As Coronavirus Worsens, Iranian Regime Intensifies Pressure on Baha'is
March 16, 2020
(IranWire) On March 14, at least 26 Baha'i citizens in Shiraz were summoned to Branch 10 of the Shiraz Revolutionary Court, to answer charges, and are required to report to the Court within seven days of the summon. The Baha’is were also told that, in case of a fairly to attend, a decision will be made on their cases in accordance with the law. The case is related to the detention of these Baha’is in 2016 and 2017.
One Baha'i citizen told IranWire: “At this time, when the Iranian people are each, physically or economically, stricken by the coronavirus disease, and the government and the media are repeatedly urging the public to prevent the outbreak and to stay healthy by staying in their homes and not participating in gatherings, to summon more than twenty Baha'i citizens to the Shiraz Revolutionary Court is quite surprising. Interestingly, there has been a seven-day deadline for the summons notice, which includes three days of the Norooz holidays, and there will be virtually no court to report to."
Ten days before the Baha’is received their summons, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, first deputy head of Iran’s judiciary, issued a directive to all judicial and administrative units "to prevent and reduce the effects of coronavirus in the judiciary units of the country” and demanding that trials be postponed until April. Paragraph 7 [Persian link] of this directive states that "any unnecessary summoning or arresting of persons shall be avoided."
Seven of the summoned Baha’is are Yekta Fahandejsadi, Noushin Zenhari, Saeed Hassani, Amin Shirvani, Esmaeil Rousta, Behnam Azizpour and Nabil Tahzib, who were variously arrested on 17 July 2016 because of environmental activities. They were attempting to clean natural areas around Shiraz on weekends.
Soroush Ighani, Farzad Shadman and his wife Mojgan Gholampour, Marjan Gholampour, Farbad Shadman, Parisa Rouhizadegan, Shamim Akhlaqi and his wife Sahba Farahbakhsh, Sahba Mosleadi and his wife Ahdieh Enayati, Mahyar Sefidi, and his wife Shadi Aghdam, Vargha Kaviani, Maryam Eslami and Bahareh Noroozi are other Baha'is summoned to the Shiraz court. Their cases are related to the mass detention of Baha'i Baha'is on 27 June 2016 and 2 July 2016. This group of Baha'i detainees were subjected to severe physical and psychological pressures during their detention, with some continuing to receive treatment for one to two years after their release.
The names of other Bahais summoned, whose cases are related to the arrests in Shiraz three years ago, include: Samar Ashenaei, Rezvan Yazdani, Nasim Kashaninejad, and Lala Salehi who were all arrested on 22 November 2016.
Also in the past few days, in addition to the aforementioned 26 Baha'is, four other Baha'is, detained in Shiraz in 2016 and 2017, were summoned to the Shiraz Revolutionary Court for their final defense. Parham Sabet, arrested on Sunday 12 February 2017, Shahnaz Sabet (arrested 31 August), Niloufar Hakimi (arrested 5 October), and Farzan Masoumi (arrested 20 October) are among the Baha'i detainees in Shiraz this year, summoned to court on the final days of the year.
The original piece published in IranWire can be found here.