BIC NEW YORK — Fariba Kamalabadi, a member of the former leadership group of the Baha’is in Iran recently concluded her unjust, ten-year prison sentence. She is the second individual from among the former Yaran to be released.
Although no longer bound by the confines of prison, Mrs. Kamalabadi, a developmental psychologist, will return to life in a country that has not changed with respect to its prejudicial and unjust treatment of Baha’is. She will encounter, among many other forms of oppression, a media landscape that is entirely hostile to the Baha’i community. She will also be extremely limited in her access to opportunities in both the public and private sector for gainful employment simply because she is a Baha’i—a limitation designed and implemented by the government of Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Mrs. Kamalabadi, 55, was part of the ad-hoc group known as “the Yaran,” or the Friends, which tended to the basic spiritual and material needs of the Iranian Baha’i community and was formed with the full knowledge and approval of authorities there after formal Baha’i institutions were declared illegal in Iran in the 1980s. She and five other members of the group were arrested in May 2008 after an early morning raid on their homes. Another member, Mahvash Sabet, was arrested two months earlier, in March 2008, and was released last month after completing her sentence.
The five remaining members of the Yaran are also expected to complete their sentences in the coming months. They include Jamalodin Khanjani, 84; Afif Naeimi, 56; Saeid Rezai, 60; Behrooz Tavakkoli, 66; and Vahid Tizfahm, 44.