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A Letter to My Brother Sasan

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A Letter to My Brother Sasan

By Roya Taqva

Editor’s Note: In May 2006, a group of over 80 individuals was arrested in and around the city of Shiraz, Iran. They were involved in a teaching program benefitting underprivileged children. The group had been granted permission for their activities by the Islamic authorities of the city. Muslim members of the group were immediately released. However, 54 Baha’is were detained for a few days, and afterwards released on bail. In August 2007, they were tried by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court. They were charged with “offences against state security”. Three of them were sentenced to four years imprisonment for “organizing illegal groups” and “propaganda on behalf of groups that are opposed to the Islamic system”. The other Baha’is in the group received a one year suspended sentence provided that they participated in a three year Islamic indoctrination course.

Below is a summary of a letter written by Roya, the sister of Sasan Taqva, one of the three individuals now serving a four year sentence. Haleh Houshmandi, whose name is mentioned in the letter, is among those with a suspended sentence. On March 15, 2009, while Haleh and her husband were on a trip, their home was raided by officers of the Ministry of Intelligence. She was summoned to appear at a detention facility run by the Ministry of Intelligence upon her return to Shiraz. She has been detained since March 18, (see http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/03/arrested-shiraz/). When Babak, her husband, inquired about the charges against Haleh, he was told: “Your wife is a Baha’i and for now that is sufficient reason for her arrest”.

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Harvard's "Scholars at Risk" Initiative

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On Monday, October 20, Drew Faust, the President of Harvard University, circulated the following letter: Dear Colleagues, I am writing to bring your attention to a Harvard initiative concerning scholars who face persecution.  Seven years&hellip

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