(CNN) — The three Iranian security officers rang the doorbell, politely informed the man of his arrest, thoroughly searched the house, confiscated high-tech gear and books, and whisked him away to the nation’s notorious Evin Prison.
The early Sunday morning raid took three hours. Now, every second seems like an eternity for the man’s anguished family members, praying for his physical safety, hoping for his release, and getting their heads around the prospect of a long stint in prison, his relatives told CNN.
His family says the reason for his arrest is his religion.
The man is one of 16 Baha’is swept away in raids on or after May 21 targeting educators dedicated to teaching members of their community who are denied entry to universities in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Of those 16, nine have since been released. But this educator remains in prison, a Baha’i official told CNN.
The crackdown is the latest example of the Shiite Muslim regime’s relentless persecution of those who adhere to a faith deemed heretical by the ruling ayatollahs.
The Baha’i faith, founded during the 19th century in Iran and now with 5 million to 6 million adherents worldwide, is a monotheistic religion that focuses on the spiritual unity of humanity