Iran’s persecuted Baha’i minority are suffering escalated attacks on their human rights. Since July 31, 2022, the authorities have raided dozens of Baha’i houses, detained at least 30 people, and subjected many more to interrogations, electronic ankle bracelets and threats of imprisonment in relation to their Baha’i faith. They have also ramped up confiscation and demolition of Baha’i properties.
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Head of judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei,
Prosecutor of Sari, Mohammad Karimi &
Prosecutor of Semnan, Mohammad Sharif Ebrahimi
c/o Embassy of Iran to the European Union, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt No. 15, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
Dear Mr. Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, Mr. Mohammad Karimi, and Mr. Mohammad Sharif Ebrahimi,
Iranian authorities are escalating their attacks on the human rights of Iran’s persecuted Baha’i minority. Since July 31, 2022, the authorities have raided and seized valuable belongings from dozens of Baha’i houses, arbitrarily detained at least 30 people, and subjected many more to interrogations, electronic ankle bracelets and threats of imprisonment solely due to their Baha’i faith. The Ministry of Intelligence announced on August 1, 2022, that those arrested were “core members of Baha’i espionage party” who “propagated Baha’i teachings” and “sought to infiltrate … the educational sector across the country, especially kindergartens.” According to the Baha’i International Community (BIC), at least 68 individuals are currently imprisoned on account of their faith including those in prison from as early as 2013. According to the UN, over 1000 Baha’i individuals are currently at risk of imprisonment, including 26 people in Shiraz who were sentenced to up to five years in prison in June 2022 after an unfair mass trial.
The authorities have also ramped up confiscation of Baha’i properties. On August 2, 2022, authorities bulldozed six Baha’i houses and confiscated over 20 hectares of land owned by 25 Baha’i individuals in Roshankouh village, Mazandaran province. As a result, at least 18 Baha’i farmers have been denied their source of livelihood. According to state media, the demolitions were carried out in the presence of several senior prosecution and executive officials. Three victims told Amnesty International that over 200 security officials, including plainclothes intelligence agents and riot police, sealed off the village and its access road from 6am to 4pm. Victims said security forces confiscated the mobile phones of villagers to prevent filming, and beat and/or pepper sprayed over 20 people, including several older men, who had peacefully gathered to protest the bulldozing. Security forces fired into the air to disperse crowds and detained two men for several hours after beating them severely. Since 2016, authorities have been attempting to appropriate Baha’i properties in Roshankouh under the false pretext that they have encroached on protected landscapes. In another case, an appeal court upheld a verdict on June 25, 2022, authorizing the confiscation of 18 Baha’i properties in Semnan province on grounds that the owners are leading figures of the “Baha’i sect” which “engages in illegal activities and espionage to the advantage of foreigners.”
I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release all the Baha’i individuals who were recently detained as well as those in prison from before who are targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of religion, and quash all convictions and sentences imposed on this basis. I further call on you to immediately stop the destruction and confiscation of Baha’i properties, provide effective redress to all those harmed, and ensure that Baha’i people in Roshankouh, Semnan and elsewhere have access to their properties without obstruction. I also call on you to end discrimination against the Baha’i minority in law and practice, including in access to employment, housing, and agricultural, industrial, trade and other activities necessary for the enjoyment of social, economic, and cultural rights.