By: Committee of Human Rights Reporters
Deprivation of education is a form of discrimination which have been applied to numerous levels of society over the past three decades despite the explicit Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Civil and Political Rights treaty. Navid Khanjani, one of the university students deprived of education, participated in the university entrance exam from 2007 to 2009,but every year has been rejected due to an unreasonable excuse; nor has he ever been given the results of his exams. Hesam Misaghi, a student of Isfahan Sanai University in English language translation, when he was a freshman and had only been a student for two terms, was disenrolled in June 2007. These two students, who like other Baha’i believers have been deprived of education, pleaded for their human right of education through official organizations like the Committee of Cultural Reform, the Ministry of Science the official Exam Evaluation Organization, etc. These two students after many times pleading with numerous organizations, ultimately in December 2008 were arrested, interrogated and threatened in the Security Department of the Ministry of Science.
1. Hujjatu’l Islam Mohammad Taghi Rahbar’s letter
After many visits by these two students who had been deprived of education to the office of the Member of Parliament from Isfahan, Hujjatu’l Islam Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, who is also a member of the Cultural Commission of Parliament, wrote on the footer of the letter from these two students which was pleading their case, addressing the Ministry of Science and the Evaluation Organization, which read: “Referring to the above case: according to the law, resolve it in such a way that no right is neglected and respond.” After receiving this letter, the above-mentioned students referred to the Ministry of Science and the Evaluation Organization. At the Parliamentary Affairs Office of the Ministry of Science, Dr. Jamshidi, who is in charge of this Office, wrote letters addressing the universities which had disenrolled the students, and to the Evaluation Organization, and demanded a reason for this deprivation and disenrollment of the Baha’i students. With renewed hope to receive a reasonable response to their disenrollment, they took the letters to those organizations.
Encountering Armed Force in Response to a Demand for the Right to Education
After not receiving any response from the universities nor from the Evaluation Organization, the students returned many times to Hujjatu’l Islam Rahbar’s office. This time two other students who had also been disenrolled accompanied them. The insistence of these four disenrolled students that they be allowed to meet the Member of Parliament led to a call to the police, who threatened these students who had been deprived of education with firearms! Their threats and insistence that the students leave the office of the Member of Parliament led to the departure from the office by these four people.
2. Interrogation, Confinement and Threatening in a building of the Ministry of Science
Hesam Misaghi and Navid Khanjani, in a continuation of their efforts, went to the Parliament Affairs Office of the Ministry of Science, which previously had demanded a reasonable response from university and Evaluation Organization authorities through a letter written by Dr. Jamshidi. It became known that the university which disenrolled the students had sent a letter to this Office and to Tahanizadeh, the President of Sanai University, which clearly stated that the disenrollment of Hesam Misaghi was due to his belief in Baha’i Faith, and was under a direct order from the Security Department of the Ministry of Science and from the Ministry of Intelligence. The two disenrolled students made 2 copies of this letter and managed to extract one of the copies from the building. Another copy was brought to the Security Department to retrieve a legal response regarding their disenrollment. Up to this time all the authorities involved had denied their responsibility for this case. However in this letter it has clearly been mentioned that the order was given by the Security Department of the Ministry of Science and the Intelligence Ministry!
Rezaiyan, who is in charge of the Security Department of the Ministry of Science said after receiving the letter that this it was classified and that the students did not have the right to take it out of the building, in spite of the fact that there is no “classified” stamp anywhere on the letter. After his search, he found out that these two disenrolled students had made 2 copies of the letter. He then took the students to his office and demanded the other copy. The students rejected his demand and faced his bitter tongue in return, for which they were threatened with confinement of 6 months to 2 years in jail. After that their clothes and documents were searched and all their documents since the beginning were taken.
They were brought to an inner room of the Security Department and were interrogated and threatened for 8 solid hours. The security agent mentioned this many times in his talks: “security forces of the Ministry of Intelligence will soon arrive, and you will be arrested – they are not like me, they will subject you to a lot of of torture!” After that the agent demanded that Hesam Misaghi write a commitment mentioning that he would never used that letter; as the reward, he would be allowed back to university and face no more deprivation of his rights. This offer of bribery was turned down by the two disenrolled students. After all the interrogation they were released, but threatened that in case they had in mind to publish and use the letter, they would face the forces of the Ministry of Intelligence.
Committee of Human Rights Reporters is concerned and worried about the situation of education rights activists. Reports of this kind show that the structure of power in Iran not only deprives students and youth from education but also threatens them in response to their pleas. The Committee in recent days has mentioned its deep concerns and objections about the framing of an education rights activists council in a separate statement.
[Posted on Saturday, August 29, 2009, at: http://www.schrr.net/spip.php?article5251. Edited by Iran Press Watch.]