City official arrested In Iran for speaking out on behalf of detained Baha’is

Special to

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A city council member in the central Iranian city of Shiraz has been arrested for “supporting” two detained Baha’is, the official government news agency IRNA reported.

Shiraz City Council member Mehdi Hajati. / IRNA

Shiraz City Council member Mehdi Hajati was reportedly detained late last week after posting on Twitter that in recent days, he had “knocked on every door to try to free two of my Baha’i friends from detention without success.”

“As long as we face foreign enemies, our generation has a duty to reform judicial procedures and other [actions] that undermine social justice,” Hajati added on Twitter on September 25.

IRNA on September 28 quoted a city council member in Shiraz as saying that Hajati was detained following an order by a revolutionary court.

Baha’is face state persecution in Iran where their faith is not recognized in the country’s constitution.

In recent years, many Baha’is have been banned from higher education and their businesses have been shut down. Many have been persecuted for their religious beliefs.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights In Iran said in a September 28 report that seventeen members of the Baha’i faith were arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry across Iran between August 23 and September 23.

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