On 4 December 2008, Iran Press Watch shared the news of the imprisonment of three Baha’is in Yasuj on the charge of “activities against the nation’s security by holding anti-Islamic classes.”
On Tuesday, 9 December 2008, the news agency Iran Emrooz published further details about this situation, which are shared below in translation:
On 23 November 2008, three Baha’is of Yasuj — Ruhiyyih Yazdani, Zulaykha Musavi and ‘Ali-Askar Ravanbakhsh — were tried and sentenced by the first branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in that city.
The charges against these individuals were “propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime and to the benefit of groups opposing the regime” and “formation and organization of groups and activities intended to disrupt the nation’s security.”
These three individuals were each sentenced to four-years in prison, of which 2 years is suspended.
All three are married and have children. From the beginning of their arrest, which was some two months ago, they have been imprisoned in the temporary holding facilities of Yasuj.
The reason for the arrests and charges against three individuals is that early this year, Mrs. Ruhiyyih Yazdani, who is an elementary school teacher, offered classes on morality, basic education, drawing and theater arts to children of ages 5 to 7 years (pre-school). These children were all from the poor village of Mehryan, located on the outskirt of Yasuj, in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province. The classes were completely free of charge.
At the beginning of this humanitarian effort, Mrs. Zulaykha Musavi and her husband, ‘Ali-Askar Ravanbakhsh, provided a room in their home in the same village in which to hold these classes.
Despite knowing that the organizers were Baha’is, a large number of villagers eagerly brought their children to these classes. It is estimated that about 70 children from this village participated in these sessions.
Mr. Farhad Dadfar, a first-chair and member of the Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights in the Province of Fars, assumed the legal representation of these three individuals. He plans to file an appeal against the ruling of the court.
[The above report was filed on Tuesday, 9 December 2008, on Iran Emrooz: http://www.iran-emrooz.net/index.php?/news2/17118/ and is shared here in translation. Translator Ahang Rabbani.]