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Shiraz Councilman Arrested For 'Protecting Baha'i Sect'

IMember of Shiraz city council, Mehdi Hajati, arrested for "protecting" the Bahá'í community, 2018

A member of Shiraz city council has been arrested Thursday evening on charges of “protecting Baha’i sect”.

The official IRNA news agency quotes another member of the city council as saying that that reformist Mehdi Hajati was already under investigation by the city’s Revolutionary Court.

His arrest apparently is the result of a tweet he wrote earlier in the week. “In the past ten days I have knocked on many doors to get two Baha’i friends released from detention, without success. As long as we face foreign enemies, our generation has a duty to reform the judicial and other procedures that endanger social justice”, Hajati wrote.

The Baha’i are a religious minority, which Iran’s Islamic establishment, especially conservatives, regard as heretics and use every opportunity to persecute. Hundreds of Baha'is have been arrested, some executed and their businesses closed in the past 40 years.

Bahram Parsaei a member of parliament from Shiraz has criticized the arrest in his own tweets, saying that Mr. Hajati has been fighting the destruction of historic buildings and sites in the city and he had already been targeted by judicial officials.

He added that authorities take no action to prevent the destruction of cultural heritage, but they arrest a member of city council for a simple tweet.