Three Hollywood actors and celebrities, Marc Ruffalo, Rainn Wilson and Justin Baldoni, denounced the Iranian government’s continued persecution of the Baha’i community in a series of tweets posted last week. The raids came after security agents arrested 13 young Baha’is in the town of Ghaemshahr in Iran’s Mazandaran province.
This is very disturbing news and the international community should be aware of it. https://t.co/rhVlGjJDsR
—Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) September 1, 2022
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) September 2, 2022
— justin baldoni (@justinbaldoni) September 1, 2022
No charges against the young Baha’is have been announced.
“This is very disturbing news and the international community should be aware of it,” Ruffalo tweeted to his 8.2 million followers, sharing the latest press release issued by the Baha’i International Community (BIC) last week. . Her tweet was shared almost 300 times on Monday and liked more than a thousand times.
Rainn Wilson called the situation “shameful”, in a post addressed to his 4.4 million followers, and using the hashtag #freeBahaiyouth that had emerged online, and said Iranian authorities were “criminalizing” Bahá citizens. ‘is. And Justin Baldoni asked his followers to retweet the news and said it was “incredible that this is still happening”.
Thousands of other tweets from Iranian activists and citizens, as well as many supporters around the world, also shared the latest news and expressed their support for the human rights of the Iranian Baha’i community.
The 13 young Baha’is were arrested on August 31, in Ghaemshahr, most of the time on their way to a private home where they studied together and discussed education and social progress. A fourteenth Baha’i, an adult, was also arrested. Their names are Hengameh Alipour, Negar Darabi, Golbon Fallah, Mahsa Fathi, Nazanin Goli, Mani Gholinejad, Samiyeh Gholinejad, Bita Haghighi, Sanaz Hekmat-Shoar, Afnaneh Nematian, Basir Samimi, Mojir Samimi, Sam Samimi and Anis Sanaie.
The arrests are the latest in a month-long crackdown on Baha’is across the country by the Iranian government. Authorities have targeted Baha’is in at least 245 incidents of persecution in the past 32 days, the BIC saidwith arrests and imprisonments, destruction of homes and confiscation of property, searches of private and commercial premises, beatings, denial of medication to detainees and denial of higher education to more than one hundred young people.
“How ironic that these young people were arrested while studying and discussing the role of education, while they themselves had all been denied access to higher education by the Iranian authorities,” said said Simin Fahandej, BIC representative to the United Nations in Geneva. “The cruelty of the Iranian government is breaking all measures. Not only is it depriving these young people of going to university and developing their intellectual capacities, but it is also depriving them of the simple right to meet as young people to discuss issues important to their generation.”
A statement released by the Mazandaran Provincial Intelligence Department, meanwhile, acknowledged the arrests and claimed the detainees constituted the “central core” of the “Bahá’í spy organization” in the north of the country.
Observers and human rights activists have repeatedly said that the Iranian government uses hate propaganda and false accusations, such as claiming Baha’is are spies, to try to justify their systematic persecution of the minority. religious. Last month the BIC exposed a ‘scheme’ by security officers to film a staged video intended to incriminate Baha’is and last year the #StopHatePropaganda campaign drew massive support against the efforts Iranian authorities to incite hatred against the Baha’is.
“Iranians of good will inside and outside Iran, the international community and countless people around the world have unequivocally called on Iran to end its persecution of Baha’is” , said Ms. Fahandej. “Iran must realize that its continued persecution of the Baha’is only harms its own credibility domestically and internationally, while demonstrating to the world the innocence of the Baha’is in Iran.”