January 31, 2019
Iran has detained one of its Baha’i citizens and released another as part of a long-running crackdown on members of the religious minority in the Islamic republic.
Iran’s Human Rights Activist News Agency published a report saying intelligence agents detained Farzad Rouhani Manshadi, a Baha’i man living in the central city of Yazd, on Monday while he was taking his child to school. It said the agents also searched Manshadi’s home and seized some of his belongings. HRANA attributed the information to a source close to Manshadi’s family.
An Iranian Baha’i community member sent a message to VOA Persian on Monday confirming that Manshadi had been detained.
The same source also told VOA Persian that Neda Shabani, a female Baha’i resident of the northern city of Karaj, was released on bail Monday after authorities detained her in Karaj on Nov. 28.
The source said Shabani had been charged with disseminating propaganda against the state and disrupting national security. HRANA also reported that Shabani had been released on bail.
The Iranian Baha’i source provided a photo, verified by VOA Persian, of a smiling Shabani embracing her husband outside of a prison after her release.
Iran considers its Baha’is to be heretics with no religion. Rights groups say authorities routinely arrest members of Iran’s estimated 300,000-strong Baha’i minority for expressing or practicing their beliefs.
A Jan. 24 report by London-based rights group Amnesty International said Iran continued a “systematic persecution” of Baha’is last year. It cited the Baha’i International Community organization as saying Iran “arbitrarily” detained at least 95 Baha’is in 2018.
Iran has repeatedly charged detained Baha’is with national security-related offenses without disclosing evidence.