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1955 24 May The Bahá'í centre at Karaj, Iran, was taken over. [BW18p391] Karaj; Iran Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Haziratul-Quds
2010 Sep Following the reduction of his sentence, Vahid Tizfahm was transferred to Rajai-Shahr prison, where he remained until his release. Rajai-Shahr is located in the Alborz Province, and was at the time a maximum-security prison, a place for the "dangerous" individuals. According to Iran's Department of Prisons, Security and Corrections' Regulations, and based on the principle of Segregation of Crimes, Tizfahm's transfer to Rajai-Shahr was not legal. [Iran Press Watch 29 March, 2018] Karaj; Iran Yaran; Vahid Tizfahm; Rajai Shahr prison; Prisons; Persecution, Iran
2011 3 May After conviction, the two women of the Yaran were transferred from Evin Prison to the even more notorious Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj, near Tehran. In that prison, Fariba Kamalabadi, Mahvash Sabet, and a number of political prisoners were locked up in the communal ward with hundreds of ordinary female prisoners — inmates incarcerated for crimes not linked to politics. When authorities closed the women's ward of that prison, the prisoners were all transferred to Gharchak Prison in Varamin near Tehran, where the conditions were even worse than those at Rajaei Shahr Prison. [IranWire4985; BWNS821] Karaj; Varamin Varan; Mahvash Sabet; Fariba Kamalabadi; Rajai Shahr prison; BWNS
2017 19 Sep Mahvash Sabet, one of the seven members of the former leadership group of the Bahá'ís in Iran known as the Yaran, was released after 10 years of confinement in Iran's notorious Evin and Raja'i Shahr prisons.
  • She had been arrested in March 2008 and was now 64 years old. Mrs. Sabet distinguished herself by the loving care and kindness she extended to her fellow prisoners. As has occurred with prisoners of conscience, writers, thought-leaders, and poets who have been wrongly imprisoned throughout history, the power of Mrs. Sabet's ideas and beliefs was only amplified by her persecution. The plight of its author attracted attention to this deeply moving collection of poetry, inspiring PEN International to feature Mrs. Sabet in a campaign to defend persecuted writers. Her poems also inspired a musical composition by award-winning composer Lasse Thoresen, performed at an international music festival in Oslo earlier this year. [BWNS1198]
  • See Prison Poems. For this publication she was recognized by PEN International at its 2017 International Writer of Courage.
  • See CNN article Writing to survive: Bahá'í woman's poetry was her best friend in Iranian jail.
  • Karaj; Iran Yaran; Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Court cases; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Court cases; Human rights; Evin prison; Rajai Shahr prison; Prisons; Poetry; Lasse Thoresen; BWNS
    2018 23 Apr Afif Naeimi, the seventh and last imprisoned member of the Yaran, returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison (also known as Gohardasht Prison) near Tehran at the end of his medical leave despite suffering from life-threatening ailments.
  • On May 1 the judiciary's medical experts had ruled that the 57-year-old was too ill to be incarcerated.
  • Naeimi, who had completed his 10-year prison sentence, should have been released by that time but the judiciary extended his term by more than nine months—the period he was out of prison on furlough receiving medical treatment. He had hypertrophy, a condition where the heart muscle thickens and he was afflicted with Syncope disease, which causes temporary losses of consciousness. [Iran Press Watch 18975; Iran Press Watch 18975]
  • Karaj; Iran Yaran; Rajai Shahr prison; Prisons; Persecution, Iran
    2020. 18 Nov The United Nations General Assembly had passed a resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran and calling on Iran to honour the human rights of all its citizens, including members of the Bahá'í faith.

    The resolution asks Iran to "eliminate, in law and practice… all forms of discrimination on the basis of thought, conscience, religion or belief, including economic restrictions… [and] the denial of and restrictions on access to education, including for members of the Bahá'í faith." It also urges an end to "other human rights violations against persons belonging to recognized and unrecognized religious minorities."

    This deprivation of the freedom to practice their religion is a breach of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The United Nations covenant holds that every person has the right to freedom of religion, freedom of converting religion, as well as freedom of expression, individually or collectively; openly or secretly.

    Just four days after the UN resolution was passed there were raids on Bahá'í homes in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan and its suburbs, Mashhad and Kerman. [Iran Press Watch 22 November 2020; Iran Press Watch 23 November 2020]

    Tihran; Karaj; Isfahan; Mashhad: Kerman; Iran United Nations; Persecution, Iran; BWNS
    2021. 29 Jan Mr Turaj Amini began serving his sentence at the Central Prison in Karaj, Mehrshahr, located about an hour northwest of Tehran. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment and two years in exile on charges of "propaganda against the regime." He was taken to prison as the coronavirus outbreak was growing again in the city. Amini was not granted the right to take any of his personal belongings with him. Amini's wife suffers from acute multiple sclerosis and he was her carer.

    In July 2019 agents from the Ministry of Intelligence entered Mr. Amini's home and confiscated his books and computer. A year later, in August 2020, Mr. Amini was sentenced to a one-year term of imprisonment and two years of exile. That sentence was reduced to a six-month term of imprisonment at the Alborz Province Appeal Court.

    Mr Amini was denied access to higher education however he was been able to make a significant contribution in the field of Iranian history. Among his publications are:

    • Documents on Contemporary Iranian Zoroastrians
    • Documents on the Bahá'ís of Iran, a five-volume collection of governmental documents pertaining to the Bahá'ís of Iran
    • The Reciprocal Discourses of the Iranian Religious Minorities and the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911
    • Hidden Resurrection: An Exploration of the Babi and Bahá'í Faiths' Relationship with Iran's Intellectual Movements

    An open letter written on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) and signed by some 40 North American Islamic/Persian scholars was addressed to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, Head of the Judiciary calling on them to end such abuses, to promptly release Mr. Amini, and to return his computer and books so that he could resume his work and continue to make scholarly contributions that benefit all those who support and admire Iran and its peoples. [Telegraph posting 3 April 2021; Iran Press Watch; Iran Wire]

  • The Association for Iranian Studies also sent a letter on the 11th of February 2021 as did the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) on the 16th of March 2021.
  • Karaj; Iran Persecution, Iran; Touraj Amini
    2023. 5 Aug On July 31, 2022, the Ministry of Intelligence conducted a large-scale, systematic raid on the homes of numerous Bahá'í citizens. Saman Ostovar was arrested as part of this operation. He was released on bail after spending four and a half months in temporary detention. Subsequently, the Revolutionary Court of Karaj handed down a sentence of five years in prison, and a five-year deprivation of social rights after his prison term. He was also exiled from Alborz province for two years and prohibited from leaving Iran for 2 years. A two-year ban on engaging in any educational and cultural activities was also imposed. Since 2017 Ostavar and friends had been operating a private school, "Saman's School", their own educational initiative, outside the standard school system. The school was shut down and no consideration was given to the academic needs of its students.
  • He began serving his sentence on the 5th of August, 2023. [IranWire 5 September 2023]
  • Karaj; Iran Persecution, Iran

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