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The Baha’i International Community (BIC) says Baha'is in Iran are facing a new wave of arrests and raids on their homes across different cities in the country.

The community said in a May 25 statement that the "systematic nature" of the arrests in a number of provinces including Isfahan, Alborz and Razavi Khorasan, suggests "a coordinated strategy on the part of government authorities."

"In many cases, detentions have been accompanied by raids on personal homes and the seizure of religious books and writings," the statement said.

Baha’is in Iran face state harassment and discrimination and their faith is not officially recognized.

In past years, many Baha’is have been banned from higher education and their businesses have been shut down.

Many have been persecuted for their religious beliefs.

The Baha'i International Community called on Iran to ensure the immediate release of all these detained individuals and to end the four-decade long discrimination of its Baha'i citizens.

Nikolai Lyaskin is the head of the Moscow office of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny. (file photo)

Another aide of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has been jailed over nationwide protests against President Vladimir Putin.

A Moscow court on May 25 sentenced Nikolai Lyaskin, the head of Navalny's Moscow office, to 15 days in jail by for using Twitter to call on Navalny's supporters to participate in the rallies.

Hundreds of people were apprehended on May 5 in Moscow and more than 1,600 people detained across the country during protests ahead of Putin's inauguration to a new six-year term.

Several of Navalny's associates were detained in the Russian capital earlier this week over their roles in organizing the demonstrations.

Navalny's press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, was sentenced to 25 days in jail, and the host of Navalny's YouTube channel, Ruslan Shaveddinov, was handed a 30-day jail term.

Navalny's lawyer, Ivan Zdhanov, who was detained on May 24, faces 10 days in jail, Navalny associate Leonid Volkov said on Twitter.

On May 15, Navalny himself was ordered jailed for 30 days for what the judges said was violating regulations for organizing public gatherings. The anticorruption campaigner called the accusations against him "ridiculous."

Navalny was barred from taking part in the March 18 presidential election because of the convictions that he and his supporters say were fabricated to keep him out of electoral politics.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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