22 November 2009

A letter from a bahai’ prisoner

Haleh Rouhi (English + farsi)

In May 2006, a group of over 80 dedicated individuals were arrested in and around the city of Shiraz. They were involved in a teaching project benefiting underprivileged children of several neighborhoods. The volunteers taught the children basic personal hygiene, moral principles and kind ways to interact with others, including parents and siblings. At first children came only slowly to the volunteers, some with their pocket knives ready! Their attitude soon changed. They even started getting up early on the days of their class to tidy the open field, clearing away the garbage and debris, sprinkling water to reduce the dust in their gathering area and generally preparing the field for their class.
The volunteers had obtained permission from the Islamic authorities of the city to conduct their activities. Muslim members of the group were immediately released. However, 54 Bahais were detained for a few days, but later released on bail. In August 2007, these Bahais were tried by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court. They were charged with offences relating to state security.
Three of them, namely, Raha Sabet, Haleh Rouhi and Sasan Taqva, were sentenced to four years imprisonment for organizing illegal groups and propaganda on behalf of groups that are opposed to the Islamic regime. The other Bahais in the group received a one year suspended sentence provided they participate in a three year Islamic studies course, much of which consists of anti-Bahai propaganda, to which students are not allowed to respond.The essay below is written by Haleh Rouhi, one of the three Bahais sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment.

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