Iranian authorities have released a member of the country’s persecuted Baha'i religious minority who spent 27 days in solitary confinement without charge, IranWire reports.
Nabil Moghefi, a 24-year-old resident of the northern city of Sari, was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry on January 12 amid an intensified crackdown on members of the faith.
"After repeated requests to various legal authorities concerning his release on February 7, his family was told that there was currently no such plan," a source close to the family told IranWire.
"But on the same day, Nabil was released without his relatives being informed. On the way home, he was recognized by a friend and returned home in his car," the source added.
IranWire has not been able to verify the terms of Moghefi’s release.
The Iranian authorities’ crackdown on members of the Baha'i minority has accelerated since July. The clampdown continued even after the eruption of nationwide demonstrations in September, with dozens of arrests reported over the past few months.
Those arrested are facing charges including spreading "propaganda against the system,” "gathering and collusion with the intention of committing a crime," "acting against the security of the country” and "membership in an illegal group.”
Baha'is in Iran have faced systematic discrimination and harassment since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. More than 200 Baha'is were executed after the Revolution. The Baha’i community also endures arbitrary detention and torture, property confiscations, denial of higher education, denial of economic opportunities, deportations and a constant barrage of official hate speech.
Iran has at least 300,000 Baha’is – making it the country's largest non-Muslim religious minority.
Shia Islam is the state religion in Iran. The country's constitution recognizes a number of minority faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, but not the Baha'i faith.