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Prisoner in Tehran: “Officials told me that the law does not apply to Baha’is”

Hami Bahadori, a Baha’i citizen imprisoned in Tehran’s Fashafouyeh prison (officially, The Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary), is still in an uncertain condition after six months of temporary detention. In an English-language audio recording from the prison, he spoke about what has happened to him during this time, including physical and mental torture, deprivation of legal rights, and forced confessions. Bahadori also spoke about the sufferings of being a Baha’i in the Islamic Republic and asked everyone to “be his voice.” He said he wanted to stop being a “victim.”

Hami Bahadori was arrested by security forces at his home in September 2022 and initially transferred to Evin Prison, but after three months, he was transferred to Tehran’s Fashafouyeh prison without notice.

Below, you can read the full transcript of the audio recording sent to Zamaneh:

Dear people of the world,

This is Hami Bahadori, an Iranian, a Baha’i, and a detainee.

I’m sending this message to you from the “Great Tehran Prison.” I need you to spare a few minutes of your precious time, so that I can show you a glimpse of what it means to be a Baha’i in the “Islamic Republic” in Iran.

5 months ago, the intelligence forces of the I.R. raided our home illegally. They confiscated our belongings including books, documents, digital devices, and even jewellery, and arrested me, without a judge’s order. They kept me under inhumane conditions, where I was tortured both physically and psychologically. They left me in the cold for hours and didn’t let me use a toilet when I needed to. They tried to force me to divorce my wife, threatened to hang me, and forced me to answer questions about every little detail of my life.

They even put me in front of a camera and told me to declare my will before they hang me, after which they made me film a forced confession. I was interrogated 17 times over a span of 80 days. They were focused on me being a Baha’i. They didn’t even allow me to have a lawyer for 3 months.

At the investigator’s office, they forced me to sign papers without reading them. The only thing that they let me read was a paper that was supposed to inform me of my accusations, which was left blank.

Mahmoud Hajimoradi, the investigator, kept me in custody and sent me to prison before being convicted, and sent my case to the infamous Abolqasem Salavati. This so-called “judge” of the I.R. didn’t allow my lawyer to have access to my case nor enter his office for more than 2 months.

On the night of March 4th, after the phones were disconnected, I was informed by the prison officials that I was going to be sent to court the next morning. On the morning of March 5th, before the phones were reconnected and without notifying my lawyer, I was sent to the court with my hands cuffed and my legs chained as if I were a dangerous criminal. I was then taken to Salavati’s office for a total of 5 minutes, which is how long the court session lasted.

It was obvious that he hadn’t read my case after 2 months. My main accusation was “advertising in favour of the deceptive cult of Bahaism.” I asked for my lawyer, a bail order, and the indictment document in my case explaining my accusations. He only accepted my lawyer and told me that I was going to face 5 years in prison before sending me back. Later that week, he told my lawyer that he was not going to set me free neither by a bail order nor by “The Generic Pardon” order of Khamenei, all because I’m a Baha’i. Then he set the next court session for “3 months” later!

During my time in captivity, they kept the contents of my case hidden and whenever my family asked about it, they were harassed and lied to. They have been told many times that the law does not apply to followers of the Baha’i faith.

I have always felt the invisible star that I’m wearing on my chest and I am proud of it, now more than ever. I WILL not allow myself to be a victim. I WILL not stay silent anymore. I ask for justice and I WILL fight for it.

Now I ask you to “be my voice” and help me get the justice I deserve. Also, I encourage my fellow sisters and brothers of the Baha’i faith to speak up even more than they already have.

Second publication by courtesy of Radio Zamaneh, Original-Text


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