The funeral of Ashraf Sobhani

“Thousands of Baha’i attended”

14 Mar 2011

14 March 2011

Ardavan Roozbeh / Radio Koocheh

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far

On the morning of March eleventh 2011, the funeral of Ashraf Sobhani Khanjani was held at the Khavaran cemetery in Tehran. Ashraf Sobhani Khanjani was the spouse of Jamalaldin Khanjani, one of the seven imprisoned Directors of Iran Baha’i community. Almost ten thousands attended this funeral.

The event which started around ten o’clock in the morning was monitored by the security forces from the beginning and according to witnesses many Plainclothes with wireless devices were present in the audience.

Also, people who had a video camera were arrested when leaving the ceremony.

Security agents also took pictures and films of all the people present and according to a witness, they even filmed the body of the late and the entire funeral and burial.

Ashraf Sobhani’s husband, Jamalaldin Khanjani is one of the seven directors of the Iran Baha’i community who is in prison for almost three years. His situation remains unknown exactly like many other detainees who are in Rajai Shahr prison now.

A few members of Khanjani family are detained. Lava Khanjani and Fouad Khanjani, both Jamalaldin Khanjani’s grand children have respectively two and four years sentences. Alaaldin Khanjani, is Jamalaldin Khanjani’s son and was arrested on the Ashoura day protest last year. Babak Mobasher is the husband of Lava Khanjani who has been released momentarily after spending a time in detention. Behfar Khanjani has been sentenced to four years and Navid Khanjani, social activist has been sentenced to twelve years imprisonment. Thus, this family has a 32 years sentence all together.

Regarding the event in this cemetery, on March the eleventh, Ardavan Roozbeh had a dialogue with one of the people present:

On March eleven, in these last days of the Solar year, many Baha’is gathered at Khavaran cemetery and you were one of them. What happened and why they were gathered there?

The wife of one of the directors of Iran Baha’i community, Mr. Khanjani who is sentenced to ten  years imprisonment,  passed away and her funeral was held at Khavaran cemetery. Many Baha’is across Iran came there to attend the ceremony.

When the ceremony began and what was going on?

Officially it began around 10:30 and over five thousand people were already there.

After the elections, pressure has been very high on the Baha’is, and many were arrested.

Was there any clash with the security forces?

No, nothing special happened, but plainclothes and the police were present with their wireless devices, but the number of plainclothes was larger. People who were filming were seriously pointed out that they would have had their camera taken from them at the exit. The ceremony was somehow under high surveillance.

What news do you have about the fate of the senior member of the Baha’is community in Iran?

His ten-year prison sentence is confirmed, but not officially communicated. He is in Rajaii Shahr prison, and not in a good shape.

What is the Baha’is situations In Iran, especially after the elections?

After the elections, pressure has been very high on the Baha’is, and many were arrested. After  Ashura protest last year, about twenty Baha’is have been arrested, a number of them were released but are awaiting for the final court verdict. In recent weeks, a large number of Baha’is in Mashhad, Kerman and Ispahan have been arrested and a few of them have been called to hear the verdicts.

At the Khavaran Cemetery, Security forces were filming people even in an apparent way and they were watching certain individuals closely.

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