” said Al-Anisi.

He also warned of the possibility of breaching international law by deporting detainees without going through the proper legal measures to guarantee their safety. “Yemen may face international disapproval, and there may be international punishments imposed if it [Yemen] keeps breaching international law,” he added.

The three Baha’is of Iranian origin, Zia’u’llah Pourahmari, Keyvan Qadari, and Behrooz Rohani, were arrested in Sana’a, on the night of June 20, 2008. A fourth Baha’i, Sayfi Ibrahim Sayfi, was also arrested around the same time and faces the possibility of deportation to Iraq.

According to the source close to the group, the men were arrested and taken to the national security headquarters’ prison where they spent 40 days – most of the time in isolated cells – before being sent to Sana’a General Investigation Department.