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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Baha’i Seven

The Baha’i Seven are former Baha'i leaders in Iran who have been deprived of the rights accorded to prisoners under Iran's own laws and regulations.  Prior to their arrests in 2008, the seven were members of an ad hoc national-level group that attended to the spiritual and social needs of Iran's Baha'i community. In September 2010 they were told that their sentences had been reduced to 10 years after an appeal court acquitted them of some of the charges, including espionage, but they have never been given a written copy of either of the court verdicts. It was first reported on 18 March, 2011 that the 20-year sentence had been reinstated.
 
 
Afif Naeimi is an industrialist who was unable to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor because as a Baha’i he was denied access to university.  Born in Yazd, he lived part of his youth with relatives in Jordan after the death of his father.  He was long active in volunteer Baha’i service, teaching classes for both children and adults and serving as a member of the Auxiliary Board, an appointed position with the function of inspiring, encouraging and promoting learning among Baha’is.
 

Behrouz Tavakkoli was a social worker who lost his government job in the early 1980’s because of his Baha’i belief.  Prior to his most recent imprisonment, he experienced intermittent detainment and harassment and three years ago, was jailed for four months without charge, spending most of that time in solitary confinement and developing serious kidney and orthotic problems.  Mr. Tavakkoli was elected to the local Baha’i governing council in Mashhad while a student at the university there and later served on a similar council in Sari before such institutions were banned in the early 1980’s.

Advocate: Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)
 
Behrouz Tavakkoli was RELEASED in December 2017, after completing his unjust 10-year sentence.
 

Jamaloddin Khanjani was a successful factory owner who, because he was Baha’i, lost his business after the 1979 Islamic revolution.  Khanjani’s volunteer service to his religious community included membership on the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran in 1984, a year in which four of its nine members were executed by the government.  Khanjani was arrested and imprisoned at least three times before this most recent incarceration in 2008.  He has four children and six grandchildren.  His wife, Ashraf Sobhani, passed away on March 10, 2010 while Khanjani was still in prison.  On January 5th, 2015, Khanjani was transferred to a hospital in Tehran for health treatment.
 
 
Vahid Tizfahm is an optometrist and owner of an optical shop in Tabriz, where he lived until early 2008 when he moved to Tehran.  He was born and spent his youth in the city of Urumiyyih and went to Tabriz at age eighteen to study to become an optician.  He later also studied sociology at the Advanced Baha’i Studies Institute, an affiliate of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education.  Since his youth, Mr. Tizfahm has served the Baha’i community in a variety of capacities – for a time as a member of the Baha’i National Youth Committee and later as part of the Auxiliary Board, an advisory group that serves to uplift and inspire Baha’i communities.

 
 
Fariba Kamalabadi  is a developmental psychologist and mother of three who was arrested twice previously because of her involvement with the Baha’i community. On one of those occasions she was held incommunicado for 10 days. As a youth, Mrs. Kamalabadi was denied the opportunity to study at a public university. In her mid-30s, she embarked on an eight-year period of study and ultimately received an advanced degree from the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, an alternative institution established by the Baha’i community of Iran to serve young people who were barred from university.
 
Advocate: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
 
Fariba Kmalabadi was RELEASED in October, 2017 after serving her full ten-year sentence under false charges.
 
Mahvash Sabet is a teacher and school principal who was dismissed from public education for being a Baha’i. Before her arrest, she served for 15 years as director of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education, which provides alternative higher education for Baha’i youth. She began her professional career as a teacher and also worked as a principal at several schools. In her professional role, she also collaborated with the National Literacy Committee of Iran. After the Islamic revolution, like thousands of other Iranian Baha’i educators, she was fired from her job and blocked from working in public education. 

Advocate:  Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
 
Mahvash Sabet was RELEASED in September, 2017 after serving almost all of her ten-year sentence under false charges.
 
Saeid Rezaie is an agricultural engineer who has run a successful farming equipment business for more than twenty years.  During the early 1980’s, when persecution of Baha’is was intense, he moved first to northern Iran and worked as a farming manager and then to Kerman to work as a carpenter, in part because of the difficulties Baha’is faced in finding formal employment or operating businesses.  His two daughters, both in their twenties, were among a group of fifty-four young Baha’is arrested in Shiraz in 2006 while working on a project aimed at helping underprivileged young people.  In 2006, before his latest incarceration in 2008, Mr. Rezaie was arrested and detained for a period that included forty days in solitary confinement.

Advocate: Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)

Updates: 

  • The U.S. Department of State issued a statement condmening the continued imprisonment of the Bahai Seven as well as reported abuses against them while incarcerated. The State Department called upon Iran to immediately release them, along with all prisoners of conscinece in Iran (May 14, 2017, U.S. Department of State).