The early morning raids on Bahá’í homes in Iran vary in their intensity. The police may be relentlessly polite or thoroughly nasty. There may be an undercurrent of violence, there may not. Bahá’ís may be ignominiously arrested on front of their children and other family members, or not. But almost always the home is searched, and laptops, phones, prayer books and other documents are confiscated.
And interrogation follows in the dark confines of a place of detention. The interrogation is lengthy, undocumented and unobserved by a legal representative of the detainee.
The personal violation defies description, the injustice is immense. These homes are being raided, these innocent people are being arrested, not for criminal activity but for their religious beliefs.
Nine years ago it was the turn of Afif Naeimi, a gentle spiritually evolved man from the city of Tehran. Gentle, but brave, like a lion.
A childhood friend, Max Anís, told the Washington Post a few years ago that upon leaving school Afif was accepted into one of Iran’s top medical schools. But his hopes of a career in medicine were dashed when university education was closed to members of the Bahá’í Faith after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Despite this setback Afif decided against the option of emigration, choosing instead to stay in his home country and through an exemplary life, contribute to its wellbeing. He became involved in business, married, raised a family, and served his Faith.
As a Bahá’í, the passion for education has been woven through his life like a golden thread. He taught spiritual education to the little ones in his community, conducted classes for adults, and taught at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education – the alternative university set up by Bahá’ís to educate their youth who are denied university education, even as Afif was himself. And he also served as a member of the Auxiliary Board, an appointed position which serves principally to inspire, encourage, and promote learning among Baha’is.
And this is the man whose home was brutally raided in the early morning of May 14th 2008, and who nine years later is still in prison, his health seriously compromised, his family devastated by his loss from their daily lives.
He could have been released four years ago, under Iranian law. But the authorities are implacable in their hatred and persecution of Bahá’ís and no such leniency has been considered. His heart health deteriorating, his family heartbroken, Afif Naeimi has now embarked upon his tenth, and hopefully final year, in prison.
— BahaisofIreland (@BahaisofIreland) May 18, 2017