Press release;

Oppression against the followers of Yarsan, a religious minority in Iran

The oppression against the followers of the religious minority Yarsan intensified under the Islamic regime in Iran. Two members have set themselves on fire to protest against the humiliation of one of their imprisoned members. Yarsan population is estimated at about 2 million people, located mostly in western Iran.

On June 4, 2013, Hassan Razavi immolated himself in front of the government office in Hamadan in western Iran in protest of forced-shaving of mustache of Keyumars Tamnak, a coreligionist, by the prison guards in Hamadan prison. Razavi who suffered sever burns of over 60 percent was transported to a hospital in Tehran. He was under police guard in hospital, and no one, including his family was allowed to visit him. He eventually died on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

On June 5, 2013, another member of Yarsan, Nimkard Tahari, also sacrificed his life in front of the same building after hearing that five prison officials had force-shaved Tamnak. Tahari died en route to the hospital, and his body was buried in the city of Sahneh on Thursday, June 6, 2013.

The new self-immolations were reported in the local and national media. Yarsans leaders were summoned to the Intelligence Agency in the city of Sahneh and were threatened with imprisonment or worse.

During the funeral held for Tahari, a sit-in protest was staged in front of the main office in the province of Hamadan for two hours, but no one from the authorities has agreed to meet them. The police forced the demonstrators to disperse eventually. Other members of Yarsan religion threatened to immolate themselves if officials did not respond to their demands.

12 June 2013

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