My Sister Is Jailed Because She Wants to Study




My 20 year-old sister, Rouhie Safajoo, took part in the Iranian Universities’ Entrance Exam in 2014, but test results were never released to her. She was told to go to the National Testing Organization, which then told her that, according to a directive by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, Baha’is are not permitted to take part in the exam at all.

When she protested that this was against the constitution of the Islamic Republic — which states that all citizens have a right to education regardless of ethnicity, language and religion — she was told to write a letter to be sent to the Ministry of Science.

She wrote the letter, but the National Testing Organization never registered it. The secretariat of the organization told her that letters related to “security” matters are not registered; this, too, was an illegal act. Rouhie went to the Ministry of Science to pursue her letter, and filed a complaint against the National Testing Organization for refusing to register it. At the ministry they did not give her an answer, and told her that the matter was still under investigation. In the meantime, Rouhie lost her chance to select her field of study.

Rouhie then filed a complaint with the Court of Administrative Justice against the National Testing Organization and the Ministry of Science. She also wrote letters to the Office of the President and the parliament’s Article 90 Committee, which is responsible for investigating constitutional matters. She personally went to the Office of the President, to a member of parliament from Tehran, and to the Ministry of Science to voice her grievance. No one answered her. In the end she wrote about her experience and her actions on Facebook.

In 2015 she took the exams again, but as before, she received no result.

On March 8, 2016 Rouhie was arrested for her actions, and sent to Evin Prison.



2 Responses

  1. Charles Boyle

    March 13, 2016 6:25 am

    She did the right thing by pressing for the authorities to provide reference in the Constitution (reference could also have been made to the civil code of Iran and the Cairo Declaration of Islamic Human Rights) as to where Baha’is are specifically excluded from obtaining an education. My heart and arms go out to her for choosing to walk what will be a stoney path for sure, but this is what it takes to be the courage to soften and change the hearts of others.
    She is firmly in my prayers for her tranquility and resilience.


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