The district court of Sahneh in Kermanshah province has imprisoned today Kheyrollah Haghjouyan, a member of the Yarsan Civil Rights Activists’ Advisory Council, in Kermanshah’s Dizel Abad Prison.

Today, the court summoned the political and civil rights activist, accusing him of “insulting the sanctities and officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

In today’s court hearing, Haghjouyan was questioned and charged in connection with his political and civil activities, a source told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).

The investigator has issued a bail of 500 million Iranian Tomans – nearly 20,000 USD – for the temporary release of the Yarsani activist. However, he has refused this large amount of bail as he has denied the charges against him, added the source.

The Yarsan Civil Rights Activists’ Advisory Council also confirmed the news, saying that Haghjouyan has gone on a hunger strike with his detention.

In recent years, this prominent Yarsani Kurdish activist has given speeches in various ceremonies independently or on behalf of the Yarsan Civil Rights Activists’ Advisory Council, criticising the political and economic situation of the country and especially discriminations against the Yarsani community.

Haghjouyan gave his latest speech on 5 June on the grave of Nikmard Taheri in the city of Sahneh.

Nikmard Taheri was a Kurdish civilian from Sahneh, Kermanshah, who lost his life in June 2013 due to a self-immolation protest. His death was one of the three cases of self-immolation of the followers of the Yari religion (Yarsan) that took place in June and August in Hamadan and Tehran that year.

A day before Taheri, Hassan Razavi, from the village of Pol-e Shekasteh in Hamadan province, set his body on fire in front of the governorate building.

Nearly two months later, Mohammad Ghanbari, from the village of Qarah Dash in Qazvin province, died in a similar self-immolation action in front of the Islamic Consultative Assembly building in Tehran.

This chain of self-immolation protests was a deadly reaction to the legal discrimination against the Yarsani people and the insult to their customs.

The forced shaving of the moustache of one of the followers of the Yari religion in Hamadan Prison was the spark that ignited the protests. The shaving of moustache is an act that is considered an insult to the believers of this religion.

Yarsani community is one of the religious minorities in Iran that is not recognized as an independent religion in the constitution. Its followers are deprived of many political and social rights.

Yarsanis mostly live in the provinces of Kermanshah, Lorestan, Hamadan, Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Qazvin, Alborz, Tehran, Gilan, and Mazandaran. Kermanshah province is known as the main centre of this religion.

Although there are no official statistics on the number of followers of this religion, the population of Yarsanis in Iran is mentioned in various sources to be one to three million people.