On the 22nd of September 2012, Taraneh Torabi with her five month old son Barman and Zohreh Nik-Aein with her ten-month old son Resam were incarcerated in the city of Semnan. In the infamous Semnan prison the two women are not safe from torture and sexual abuse.
Their crime: the young women belong to the Bahá’i. With 300.000 followers, the Bahá’i represent the largest religious minority in Iran. Courts sentenced Taraneh Torabi and Zohreh Nik-Aein to 20 and 23 months in prison, respectively. This because they practiced and “spread” their forbidden religion—Bahá’i believers are held to be “apostates”, “fallen from Islam”.
The Bahá’i are not allowed to attend university. Their homes and businesses are set fire, their cemeteries vandalized. Arbitrary arrests are a daily occurrence. The accusations are always the same: “propaganda” and “agitation” against the Islamic Republic or espionage for Israel.
In a room with 50 square meters, the imprisoned Bahá’i mothers carry out their sentence, crammed together with over 70 other women. The terrible hygienic conditions in prison take their toll: both of the young boys have fallen ill. Collective imprisonment of families is a common practice in Iranian justice. Mothers are often forced to bring their children with them to prison, since no one from the family is left to care for them. Married Bahá’i couples or family are incarcerated together.
The Semnan region is a stronghold of Bahá’i persecution. The fate of the Bahá’i community reflects the desolate situation of many other ethnic and religious minorities in Iran: Christian Assyrians, Kurds, Turmens, Baluch, Azerbaijani, and Arabs face daily and arbitrary arrest. The corrupt regime has eyes and ears everywhere. Particularly politically or socially active members of these population sectors must constantly be wary of falling prey to the despotism of the Iranian secret service. They are taken captive, tortured, and murdered.
Please send an appeal to the German Federal President Joachim Gauck, to campaign for the release of the young mothers and their children as well as other imprisoned Bahá’I in Iran.
Please share this appeal with your friends!