[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Committee of Human Rights Reporters

[Date:] 4 Mehr 1390 [26 September 2011]

 

A Letter from Sama Nourani, Activist for the Right to Education, from Ward 350 of Evin, to Mohammad-Javad Larijani, Secretary of Human Rights, Judiciary [of the Islamic Republic of Iran].

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Sama Nourani, an activist for the right to education, who is currently serving his sentence in Ward 350 of Evin Prison, wrote an open letter to Mohammad-Javad Larijani, the secretary for human rights, Judiciary [of the Islamic Republic of Iran] and, explaining how he had been sentenced, asked him to “address these cases that are obvious violations of legitimate rights” and return to him the right to education.

The text of this open letter is as follows:

“In the Name of One Who is Feared and is Hoped For

Dear Mr. Mohammad-Javad Larijani, the esteemed secretary for the Judiciary’s human rights

With greetings and respect, I, Sama Nourani, am a 22-year-old Iranian citizen, who was expelled from Sahand University of Technology in Tabriz in Esfand 1387 [February/March 2009] for my belief in the Baha’i Faith.

After pursuing my case with relevant authorities, such as the Ministry of Science, the Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization, etc., and petitioning for my legal rights, i.e. the right to continue my studies in higher education in this country according to the Articles of the constitution, I was arrested by Intelligence Office of Sipah[1] and was eventually sentenced to one year in prison under Taz’ir[2] law on 11 Esfand 1388 [2 March 2010], by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court for “propaganda against the regime” [because I mentioned the] lack of freedom in Iran and the fact that Baha’is are deprived of education. I am currently serving a one-year sentence in Ward 350 of Evin Prison, since 9 Mordad 1390 [31 July 2011].

A while back, in an interview, Your Excellency explicitly stated, “None of the Baha’is of Iran are deprived of continuing their education in the country”, and firmly declared, “We have a large number of Baha’i students and professors in the country.” This issue has immensely occupied my mind, because apart from numerous cases of expulsion, refusal of registration and failure to announce the National University Entrance Exam results of many Iranian Baha’i youth, and with regard to my own case, all are in complete contradiction with what Your Excellency has said. Not only have I been deprived of continuing my studies at the university and expelled, but also, after pursuing my case, I have been sentenced to imprisonment just for the same reason.

Apart from all this, in the last two weeks, my brother Alborz Nourani, who has been a computer science student at Sharif University of Technology since last year, was expelled from this university. After several follow-ups with the Ministry of Science and the National Educational Assessment and Evaluation Organization, finally, the head of the Student Selection Unit of the National Education Assessment and Evaluation Organization, without providing any legal documents, just verbally told him that he had been denied the right to continue his studies, because he is a Baha’i. This is a trend that a large number of Baha’i youths have faced in recent years.

Considering that Your Excellency, in your speech, [insisted that there are] Baha’i students in universities, and also, according to Articles 3, 19 and 30 of the Constitution of the country, the right to education for all Iranian citizens, regardless of religion or belief, has been considered, the suspicion has occurred to me that Your Excellency may have been given untrue information about the education of Baha’is in the universities of the country; therefore, I consider it my duty to inform you about the current reality by describing my situation and that of my brother. We are, unfortunately, only a very small example of the violation of the human rights of a large group of young Baha’is. We hope that by addressing these obvious violations of legitimate rights, you will resolve the existing contradictions and help us to obtain our due rights.

With gratitude, Sama Nourani

 

 

[1] [Sipah-i-Pasdaran:  Islamic Revolutionary Guards]

[2] [Ta‘zir (discretionary punishment):  Punishment with maximum and minimum limits determined by law and judge, respectively.]