54 Baha’i Youth Arrested in Iran

Source: Baha’i World News Service

http://news.bahai.org/story/450

On May 24, 2006 the Baha’i World News Service reported, “Iranian officials have arrested 54 Baha’is in the city of Shiraz, the Baha’i International Community has learned. They are mostly youth and were all engaged in humanitarian service when they were arrested. It is one of the largest number of Baha’is taken at once since the 1980s. The specific charges are not clear, though in the past, Baha’is have been arrested summarily on false charges.

The arrests occurred on Friday, 19 May, while the Baha’is, along with several other volunteers who were not Baha’is, were teaching classes to underprivileged children in a school as part of a community service activity conducted by a local non-governmental organization. At the time of the arrests, they had in their possession a letter of permission from the Islamic Council of Shiraz. They also carried the letter of permission in each of their classes.

The nature of the charges against the Baha’is is unknown at this time. The day following the arrests, a judge told family members that the detainees would be freed soon. As of today, it appears that all of the non-Baha’is and one Baha’i junior youth have been released without having to post bail.

The arrests coincided with raids on six Baha’i homes during which notebooks, computers, books, and other documents were confiscated. In the last 14 months, 72 Baha’is across Iran have been arrested and held for up to several weeks… The arrests come against a backdrop of increasing concern by international human rights monitors that the Iranian Government is escalating its 25-year-long campaign of persecution against the 300,000-member Baha’i community of Iran, the largest religious minority in that country.”