The Baha’is of Semnan - A Case Study in Religious Hatred
Timeline of Events
Here is a timeline of some of the major incidents related to the persecution of Baha’is in Semnan since 2005.
One day after the commemoration of a Baha'i holy day, a number of business owners in Semnan - as well as Aligoudarz, Isfahan, and Mashhad - were summoned to the Public Places Supervision Office. Officials objected to the closure of their business on the holy day, asserting that doing so constituted propagating the Faith. A number of businesses were shut down in Semnan as a result of this action.
The mother of a 1½ month old baby summoned to begin her sentence.
A Baha'i-owned aluminium doors and windows manufacturing business sealed. Its owner is in prison.
Two Baha’i-owned factories shut down by authorities.
Two young Baha’i women being kept in a section of Semnan prison with 38 other prisoners, the majority of whom are drug addicts.
A Baha’i man is sentenced to six and a half years in prison plus an earlier six months added to the new sentence. Another is sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
A Baha’i man is summoned to begin serving a term of six years in prison.
Efforts undertaken by a Baha’i woman for her husband to be granted medical leave from prison are unsuccessful. The wife herself has been sentenced to four years and four months in prison. The couple have a seven-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. If both parents are forced to serve their sentences concurrently, there will be no one to care for their children.
Two Baha’is tried.
Business of one Baha’i sealed.
One Baha’i sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
One Baha’i detained one day, released with 15 day ban on leaving city.
One Baha’i interrogated.
Two Baha’is released, one re-arrested.
One Baha’i sentenced to a one year imprisonment and deprived of business license for five years.
Two Baha’is interrogated.
One Baha’i sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Businesses of at least 12 Baha’is shut down.
One Baha’i sentenced to a one year imprisonment.
One Baha’i completed sentence.
Four Baha’is imprisoned away from home at Evin prison in Tehran.
Two Baha’is sentenced respectively to a one year imprisonment and three years’ exile from Semnan and six years imprisonment.
Sentences upheld for two Baha’is.
Three Baha’is interrogated.
Three Baha’i students expelled from Semnan University.
Baha’i burial service raided; mob shouted insults and threats.
Mob gather in front of Semnan city hall and the provisional governor’s office shouting “Death to Baha’i.”
Large section of Baha’i cemetery destroyed. Attackers also blocked door to cemetery building with soil.
Baha’i -owned store set on fire by arsonists.
Baha’i family faced difficulty burying their deceased family member.
A Baha’i’s house was attacked.
Three Baha’is arrested.
One Baha’i sentenced to two and half years’ imprisonment
Two Baha’is’ cars vandalized.
One Baha’i’s car and shop defaced with anti-Baha’i graffiti. Stones later thrown at his shop and a dead cat hung on his door. Same shop also set on fire by attackers on motorbikes.
One Baha’i arrested.
A business license of one Baha’i revoked without explanation. When officials were asked about the revocation, they said the order came from “higher authorities.”
One shop raided.
University student in economic studies expelled from Semnan university in her first semester.
Anti-Baha’i graffiti sprayed on walls and doors of apartments belonging to at least nine Baha’is in Semnan.
One store sealed.
Apartment building that houses several Baha’i families attacked by arsonists. Same building struck again three weeks later.
Two Baha’i homes attacked by arsonists.
Baha’i cemetery invaded. Fifty gravestones demolished, mortuary set on fire.
Twenty Baha’i-owned homes raided; one Baha’i charged with being a member of the illegal Baha’i administrative agency.
Anti-Baha’i seminar held at which attendees were told that the “Bahaist sect” detests Islam and its holy days, ridicules them and uses them as propaganda against humanity.
Friday prayer leader announced “Bahaism” is a product of Zionism, created to combat Islam.
Two Baha’is’ appeals rejected.
Homes of 20 Baha’is in Semnan raided. Baha’i materials, computers and mobile telephones seized. Nine Baha’is arrested on false or illegal charges.
A Baha’i student dismissed from Fazilat. Institute of Higher Education.
In early 2009, the Chamber of Commerce of Semnan, along with 39 member trade unions, decided to no longer issue business licenses and managerial permits to the Baha’is, and not to renew current licenses.
At least two anti-Baha’i rallies. One analyzed the supposed link between the Baha’i Faith and Zionism, beginning with two short videos about the “Baha’ist sect.”
Baha’i student expelled from university in Semnan three weeks before graduation.
Four Baha’is charged and fined.
Police asked all advertising agencies not to work with Baha’is because goods sold by them should not be promoted. Efforts made by Baha’is to restore their right to advertise were not successful.
August - September
Appeals Court confirms fining of three Baha’is in Semnan.
Baha’is summoned for questioning.
Eight Baha’is denied appeal.
One Baha’i sentenced to six months in prison.
Eight Baha’is summoned to appear before the office of the Public Prosecutor.